‘Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong’

Stephen Harper, June 6, 2008Ladies and gentlemen, I try to get off of Parliament Hill as often as possible to attend functions like this. It helps me to keep in touch with the issues that really matter to Canadians, and one issue I hear about time and time again, whether it’s among Canadians old or young, whether it’s in the East or West, in English or in French, is unacceptably high levels of crime. Everywhere I go I hear the same refrain: “Prime Minister, please crack down on criminals, get guns, gangs and drugs off our streets, stop behaviour that threatens our property and our persons, make our communities safer.” It’s a reasonable thing to ask of government. It’s one of the most fundamental reasons, maybe the most fundamental reason, the government exists, especially in Canada, a country that was founded on the principle of peace, order and good government … It’s one thing that they, the criminals do not get it, but if you don’t mind me saying, another part of the problem for the past generation has been those, also a small part of our society, who are not criminals themselves, but who are always making excuses for them, and when they aren’t making excuses, they are denying that crime is even a problem: the ivory tower experts, the tut-tutting commentators, the out-of-touch politicians. “Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong,” they say. “Crime is not really a problem.” I don’t know how you say that. I don’t know how you tell that to the families of the victims we saw on the screen today. These men, women and children are not statistics. They had families, friends, hopes and dreams, until their lives were taken from them … Obviously we cannot undo these travesties, nor can we erase the pain and suffering that they cause. But there is something we can do and that we must do, and that is to get serious about tackling crime in this country … What we’re doing, ladies and gentlemen, is starting to overhaul a system that’s been in place. In fact, we’re starting to overhaul a system that has been moving in the wrong direction for 30 years.

Statistics Canada, todayPolice-reported crime in Canada continued to decline in 2008. Both the traditional crime rate and the new Crime Severity Index fell 5%, meaning that both the volume of police-reported crime and its severity decreased. Violent crime also dropped, but to a lesser extent. This was the fifth consecutive annual decline in police-reported crime.




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‘Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong’

  1. police-reported crime

    Ever watched the third season of The Wire?

    • I bet there's an awful lot of television watching going on, actually. Sun-media reading, too.

    • 'police-reported crime'

      That's exactly what I was thinking. I would love to see stats on how many people don't even bother to phone police anymore because they know nothing will happen. And I would also like to see stats on how many crimes cops keep off the books but try to solve situation anyways. As one example, I have heard that many domestic calls don't get recorded but police attend scene and try to separate waring couple

      • "I have heard that many domestic calls don't get recorded but police attend scene and try to separate waring couple "

        On the contrary, whenever police are called to the scene of a violent domestic dispute, the police are obliged to be lay charges, whether the victim wants it or not. (An effort to crack down on domestic violence and the psychology of victims forgiving battery in a vicious cycle of abuse etc.) Whether the crime will be prosecuted or not of course depends on the cooperation of witnesses, often the victim, so prosecution may not proceed, but the incident will make the stats. Of course, surely the police are not summoned to most incidents of domestic violence.

        • "the police are obliged to be lay charges, whether the victim wants it or not."

          That's interesting Jack M, I did not know that. The person I heard it from was with OPP in Brantford and he said that police broke up domestics all the time but did not report some of them because the couple were habitual brawlers and nothing ever changed.

          • Ah, sorry, likely I'm wrong in thinking it's a nationwide thing; my source was in a different province. Probably it varies. I can see the logic of it but I wonder if it doesn't have the opposite effect (at least after the first time), in that the victim might avoid calling the police after that. Not to underrate the persistent problem of domestic violence, but I wonder why the iron-fist approach is thought to work better in this case than in the case of, say, drug possession, in terms of reforming the broader society.

          • On second thought, as per @metameta's comment below, if your contact in the OPP said that "the couple were habitual brawlers" and meant that BOTH husband and wife habitually slugged each other, I can see why charges might not be laid, even if that were the nationwide policy: because both were victims and both were assailants. Unless it's reasonably clear who the victim is, don't the police often take statements and say, "There's no way to figure out what happened" in the case of, say, a street fight? Unless they arrest them both. Hmm, somebody here must know what the deal is. Anyway, I guess this is a tangent.

