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Can they all just get along?


 

The official opposition and the government are both apparently interested in fostering a dignified Parliament.

“We were distressed by the erosion of decorum in the last Parliament,” the Prime Minister’s director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, said in an e-mail. “Our hope is that the new Parliament can turn a page, and the PM has certainly expressed this hope and expectation to his caucus, which is firmly united on this point. There will always be give-and-take on issues, but it can be, and should be, respectful both of individual Members and of the dignity of the House.”


 

Can they all just get along?

  1. “Mr. Layton is promising his MPs won’t heckle during Question Period.”

    What does Mulcair think of this?

    Interested to see what happens over next few years. I think decorum could approve because we have two ideologue parties in power, going back and forth. Both believe in ideas, ideology and won’t be suspicious of one another. 

    Libs take policies from both sides, claim ideologies are scary and make accusations about intentions or motivations. It is always Libs who question motives, like example from TorStar article. Mendes and Franks can’t just accept Tories doing something on principle – tho I agree it is hard to believe – they have to talk about motives or calculations. 

    Franks and Mendes will become less and less useful when thoughful opinions on ideas are needed. 

    Ideologies or ideas give people something to argue about other than motives. Or it all could go pear shaped and get worse. Who knows.

    TorStar, June 1 2011

    “Harper has justified ending the subsidies by arguing that parties themselves should be responsible for raising funds. But some political observers say the action is motivated more by partisan politics.

    “Sure there’s a principle there but the principle is really an excuse for doing something that hurts your enemies. The only principle is their unremitting warfare against the other parties,” said Ned Franks, professor emeritus at Queen’s University.“

    At this point the subsidies help the other parties more than they help the Conservatives and getting rid of them is going to hurt the other parties more,” Franks said.

    Errol Mendes, a professor at the University of Ottawa, said axing the subsidies is an “attempt to cut the feet from under the opposition parties.”

    • Ideologies are scary. Dogmas are about ‘beliefs’ not based on empirical evidence. Witness brain-dead crime policy on the right and brain-dead economic policy on the left.

      They can be incredibly dangerous. I’m a much bigger fan of evidence-based decision-making rather than decision-based evidence-making.

      • “I’m a much bigger fan of evidence-based decision-making rather than decision-based evidence-making.”  
        ———–
        Not to get too zen or anything but everyone thinks they are a “bigger fan of evidence-based decision-making” but in reality we all engage in “decision-based evidence-making.” 

        Do you have any empirical evidence that empirical evidence can guide us through life?

        There is no one truth. 
        ——
        Wiki – “Empirical evidence (the record of one’s direct observations or experiences) can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively. Through quantifying the evidence or making sense of it in qualitative form, a researcher can answer empirical questions, which should be clearly defined and answerable with the evidence collected (usually called data).” 

        • Do you think science has any utility? If I think planes fly or not because god wants them to or not, does that make engineering moot?

          In policy discussions, we have rigorous empirical studies to help us evaluate the merits of various approaches. Social science is certainly fuzzier than physics, but this does not mean it is useless, any more than quantum mechanics disagreeing with general relativity makes the latter useless.

          Not all truths are equal. One may think that having everyone walk the streets armed with machine guns makes society safer, but there is not much, if any evidence to support this thesis, and evidence to the contrary.

          There is room in politics for oughts. But we should be able to agree much more on how to best achieve those oughts. We don’t have liberal physics or conservative algebra, so why should the idea of conservative economics or liberal criminology seem natural? Just as physics has not arrived at consensus on many open problems, that there is disagreement and competing theories in the social sciences does not render them useless in guiding policy.

        • I’ll also note that implementing policies to solve specific problems, when there is a preponderance of evidence that those policies do not achieve their stated aims, is a bad thing. Do you not agree?

        • “Do you think science has any utility? If I think planes fly …. ”

          Yes, science has enormous utility. I am big fan of proper science and things it allows us to do. Give specific examples. I like scientific knowledge that led humans to inventing/discovering cars, electricity, air conditioning, gravity … etc.

          “…. that there is disagreement and competing theories in the social sciences does not render them useless in guiding policy.”

          This is where we fundamentally disagree. We should not experiment on people if we don’t know what we are doing. Real lives are being wrecked just because some know-it-alls think they can control people. 

          Are you a parent Andrew_notPorC?  

          How about parents in Calgary where a few weeks ago “a convicted Calgary pedophile has been released on day parole after serving 18 months of his four year sentence.”

          Should parents tell themselves that social scientists know best and they have nothing to worry about?  

          Social Science (Alex Himelfarb)

          “Surely one key test of any society is how we treat the most vulnerable and, even more particularly, the most despised.  Justice policies offer a glimpse into the soul of a nation.

