In the wake of the Supreme Court's rejection of Marc Nadon and Stephen Harper's plan to reform the Senate, now comes word that the Ministry of Justice is slashing its research budget by 20%. Devon Black writes:
The purpose of research in government is pretty obvious. It’s to test assumptions, so legislators can make policy that works and change policy that doesn’t. Without decent monitoring and evaluation, there’s no way for legislators to know if any of their policies are doing what they’re supposed to do.
Unfortunately, it looks as though the government has decided to punish Department of Justice researchers for being a little too good at figuring out which policies aren’t working. The government is cutting 20 per cent from the department’s research budget, and firing eight experienced legal researchers in the process — apparently because some of their work has “at times left the impression that research is undermining government decisions.”
Recent reports suggest that the prime minister knew from the get go that the Nadon appointment would cause trouble. But he's not a man who listens to contrary opinions:
The Conservatives demand nothing less than complete, unquestioning support for their legislative agenda — even from the people employed to make sure the government has its facts straight.
Just ask the scientists at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), which was saved from closure only after a UN-funded non-profit stepped in to help keep it open. Or ask the 20 per cent of Library and Archives Canada staff who lost their jobs after funding cuts in 2012, jeopardizing our country’s most important documentary asset. Or talk to staff at any of the numerous businesses, non-profits and university departments which can’t get basic demographic data anymore because the long-form census was somehow inconsistent with Conservative ideology.
After eight years in government, two things are abundantly clear: Stephen Harper is like the resident in the asylum who -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- insists that he is Napoleon. And his party continues to believe that he is who he says he is.