          • OPP guy said often the couple would be hitting one another – always drugs and/or alcohol involved – and there was no way to decide who the 'victim' was. Policeman said they would always take the man away from the home and let him sleep it off at family/friend's home. And this would repeat itself ad nauseam so police kind of give up and don't record every incident.

            I just want to make clear that this is not true in all domestic cases and any man who hits women should have his willy chopped off and put in jail for long time.

          • You've got it right, Jack. Where one member of the couple is the batterer and one the victim, the police have no choice but to lay charges. When both appear bloody and battered, no witness can claim who threw the first physical blow (ashtray/broomhandle), and neither one of the couple insists on bringing charges, there's not much police can do. Yes, except separate the couple for the night.

      • joylon – domestic situations or "waring couples" as you call them – um.. not really an example of crime. Especially not one that the federal government needs "to get serious about tackling". The way Harper is speaking in this excerpt is alarming. I don't have much respect for Harper, and still I'm surprised by this rhetoric. How can such a shallow mind be the Prime Minister of this country?

    • really we are going to start making policy decisions based on HBO television series?

      • Your position is of course a very prudent one, but given the particular tv show here, I really wish we would.

        • it is a very good show isn't it perdogperday (are you a dogwalker!?!)? if we were talking about making more constructive progressive policy than i would be prob be down.

          • also, if we are i want to nominate some other HBO shows we should make policy based on!

  2. Maybe that's because these policies are acheiving their desired effect, no?

    • Harper's policies? No. The line of this trend is long and steady.

    • It's more likely that the policies from the beginning of the decade are finally achieving their desired effect, as this cohort of youth enter adulthood after being supported by progressive policies on school-aged support and crime. I've always suspected a link between the five year period of high gun crime in Toronto in 2001 to 2006 to the Harris cuts over 1995 to 2000, when social services were dramatically decimated by Conservative cuts – and the kids doing the shooting were in their teens at the time – when they're most in time of support. Now we're entering the cohort of the post-cuts, and the reinstatement of more progressive governance – and again crime is down.

    • You mean the Harper policies that the dastardly Liberals have been stalling, particularly in the big bad senate, and that the Cons are constantly demanding they stop stalling so they can be passed into law and start dealing with this, apparently, declining crime rate?

      Those policies?

      Actually, the steady decline goes back some years and predates the current government and its "tough on crime" policies. And I'm unaware of how many of them have actually passed into law, what with dastardly Senators and early elections and proroguings of parliament to avoid defeats.

  3. "Hello base, hope you don't mind if I pander to you today by totally misrepresenting an important issue…"

    • "Not at all, pander away. Does that come with stimulus spending?"

  4. Yeah, but I know someone who's car got stolen. Ergo, crime is on the rise. More police! (as long as they work for free, of course, given that all taxes are bad taxes)

  5. " It helps me to keep in touch with the issues that really matter to Canadians, and one issue I hear about time and time again, whether it's among Canadians old or young, whether it's in the East or West, in English or in French, is unacceptably high levels of crime."

    Unreal…

  6. Oh dear. Harper's been caught lying again. How embarrassing.

  7. The PM is absolutley correct – as the last few times I have talked to him I bought the subject up so count me as one of thiose he is listening to and as well when I was working for the LPC they would say say when I bought the subject up as I always do oh of course dear lowly drone worker we are deeply concerned bla bla bla and then of course do nothing. It is a world of difference supporting a party that does indeed respond to it's caucus and it's members and the Lib's would be well advised to listen. The stats are meaningless as ANY CRIME is too much crime.

    • what is crime wayne? please define what you believe to be a crime.

    • "the last few times I have talked to him I bought the subject up so count me as one of thiose he is listening to"

      So Wayne is responsible for the increasingly high statistics of crimes reported to the Prime Minister.

      • And therefore Wayne can also take at least partial credit for the recent responses from the federal government.

