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Canada's cult of confidentiality


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The Globe is correct. And it's not just a Liberal thing. I've found it much easier to get information on American government programs and policies whenever I care to look than finding out even the most basic information about Canada's. Whether it's how much we paid for vaccines or how much money is going to subsidize various businesses or what was spent and wasted during the covid mess or the routine stonewalling for anything from immigration numbers to the cost of paying for refugees, whether it's policing costs or why we should let companies that screw over the government keep getting more contracts, you can't find out much of anything from the government.

Too often, in too many different contexts and for utterly indefensible reasons, the position of official Canada is that Canadians are delicate children who can’t be trusted with information of clear public interest.

More than a culture of secrecy, myriad Canadian bureaucracies seem to have willingly pledged allegiance to a cult of confidentiality. Citizens, and the media who ask questions on their behalf, are often deprived of basic public information that people in other jurisdictions simply expect to get as a matter of course – and have every right to.

The immediate result of this is to deny Canadians information to which they’re entitled. But the deeper effect is to cultivate a sense of scarcity and paternalism, as though anything more is an unreasonable expectation and people should be grateful for whatever crumbs they can pry out of the tightly clutched fists of the bureaucracy.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-canadas-cult-of-confidentiality/

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This problem is deeply systemic and very difficult to resolve.  Remember it's not just politicians who might want everything kept quiet. A lot of times errors show up in the bureaucracy and civil servants and they don't want to wear it any more than the gov't does, and they're often thrown under the bus.

So even when a gov't gets in that wants more transparency, the actual bureaucracy resists that and finds ways to remain safely opaque.

I have no idea what the answer is. You'd need like a decade or more of gov'ts that were committed to resolving that to get it fixed and not many are - it's not generally in their interest either.

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3 hours ago, WestCanMan said:

Weird for Globe to care, seeing as they would only report on things favourable to the gov't anyways. 

Are you forgetting much of this stuff about China is coming from the Globe?

They also broke the story of Trudeau's influence campaign against his attorney general over SNC Lavalin.

Edited by I am Groot
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3 hours ago, CdnFox said:

This problem is deeply systemic and very difficult to resolve.  Remember it's not just politicians who might want everything kept quiet. A lot of times errors show up in the bureaucracy and civil servants and they don't want to wear it any more than the gov't does, and they're often thrown under the bus.

So even when a gov't gets in that wants more transparency, the actual bureaucracy resists that and finds ways to remain safely opaque.

I have no idea what the answer is.

The answer to many government problems is for the citizenry to be more responsible and less placid. When Trudeau's major campaign planks about open government and changing the voting system were ditched overboard along with empowering MPs, the House and Committees he should have been thrown out in the next election. Instead, too many voters let themselves be swayed by very American-style hot-button scare campaigns over things like gay rights, guns and abortions.

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4 minutes ago, I am Groot said:

Are you forgetting much of this stuff about China is coming from the Globe?

They also broke the story of Trudeau's influence campaign against his attorney general over SNC Lavalin.

They'll dabble in the story, minimize, move on in a week or so, they'll give Trudeau the last word on the subject without question, parrot it, post a fake poll that says "Liberal popularity is up so this obviously doesn't matter to Canadians", then it will never be heard of again in G&M. 

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11 hours ago, I am Groot said:

Too often, in too many different contexts and for utterly indefensible reasons, the position of official Canada is that Canadians are delicate children who can’t be trusted with information of clear public interest.

You should seriously consider taking up the cause of outlawing in-camera lobbying.

OTOH if you believe politicians and lobbyists need a safe space where they can frankly discuss things in private what do you propose to do?

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7 hours ago, I am Groot said:

The answer to many government problems is for the citizenry to be more responsible and less placid.

No, the answer is for the citizenry to be more responsible and not automatically jump 20 feet in the air whenever they hear something that triggers them.

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15 hours ago, I am Groot said:

The answer to many government problems is for the citizenry to be more responsible and less placid. When Trudeau's major campaign planks about open government and changing the voting system were ditched overboard along with empowering MPs, the House and Committees he should have been thrown out in the next election. Instead, too many voters let themselves be swayed by very American-style hot-button scare campaigns over things like gay rights, guns and abortions.

There is truth in there for sure, but even if he wanted to he would likely have managed far less change than he'd have liked. Like i said, that rot goes deep.

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