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Tony Clement is your champion of open government, Conservatives?

I had to laugh when I read this:

..Clement will be hosting a conference in Ottawa next week on open government. “As a minister, Clement has pushed forward with initiatives to enable Canada’s public servants to use social media in the workplace and a broader initiative to introduce open government principles to the Government of Canada,” says promotional material for the event at the National Arts Centre.

This coming from the guy who just refused this:

The New Democrats are calling on Treasury Board President Tony Clement to bring the same sunlight to salaries in the Prime Minister’s Office as the government shone on the highly-paid staff at the Canadian […]

Harper government backs down on lingusitics questions for Census.

It appears the Harper government was pretty scared after the expedited Federal Court ruling victory by the Francophone and Acadian communities yesterday today. They’ve acted much quicker in 1 day over this court ruling then a full month of criticism in order to try and get the court challenge to be dropped:

Stung by francophone anger, the Harper government is adding questions on French and English skills to the obligatory short-form 2011 census to quell this linguistic minority’s fears that scrapping a longer mandatory survey will make it harder to measure their presence in Canada.

These questions were part of the 40-page long-form census that the Conservatives are making voluntary […]

The freeloaders/free ride defence of Tony Clement et. al. over the census

So we have a new line of attack by Tony Clement (and I saw Gordon O’Connor use it yesterday as well) over those groups/provinces/cities etc. that oppose the ditching of the mandatory longform census: the organizations/provinces/cities were all freeloaders/getting a free ride from Ottawa in getting this data.

That at first blush doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense; StatsCan charges all groups for access to that census data; and does quite well from it. In fact, it’s where a large portion of the budget for their department comes from. If Clement and company were trying to take that approach as a line of defence, they either could be […]

More stupidity revealed on Census changes

We find out today that 25 million of the 30 million extra dollars that the Conservatives are spending on making the mandatory longform census a voluntary survey is actually going to be used to explain to potentially confused people how they screwed the census up because of their ideological idiocy on the census. Some of the background to that is revealed by this Canadian Press report, albeit from the Conservatives insider(s) point of view (no surprise either that the PM is solely responsible for this debacle).

The only surprise to me is how Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz managed to convince his boss that farmers should continue to suffer under the […]

More on the Conservatives trying to hide behind StatsCan, Mr. Sheikh

Briefly, My colleague the Jurist at his blog details some more blanket condemnations of the Conservatives bone-headed/ideological move to kill the mandatory longform census, but he did miss one article that should be read – C.E.S Franks at the Globe and Mail explains why Munir Shiekh resigned, and the probable chain of events. He isn’t impressed:

The problem Mr. Sheikh faced was not the choice between voluntary survey or mandatory census, but that the minister went public with inaccurate claims about the advice he had received. Mr. Clement was selective to the point that his public claims have not accurately reflected the advice given by Statistics Canada and its public […]

Census hearings today.

Kady of course provides her usual fine live-blogging commentary. A recap can be found here.

My initial thoughts: those in the science/stats community generally handed the Conservative MP’s their lunch at the hearing, and as far as I was concerned, Clement’s testimony and answers to questions seemed to be using the lines “we Conservatives love freedom” and “Liberals want to throw everyone in jail”, regardless of what question was asked.

Best commentary on him was from a comment I saw at Macleans, that I totally agree with:

The strongest point for the Opposition in today’s committee hearing so far is that at the same time the Minister claims to […]

A lot of concern suddenly about Census intrusiveness where there was none.

The Census is your hot political topic for the summer – right up there with the F-35 fighter jet purchase. Who’da thunk? Certainly not the Harper government, I’d expect, who have now shifted gears (with ex-Cabinet minister Maxime Bernier apparently and suddenly given the lead starring role/spokesperson of this dumb move, in place of Tony Clement, who hasn’t exactly been stellar or persuasive with his arguments, if they can be called that). They now want to recall the House of Commons committee that looks into issues like the Census, so they can explain to Canadians how tyrannical the longform Census has been in mandatory form the past 30 years, and […]

What do you do with money saved from funding cuts to women's groups & arts/culture?

Well, if you’re the Conservative government, you apparently use some of it to build a fake lake for the G8/G20 conference, and giving reporters special edition Blackberries. From Greg Weston:

Canadian and international journalists covering the G8 summit in Muskoka later this month will be able to file their reports from the leisurely comfort of a cottage dock, their feet dangling in the water, surrounded by the stunning sights and sounds of the fabled Ontario resort country three hours north of Toronto. The only catch is they won’t be anywhere near Muskoka. Instead, the federal government is shelling out millions of dollars to re-create cottage country — complete with a […]

'Steamboat Tony'

That’s what Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc called Industry Minister Tony Clement yesterday in QP. The reason: Tony has decided to take a 400 000 $ portion of the 1 billion $ price-tag it’s going to cost to host this G8/G20 summit and spend it on restoring a steamboat in his riding, named the “Bigwin” ironically enough:

That’s a photo of the Bigwin, which Tony wants to restore with G8/G20 taxpayer-funded expenditures. So, what’s the big deal? 400 000$ is chump change out of a 1 billion $ budget, right? Well, how about the fact that this restoration has nothing even to do with the G8/G20 summit, as reported by […]

Things catching my attention today

– Rick Mercer goes after the Conservative government’s use of our Canadian Forces as political props, and calls it a “new low in Canadian politics”.

– Mark Francis of Section 15 writes an open letter to Conservative cabinet minister “no one cares about prorogation except elitists” Tony Clement (and avoids addressing him as “The Honourable Tony Clement” so he doesn’t feel elitist).

– This article was written by Lorne Gunter on the evils of public election financing (who normally writes for the Edmonton Journal), and it appeared in the Ottawa Citizen today. Apparently public election financing is bad, according to Lorne, because we’re “forcing people to support separatists”. This is […]

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