      • Huh. By that reasoning we could significantly reduce crime in Canada by getting Wayne to stop talking to the PM! LOL

    • So when Harper talks to wingnuts, they say there's a crime problem. Fair enough.

      Now.. in the real world…

    • Feeding the trolls is a crime.

      Why do you love taxes so much, Inkless?

  8. As we can see, the CPoC has found a type of logical fallacy that their base is especially susceptible to.

    • try living in Vancouver and think about the absurdity of what you are saying

      • Where in Vancouver are you talking about?

    • regardless of whether you're right or not:

      my vote cancels out y'alls

  9. PM: "I try to get off of Parliament Hill as often as possible"

    Not a bad thing, seeing as his principal office isn't on Parliament Hill.

    • I love that line. SH stars as Sherlock Holmes.

      SH as SH: Someone cancel my briefing on crime in Canada! Come on Sparrow its time to get Giornofied!….we need to get off of Parliament Hill as fast as possible and determine the true state of crime in the country!

    • We can make that "getting off Parliament Hill" a more permanent thing, come this September.

  10. I'm stll trying to find the spot where Harper is lying and saying something outrageously false. He says crime is unacceptably high, not that crime rates are rising (nice strawman, though). And in talking about overhauling a system that has been going in the wrong direction for 30 years he is more likely referring to how victims of crime feel they do not receive justice (especially considering that he was talking about victims in the previous sentence).

    Perhaps if there was evidence that people were content with the current level of crime and victims of crime were satisfied with the justice system would could all call Harper a liar but that was not the evidence provided.

    • Still trying to spot where he's lying or saying something outrageously false?

      How about this, in the middle of his pandering:

      "a small part of our society, who are not criminals themselves, but who are always making excuses for them, and when they aren't making excuses, they are denying that crime is even a problem: the ivory tower experts, the tut-tutting commentators, the out-of-touch politicians. “Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong,” they say. “Crime is not really a problem.” "

      Who is making excuses for them? Who doesn't see crime as a problem?

      • You make a fair point in that Harper's rhetoric crossed the line there. The comment is no doubt aimed at people who argue that root causes lead to criminal behaviour which can be mistakenly interpreted as absolving criminals of personal responsibility for their crimes but I don't really agree with Harper that they are making excuses for the behaviour, simply trying to explain it. And although these people also tend to resist Harper's approach to dealing with criminals, often arguing that current methods are working by pointing to statistics of declining crime rates, it's not really fair of Harper to accuse them of not thinking crime (in general) is a problem.

  11. I don't see anywhere in Harper's speech a mention of crime reporting frequency trends, which is a minor part of the issue. Is Wherry suggesting that the Canadian public is not concerned about guns, gangs and drugs? Is he suggesting that the majority of Canadians are not increasingly frustrated by the gap between what our judicial system should do about crime versus what it actually accomplishes? Gun play at our shopping malls, is not an issue?

  12. Well, you might be able to wring a kind of "it's only about how people feel, really" argument, but Harper does use the word 'reasonable'. So even if you set aside, for argument's sake, the large dose of alarmism, it's still pretty weak.

    • The argument is weak if you think this whole speech is about reducing crime that is spiralling out of control (the strawman). The speech has nothing to do with that. Harper is appealing to those who feel criminals (likely violent offenders) are not adequately punished for the pain they inflict on their victims and theirs families. People who would agree with him on that would pretty much agree with the thrust of his statement that crime is a problem and liberal justice policies are not providing adequate justice for the victims and their families.

      • If adressing perception of a problem is more important than adressing a problem, you may have an argument, here.

        • It all depends on the problem you are trying to address. When discussing crime it seems to me that Liberals and Conservatives are discussing two separate problems. The Liberals seem to focus almost entirely on crime reduction while largely ignoring the justice aspect while the Conservatives tend to do the reverse.

          It's almost like Conservatives can't seem to understand that locking people up for a long time with no rehabilitation programs risks turning them into hardened career criminals and Liberals can't seem to understand that people will be turned off about the idea that violent criminals that cause a great deal of suffering for their victim and their family receiving minimal punishment on the premise that locking them up will only make them worse criminals in the future. Surely, there's a middle ground there somewhere.

