Tuesday, June 21, 2011
And So It Begins
True to its prime directive -- that the private sector can do anything better than government -- the Harper regime announced yesterday that it will close down Audit Services Canada, which -- according to The Globe and Mail --"bills itself as having 'a fifty year record of helping to improve public sector accountability and operations.'" What the announcement means is that 92 government auditors across Canada will lose their jobs and be replaced with an unspecified number of private contractors.
It's interesting -- and deeply revealing -- that the first job cuts made by this government are to government auditors. This is the government which, just two weeks ago, revealed that there was no paper trail to accompany G8 and G20 security costs. When John Baird and Tony Clement admitted to that "oversight," their defense was that they needed to expedite arrangements -- even those costs associated with Mr. Clement's riding.
And, yes, that would be the same Tony Clement who announced the death of Statistics Canada's long form census. This is the same government which refused to offer complete cost estimates for its purchase of F35 jets and new federal prisons. This is the same government which insisted that reports on Afghan prisoners not be made in the usual way -- by memos to various government departments.
Perhaps Environment Minister Peter Kent will soon tell us that the government is trying to save trees. Stranger pronouncements have emerged from other ministers. But a pretty clear pattern has emerged over the last five years: This is a government which wants to leave no paper trails.
Evidence -- facts -- are this government's enemy. They undermine almost all of its policies. This is a government based on certain theological assumptions -- that unfettered markets are sacred; that social policy is an individual choice, not a communitarian one; that foreign policy is only credible if you can intimidate your rivals with hard power -- and that it's time to return to the strong and stable 1950's.
Never mind that the 1950's were neither strong nor stable. Never mind that they were dominated by paranoia and prejudice. For this Prime Minister -- born in 1959 -- they were a Golden Age. And so the march backwards begins.