          Before getting to the substance, let me admit that a very significant part of my public service career was spent in the justice sector, in what was then the Ministry of the Solicitor General (now Public Safety), the Justice Department and the National Parole Board.
          —–

          This world, to paraphrase sociologist Orrin Klapp, is destructively divided up into heroes – “hard-working, law-abiding tax payers” ; villains – criminals, terrorists and would-be terrorists; and fools – all the elites and so-called experts who are soft on crime and soft on terror. 

          This view gives not much space to idea of redemption or, for that matter, to compassion and brooks no debate on what the evidence might tell us or about the costs of punishment.” 

          What the evidence tells us: 

          Recidivism rates for convicted sex offenders vary greatly, ranging from less than 5 percent to more than 50 percent, based on such factors as the victim’s gender, the offender’s relationship to the victim and whether the offender has received treatment, multiple studies have shown. 

          In general, younger men who abuse boys they don’t know have the highest risks of re-offending.

          Taken as a group, about 14 percent of convicted sex offenders committed new sex crimes over a five-year period and about 20 percent did so over a 10-year period, according to Canadian researcher Karl Hanson’s widely cited review of studies involving more than 4,700 offenders.

          Recidivism rates for sex offenders drop for those who receive treatment to help them control their impulses and steer clear of dangerous situations, recent studies have shown.

          Results of listening to social scientists and their claim to expertise:

          Edmonton, Alberta: 

          Crown prosecutors began a court battle Thursday to have convicted pedophile Daniel Todd Gratton declared a dangerous offender.

          Gratton kidnapped and sexually assaulted two young girls in 2008 while under a parole officer’s supervision.

          Gratton, 46, has been registered as a long-term offender since 2002 when he was sentenced to six years in prison for sex crimes against six children between the ages of three and seven. One girl was assaulted more than 70 times. 

          He had previously been convicted of sexual assault in 1990 and sexual interference in 1991.

          StatsCan:

          According to the 2004 GSS, there were about 512,000 incidents of sexual assault, representing a rate of 1,977 incidents per 100,000 population aged 15 and older. Given that most sexual assaults go unreported, police-reported sexual assault counts are notably lower, with about 24,200 sexual offences recorded by police in 2007.

          The 2004 GSS showed that sexual victimization rates were dramatically higher among those aged 15 to 24, compared to those 55 and over. Additionally, over half of the sexual assault victims reported to police in 2007 were children and youth under the age of 18

        • “Just as physics has not arrived at consensus on many open problems, that there is disagreement and competing theories in the social sciences does not render them useless in guiding policy.”

          I disagree.

          Jim Manzi – City Journal – What Social Science Does and Does Not Know

          “In early 2009, the United States was engaged in an intense public debate over a proposed $800 billion stimulus bill …… James Buchanan, Edward Prescott, Vernon Smith, and Gary Becker, all Nobel laureates in economics, argued that while the stimulus might be an important emergency measure, it would fail to improve economic performance. Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, on the other hand, argued that the stimulus would improve …..

          Fierce debates can be found in frontier areas of all the sciences, of course, but this was as if, on the night before the Apollo moon launch, half of the world’s Nobel laureates in physics were asserting that rockets couldn’t reach the moon and the other half were saying that they could ….

          Another way of putting the problem is that we have no reliable way to measure counterfactuals—that is, to know what would have happened had we not executed some policy—because so many other factors influence the outcome.

          This seemingly narrow problem is central to our continuing inability to transform social sciences into actual sciences. Unlike physics or biology, the social sciences have not demonstrated the capacity to produce a substantial body of useful, nonobvious, and reliable predictive rules about what they study—that is, human social behavior, including the impact of proposed government programs.

          The missing ingredient is controlled experimentation, which is what allows science positively to settle certain kinds of debates. How do we know that our physical theories concerning the wing are true? In the end, not because of equations on blackboards or compelling speeches by famous physicists but because airplanes stay up.

          Over many decades, social science has groped toward the goal of applying the experimental method to evaluate its theories for social improvement. Recent developments have made this much more practical, and the experimental revolution is finally reaching social science.

          The most fundamental lesson that emerges from such experimentation to date is that our scientific ignorance of the human condition remains profound. Despite confidently asserted empirical analysis, persuasive rhetoric, and claims to expertise, very few social-program interventions can be shown in controlled experiments to create real improvement in outcomes of interest.

          http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_social-science.html

          • You’re invoking criminological studies in arguing that criminology is useless? I’m confused. Please state your argument clearly rather than violating copyright. You seem to be implying that sex offenders with a high probability of reoffending should not be released. I agree. That is at least based on evidence. I’m not sure locking them up for ten years rather than 1.5 solves the problem.