          • Or put differently:

            The Liberals are tough on crime.

            The Conservatives are tough on criminals.

          • "The Liberals seem to focus almost entirely on crime reduction while largely ignoring the justice aspect while the Conservatives tend to do the reverse."…uhm i think you mean the Conservatives focus nearly exclusively on retribution.

          • as per the dilemma that you lay out re finding a middle ground. some would argue that a middle ground simply is not possible given the nature of the divergent opinions at play. for example consider the following quote by Geraldine Mackenzie a prof at the QUT, Brisbane law school:

            'Retribution is an unnatural approach. It appears however to be better understood by the public than the other tenets. The difficulty is that however severe the retribution, it would not satisfy those who have been injured."

  13. It would be interesting to see if the Ontario figures are significantly different from the rest of Canada for that time period.

  14. Even though I'm a bleeding heart lefty I'd LOVE it if the Conservatives cracked down on crime. The thing is, they have no intention of doing so. They love cracking down on people who have already committed crimes. Punishment is important and all, but I'd rather you keep murders and robberies from happening in the first place than be really hard on the perpetrators once they've committed said crimes.

  15. It's pretty sad how predictably the left and the right react to the crime issue.

  16. I have never understood why people get so excited at a drop in the crime rate, as if somehow the fact that there's 40 murders instead of 50, or 40 armed robberies instead of 50 in a given place in a given year is cause for celebration. It's progress, but hardly success. If corporate polluters – who I hate the same way I'd hate a drunk driver – were killing only 40 people instead of 50 every year with emissions of poison from a local factory, the expressions of outrage would be endless. But for those who wrongly equate leniency with social justice, a lower murder rate (or whatever) is somehow taken as a sign that crime isn't really an issue at all.

    The objective of crime prevention should be to prevent every crime, even if it's unrealistic or unattainable goal. The objective of law enforcement should be to get every dangerous criminal off the street, no matter how few dangerous criminals there might be at any particular moment. Period. Every murder is unacceptable, every preventable crime a social failure. Regardless of the 'trend' of crime statistics, I support due process efforts to make life harder for criminals through due process 100%. I'm less and less a fan of this government, but protecting good citizens from violent citizens shouldn't be a partisan issue.

    • well said!

    • The point is that there is crime and some people want to reduce the level of crime and their proposed policies seem to work, and there are others who don't care about the level of crime but want the criminal to pay thinking, i guess, either that crime is too big a problem to deal with or that feeling good about punishing someone will make the problem go away, in both cases clearly and verifiably wrong.

      • "and there are others who don't care about the level of crime but want the criminal to pay thinking"

        When did they say that they don't care about the level of crime? :)

        • By dismissing out of hand the statistics that show that it is in fact declining and dismissing out of hand the reasons for that decline.

          • It's nice to know that you are as liberal with your interpretation of people's quotes and motives as Harper.

          • Not just in this exerpt but elsewhere.

            For example, he's said that crime in his neighbourhood growing up was lower than it is today. That was false. His Toronto neighbourhood's crime rate, and Toronto as a whole, was higher when he was growing up than it is today.

            Or, more to the point, he's said things very similar to what the Justice Minister said yesterday: “We don't govern on the latest statistics".

          • But neither of those quotes amount to an admission of not caring about the level of crime. The second one could be interpreted as the exact opposite in that the Conservatives think that while crime is dropping, it's still too high and more needs to be done. Doesn't mean what they are doing is necessarily right, but I don't see how that could be chalked up to not caring.

            The first one may only be misleading (although it could still be an outright falsehood since I don't have the numbers). Just because the crime rate has dropped doesn't necessarily mean crime is down on an absolute level. If the population triples and the crime rate on decreases by half then crime, on an absolute basis, has still increased.

  17. Seems to me Dbert, that that the right always reacts out of fear. They seems so afraid of everything.

  18. "but I'd rather you keep murders and robberies from happening in the first place"

    So you would support Government throwing people in jail before they commit a crime? I agree, you are very left wing.

