Saturday, July 17, 2010

If Guy Giorno Can't Rein in the Crazies Like Clement, Harper Never Will

Tony Clement is looking rather haggard these days. It must be exhausting carrying around such a big head.

He was one of the Whiz Kids when they were controlling Mike Harris (former dictator of Ontario). But now Guy Giorno, a fellow Whiz Kid has his hands full just making sure that Stephen Harper can keep his mouth shut.

Everything choreographed. Nothing left to chance. And when there's trouble as we've seen with Tony Clement and Dean Del Mastro, where's Stephen Harper? At a photo-op. He governs with photos and press releases. I'm still not convinced he even exists. If it wasn't for the damn nightmares.

This was how Giorno did it for Harris:
TV newsmakers need vivid images to illustrate their stories. Harris's Tories, easily the most communications-savvy provincial government this country has ever seen, are delighted to oblige - on their terms. They dodge negative coverage at every chance and will go to ridiculous lengths - giving preferential treatment to friendly reporters, shutting out critical ones and staging elaborate, unrelated events - to avoid it ... "This government, unlike any governments before it, is absolutely obsessed with image," he says, "whether it's what shirt the premier wears or what the bus looks like or what backdrop he's in front of. I don't remember governments before being that concerned. If they stood in front of a grey curtain, they stood in front of a grey curtain. I've seen these guys change the curtain because it clashed with the premier's suit."
So when Bob Hepburn asks: Why is Harper escaping G20 aftermath scot-free? We already know the answer. Guy Giorno has shuffled him off to keep him from the fray. The only problem is with the risk of Harper putting his foot in his mouth as he so often does, there's no one to look after the loose cannons (Harper's caucus) and they are now running amok.
Since he became Prime Minister 4½ years ago, Stephen Harper has tormented the press gallery with an almost complete lockdown on government communications, with even cabinet ministers informed that the public is not entitled to their opinions. The assumption has always been that he is just a weapons-grade control freak, but a pair of recent exchanges suggest an alternative theory: that Harper knows something about the ideological leaning of his cabinet that he’d prefer to keep quiet. Last week, Minister of Industry Tony Clement was given the task of defending the government’s decision to eliminate the mandatory long-form version of the census and move those questions to an optional survey. According to Clement, the long census—which asks questions about respondents’ ethnicity, education and income—is “heavy-handed” and intrusive. Clement mounted his libertarian high horse: “You try to limit the amount of state coercion that you have, you try to limit the intrusiveness of government activities, and that’s the balance that we’ve struck,” he said.

Imagine his surprise, then, to find that some of the people most upset by the decision were members of the business community and economists, all of whom stressed the importance of the census data to the crafting of public policy. Clement then took his case to the Twittersphere. In response to one follower who argued that making the long form of the census voluntary will skew the data by eliminating the statistical randomness of the survey, Clement answered, “Wrong. Statisticians can ensure validity w larger sample size.” This was promptly pounced on by Laval economist Stephen Gordon, who corrected the minister: “Wrong. Large samples can’t fix sample selection biases.”
I am so looking forward to the fall when we will have a new prime minister. At least Michael Ignatieff talks to people. And he's smart, and his MPs are smart. I miss smart.

I mean Harper didn't even consult Statistics Canada before making this decision. But then why would he need stats when he's now spying on us.

No comments:

Post a Comment