            “This seemingly narrow problem is central to our continuing inability to transform social sciences into actual sciences. Unlike physics or biology, the social sciences have not demonstrated the capacity to produce a substantial body of useful, nonobvious, and reliable predictive rules about what they study—that is, human social behavior, including the impact of proposed government programs.”

            This is nonsense and patently false. Humans are more complicated systems than protons, so it is harder to develop predictive models with high degrees of precision and accuracy. Economics, of the social sciences, is probably the furthest along in developing predictive models.

            This is not to say that there is not bad social science. There is bad science everywhere, but especially in fields where experimentation is difficult, as it is with humans. Medicine has been fairly slow to progress to the extent that human experimentation is slow, difficult and highly restrictive.

            That human behaviour is difficult to study is no reason not to try.

            Would you say that it’s fair to characterize your position as saying that policy by intuition is as good or better than policy based on social science? Those are our two options. If I have to pick, I’ll take the latter, but it should be done with great skepticism. I’m dumb-founded by those who pick intuition. It feels good, I guess.

        • “…. that policy by intuition is as good or better than policy based on social science?If I have to pick, I’ll take the latter, but it should be done with great skepticism. I’m dumb-founded by those who pick intuition.”

           Social science is intuition, you can’t separate them, because social scientists have no idea what they are doing. You are letting other people think for you. Some common sense would be appropriate.

          And I am dumbfounded by voters, social scientists, bureaucracy and pols who think it is clever to put pedophiles, rapists, murderers and other nutters back into community. Feels good, I guess.

          “This is nonsense and patently false. Humans are more complicated systems than protons, so it is harder to develop predictive models with high degrees of precision and accuracy.”

          First off, you saying it is nonsense and then explain why it isn’t nonsense. 

          Secondly – For a person who favours “evidence-based decision-making” you don’t provide much evidence or data or much of anything other than contradictory opinions. 

          Please provide evidence or data for why it is ‘nonsense and patently false’, to prove your assertion. That’s how it works, no?

          Evidence illustrating social science is really helping the nation would be nice.

          All these marxist social scientists will be coming back in next life as Hungry Ghosts because they are morally bankrupt and cause enormous misery with their quackery. 

          CS Lewis: 

          “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

          The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

          • So let’s ban all social sciences because they aren’t always 100% accurate right off the bat?

            Do you have any idea of the number of things in the hard sciences that weren’t always 100% accurate right off the bat?

            Fortunately, people kept trying

          • Fortunately for who?

            “How do we know that our physical theories concerning the wing are true? In the end, not because of equations on blackboards or compelling speeches by famous physicists but because airplanes stay up.”

          • Fortunately for all of us!

            And yes we know because of equations on a blackboard.

            What university did you go to anyway??

    • So the Cons calling Layton ‘Taliban Jack’ was was an expression of principle?

      • Yes because Taliban Jack wanted to negotiate with enemy while we are still fighting them and that does not make sense to everyone. 

        Snarky comments will still be made but they be will water off duck’s back to other side because both sides think each equally ridiculous. 

        Liberals focus on motives and it changes nature of conversation or debate.

        • Harper mused about negotiations with the Taliban, too. Where is your righteous indignation directed toward him?

    • “Not to get too zen or anything but everyone thinks they are a “bigger
      fan of evidence-based decision-making” but in reality we all engage in
      “decision-based evidence-making.” ”

      This is a great line.

      As for the rest, you could have saved yourself a lot of incoherent ranting and just typed “harrumph!”

  2. It’s unfortunate that the Liberals are already saying this idea of improved decorum is DOA. Bob Rae’s pretty much said he has no intentions of playing nice in QP. Too bad.

  3. Dmitri Soudas calling for decorum and civility is like OBL calling for religious harmony, tolerance and non-violence.

    • The most flagrant abuses of civility were engineered by Soudas in the PMO. These calls for more civility and respect for fellow members is a joke. One party, the Conservatives, set the tone for the whole House when they destroyed the purpose of Members Statements which was to highlight riding issues. 
      They turned the statements into vicious personal insulting attacks against fellow members, particularly Michael Ignatieff. Sheep like attack dogs from the Conservative back bench rose and stumbled through attacks which had been written for them by the Conservative hate machine headed by Soudas.The Ottawa media and pundits don’t mention this Conservative distortion of a parliamentary institution and the Speaker’s complicity when discussing the issue. The Conservatives “don’t blame us, we were good” defence which the media has accepted is a complete falsehood. The Members Statement fiasco which was conducted with impunity was happening less than a year ago. Short media memories.

      • Maybe that’s why he’s leaving?  He can’t contribute to polite debate, or even non-insulting yet somewhat raucous differences of opinion.

  4. We should take bets! I say Mulcair will fail miserably, in the past I would think Baird was a front runner but maybe with his new post he will act more grown up.

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