Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dumb and dumber

Now that the census decision has gobsmacked the Harper Conservatives just as badly as their prorogation decision six months ago, the discussion is increasingly turning to why in the world they did it.
Scott thinks the goal of the census change was to short-circuit any expansion of social programs:
they are not doing away with the mandatory longform as a way of defending privacy, but as a backdoor way of attacking the programs they hate.
while Chet says the Conservatives want to prevent criticism that their economic policies aren't working:
what Harper really doesn't want is for the census data to show what the effects of his own policies have been in the here and now. Harper appears to like control more than anything else, and there's just no way he can control what a thorough and complete census will tell.
POGGE suggests the basic goal is to make government ineffective:
Harper and his crew take their inspiration from American movement conservatives and Harper himself made that clear long before he became prime minister. . . This is a movement that crosses borders. Its members have been organizing and building out their infrastructure for forty years.
The Georgia Straight also picks up on the American wingnut influence in the census decision:
“You see this attack on the census very much in the American right,” [NDP MP Charlie] Angus said. “It has had no traction here in Canada as far as I can see. I’ve never had a complaint and never heard of this as an issue.". . ."I’ve never gone into a Tim Hortons in Canada and had someone rail at me about big bad government spying on them with the census, but I am hearing this from Conservative cabinet ministers. I think the public is shaking its head.”
The census decision certainly does undermine a internationally respected Canadian agency which may well have been resented by the Harper Conservatives.
But however comforting it is to believe that the Cons had a reason for doing this, I am afraid that maybe they didn't. Like medical isotopes and prorogation and maternal health and party funding and so on and so on, the census decision may well have been just another knee-jerk pander to the base that they didn't really think about very much before they did it.
Basically, I think the Harper Conservatives are increasingly being revealed to Canadians as the gang that couldn't shoot straight. And I think official Ottawa has finally realized how untrustworthy these guys are -- even the Bank of Canada has fired a very public shot across Harper's bow.

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