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Sat Sep 19, 2015, 09:56 PM

Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data (Maclean's)

This is absolutely chilling. I'd heard isolated stories of the government destroying public records, but I'm completely horrified by the extent. There's no rational excuse for this, which just reinforces my belief that Harper is insane, evil, or both.


Stories about government data and historical records being deleted, burned—even tossed into Dumpsters—have become so common in recent years that many Canadians may feel inured to them. But such accounts are only the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg. A months-long Maclean’s investigation, which includes interviews with dozens of academics, scientists, statisticians, economists and librarians, has found that the federal government’s “austerity” program, which resulted in staff cuts and library closures (16 libraries since 2012)—as well as arbitrary changes to policy, when it comes to data—has led to a systematic erosion of government records far deeper than most realize, with the data and data-gathering capability we do have severely compromised as a result.

Statistics Canada no longer provides a clear snapshot of the country, says John Stapleton, a Toronto-based social policy consultant. “Our survey data pixelates—it’s a big blur. And the small data, we don’t know if it’s right.” How many Canadians live in poverty now, compared to 2011? We don’t know; changes in income-data collection has made it impossible to track. Austerity measures, ironically, have resulted in an inability to keep track of the changes: StatsCan used to provide detailed, comprehensive data on salaries and employment at all levels of government; now we can’t tell where, or how deep, the cuts have been.
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Less discussed, however, is how data erasure also threatens the economy, industry, the arts, and the country’s ability to compete internationally. The 2013 report “Information management in the Canadian federal government” is a title not likely to attract the non-librarian reader. But the conclusions drawn by its authors, a librarian at Carleton University and an information-management consultant, are chilling. Isla Jordan and Ulla de Stricker describe a country “without access to large parts of its institutional memory, and leaders without access to the information needed for strategic decision-making.” Toni Samek, a professor at the school of library and information studies at the University of Alberta, puts it more succinctly. Canada is facing a “national amnesia,” she says, a condition that will block its ability to keep government accountable, remember its past and plan its future.



http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/vanishing-canada-why-were-all-losers-in-ottawas-war-on-data/

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Reply Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data (Maclean's) (Original post)
alcina Sep 2015 OP
snagglepuss Sep 2015 #1
CanadianComrade Sep 2015 #2
Joe Shlabotnik Sep 2015 #4
alcina Sep 2015 #7
Joe Shlabotnik Sep 2015 #3
starroute Sep 2015 #5
alcina Sep 2015 #6
arikara Sep 2015 #8

Response to alcina (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2015, 11:01 PM

1. This coming from right wing Macleans magazine. Wow.

Easy to dismantle health care and everything else when there is no data.

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Response to alcina (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2015, 11:06 PM

2. Harper is an abomination.

And it kills me how I hear people say the other choices are worse, or that they will just vote for the devil they know. They don't have a clue what they're talking about, and no idea how much damage this lunatic has done to our once great country.

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Response to CanadianComrade (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 19, 2015, 11:58 PM

4. They've known the same devil for a long time

without realizing it. Harper is just the cherry on top of a sell out that began in the 1970's and has accelerated exponentially. Our standard of living has only deteriorated since then, and yet people are at each others throats trying to preserve an ever worsening situation. Most people in fact don't have a clue, because they're either too busy being desperate, or perfectly happy being on the fortunate side of the equation.

Those who remember what Canada was like 'in the good old days' have to wake up, and those who never knew them have to start dreaming of what it could be like. We need bold ideas, and big changes.

and Welcome to DU

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Response to CanadianComrade (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 20, 2015, 08:07 AM

7. We need to make sure everyone we know votes

Low voter turnout has traditionally benefited conservatives. And as we've seen, they're trying everything to make sure those who oppose them have a hard time voting. The last federal election had 61% voter turnout, with seniors voting at roughly twice the rate of college-age voters. In some areas the turnout was substantially lower.

Elections Canada has some handy charts of voting history. Have a look -- they may not be there in the future.
http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=rec/part/estim/41ge&document=report41&lang=e

But like you, I've run into few people who use the devil-you-know line or say their vote is meaningless. I've told them about voter turnout and that those 40% who didn't vote would have changed the results. They're one of those 40%. Their vote is not meaningless.



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Response to alcina (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2015, 11:46 PM

3. Its pretty obvious,

that our government seeks to act with impunity, serving only the interests of the elites, all the while increasing the scrutiny and micromanaging dissent among us common folk, and dismantling our institutions for sale to their most favored bidders. Some might call it ironic, others might call it fascism. Worse yet is that many don't know/don't care.

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Response to Joe Shlabotnik (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 20, 2015, 12:24 AM

5. Even fascism at least claimed to be efficient

Mussolini was said to have made the trains run on time. The Nazis were obsessive record-keepers. But these dudes don't even care whether things work or if their countries are able to compete globally. They just want to rip off as much as they can for themselves.

If it weren't for Obama, the US would be in worse straits than Canada.

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Response to starroute (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 20, 2015, 07:59 AM

6. In the days of Mike Harris

There were many comparisons made to fascism. Even the non-con MPs made referencse to stick-bundlers and train schedules. I wish I could recall which rural Ontario MP responded by saying the NDP thought it was a bad thing that trains ran on time. Probably the same one who said drinking kool-aid was better than the wine or lattes that the Libs were drinking.

Alas, the details are fuzzy. I spent many days and nights sitting in provincial parliament or protesting outside, and I marched against Harris's "common sense revolution." I was relieved when the cons lost Ontario (though not ecstatic about who won).

But I was surprised and disappointed when Ontario went conservative in the federal election.

Memories are short. Yet another reason we need this data.

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Response to alcina (Original post)

Mon Sep 21, 2015, 01:18 PM

8. Harper:

"You won't recognize Canada when I'm through with it"

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