2 min

More census doublethinking required

The Conservative Party’s official media arm – otherwise known as Sun Media/QMI – got in on the census action yesterday with not one but two editorials that held up those very same half-truths, misdirections and straw men that the government has been employing.

The first – an unsigned editorial – launched into a number of hyperbolic claims. Like, this move “cuts off Big Brother at the knees,” and invoking Nineteen Eighty-Four, which I’m guessing counts as irony given the doublethink they’re expecting of us. They hope the coercive tactics are over with – err, except the short-form is still as mandatory and coercive. They accuse the Liberals of not wanting to protect privacy, then turn around and accuse everyone who has an interest in census data as proof that it’s not really private – except that the Privacy Commissioner has proven time and again that Statistics Canada actually respects privacy laws, and that an individual’s census responses cannot be accessed and released. And then they bring up the Jedi thing, because you can never have too many straw men.

This was, predictably, followed up by cartoon character Ezra Levant trying to make fallacious, bizarre claims about the quality of the census questions, even though every single one of them is there for a reason – even if he doesn't understand them.

The provincial premiers are angry about this and certainly plan to bring it up at their big upcoming meeting. Funny how they don’t seem to be the kind of “special interest group” that the Conservatives are dismissing every other complainant as. Big business is apparently strangely silent on the issue, but perhaps they’re simply trying to keep their heads down, because they’ve seen what this government does to those who criticize it.

And Tony Clement? When not misrepresenting Statistics Canada’s assurances they can manage the voluntary data – which insiders say isn’t true – he has taken to Twitter, thanking those half-dozen Canadians who’ve tweeted him their support. Because that’s making his case for sound decisions based on accurate data and sound policy.

Meanwhile, crime rates fell yet again in this country, but don’t let that fool you. Apparently we still need draconian tough-on-crime measures that will keep more people in jail for longer, because obviously the system isn’t working.

Oh, look – Canada got a failing grade in fighting AIDS. Who would have thought? And now we’re going to redirect the money that would have gone towards developing vaccine trials in Canada to “building partnerships” with respect to research and increasing our CIDA funds to help prevent mother-to-child transmission. Because hey, that means we can get away from all that icky sex talk, right? The Liberals are decrying this as old money, and wonder where the rest of it – some $51 million – is being spent, and where is a coherent plan?

The government also got spanked by being ordered to pay $1.35 million to a consultant that had been hired under the Liberals to help find inefficiencies in government operations. Apparently he was doing his job too well, and when the Conservatives came in, they not only set up this consultant – and his co-worker – for a fall, they actively slandered him to the media to cover their own incompetence. It’s a harrowing tale to read, and a cautionary tale of what this government does to people they decide they don’t like.

Aaron Wherry tabulates what Michael Ignatieff has been talking about on his Liberal Express tour.

And my interview with Senator Elaine McCoy (who is made of awesome) is now on the xtra.ca national page here.
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