Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Response to Tony Clement

I received a direct message on twitter from Minister Clement, but no matter how I try I can't respond via DM because Tony doesn't follow me (which hurts me deeply). I would have preferred not to send this publicly, but I see no other way. At least nobody actually reads this blog anyway. Since the coherence of the response would have been lost in twitter I've decided to post it here.

Minister Clement,

I am not a partisan, I've voted for both the PCs and Liberals in the past and I'm not committed to either. I became active (even if only tweeting anonymously) after the census issue began to blow up. I don't really care about what questions are asked and how many answer them. However, I am worried about a pattern of anti-intellectualism emerging out of the populist resurgence we're experience. I am not accusing you or the government of anti-intellectualism. However, I do expect you as part of the establishment to guard against it and defend the principles of evidence-based policy.

Instead, I heard you disregarding and even misrepresenting expert advice. I'm not concerned about the think-tankers and usual partisan suspects, you've seemingly made mainstream academia your enemy. Despite the jokes academia is a tough world and I respect those who rise to the top. It worries me when the government is dismissing men like Stephen Gordon as a part of some amorphous liberal elite with an axe to grind. I'm a regular reader of his Worthwhile Canadian Initiative blog and the only contentious arguments I remember him writing are crticisms of the minimum wage, hardly a Liberal talking point. I know the line between opinion and fact can be ambiguous, but I expect my government to defer to a preponderence of genuine expert advice.

As I said above, I've voted PC before and I'd like to be able to again. However, I need a platform that's been developed to pragmatically pursue important policy outcomes. Unfortunately, all I'm seeing this summer are cynical tactics aimed to exploit specific demographics. I remember a time when the greatest complaint about Canadian politics was that in practice all the parties were the same and governed from the center. Was there really something wrong with that?

I'm sorry if my tweets have been vicious, I'm just venting steam. Take comfort that I'm just a little guy who's tweets nobody cares about.

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