    And putting criminals in jail stops them from committing more crimes.

    • I'd have thought putting 10% of non-criminals in jail would certainly reduce the crime rate, since some of those 10% will commit crimes. So the object can't simply be to reduce crime, but to do so in keeping with basic justice. Seems to me the problem is that the courts and the government are at odds about the degree to which a convicted criminal's rights conform to basic justice, with part of public opinion siding with the courts and another part with the government.

  19. rape, murder. theft – you can generally determine such by the little respected (by liberals anyways) but frequently disregarded heading of illegality. If it's illegal you can safely assume that it is a crime – the key is that the act is committed by either experienced or potential criminals.

  20. You are on the right track. But you have to start somehwere so start with not letting existing criminlas loose to perpetuate more crimes and then invest in crime prevention – and sometimes the best way to prevent crimes to keep the criminals away from society!

    • But MORE times it is best to prevent the crime in the first place. More cops on the street. More education to the underprivileged. More food in the belly. More training and rehabilitation for those who fall through the cracks.

      History has shown that the Conservative approach of being tough on criminals instead of being tough of crime, just does not work.

      Results should matter.

      • whereas soviet style policing and 'prevention' works much more efficiently. it's double plus good!

        • Doesn't have to be a police state. Just need cops with whom communities are familiar and comfortable enough to report crime to and present enough that a potential crime is avoided. Guilliani's New York was not a police state – they certainly crossed the lines often, for example, with homeless, but it was not a police state – but part of the effectiveness of his clean up was just simply having more cops around.

  21. The PM only has to walk ten minutes from the Hill to see rampant crack use, violent crime, and theft. The Byward Market needs to be cleaned up.

  22. "the ivory tower experts, the tut-tutting commentators, the out-of-touch politicians"

    is he talking about Flanagan, his own old days at NCC and hi current role as PM?

  23. Why is this a partisan issue all?Aren't the reasons presented in Harper's comments very similar to the rationale used by the Liberals to institute the long-gun registry. I remember Allan Rock specifying, some years after the registry was in place, exactly how many lives had been saved by the registry, as the result of a statistical blip in gun-murders rates.

  24. For that matter, during the election campaign in Dec 2005, following the death of an innocent bystander Jane Creba during a shoot-out in downtown Toronto, didn't the Libs and the NDP join the Cons in calling for mandatory sentencing for violent crimes. I guess pandering to the electorate is ok during electoral periods but not between.

  25. As I said up above in a comment, I think the despite the rhetoric and Harper's falsehoods and strawmen, the reality of conservative vs liberal views can be summed up as: liberals are tough on crime; conservatives are tough on criminals.

    • Did you come up with that slogan all by yourself?

      Anyway, you raise an interesting question. I'm curious what evidence you might have to support the assertion that federal Liberal policies have historically been "tough on crime".

      • "I'm curious what evidence you might have to support the assertion that federal Liberal policies have historically been "tough on crime".

        Well, I know some may not count statistics as "evidence", preferring feelings over numbers, but is it not true that crime rates dropped pretty much as fast under the last few Liberal regimes as they have since the Tories took power? Good on the Tories for the fact that crime rates CONTINUE to drop, but as they were dropping before the Tories took power, is that not at least some degree of evidence that the Liberals were somewhat "tough on crime". If not – if the Liberals get no credit for the drop in crime rates while they were in office – then at least we have to also conclude that the Tories get no credit for crime rates continuing to drop during their tenure.

        • The decade-long drop in crime rates is mostly about demographics and other trends that have nothing to do with either the Liberals or the Conservatives.

          If not – if the Liberals get no credit for the drop in crime rates while they were in office – then at least we have to also conclude that the Tories get no credit for crime rates continuing to drop during their tenure.

          I completely agree. Nobody gets credit.

          • Well, so long as no one gets credit, then that's fair enough.

            Then again, if crime rates are just dropping "naturally" due to "demographics and other trends that have nothing to do with either the Liberals or the Conservatives" then shouldn't we redirect our time and energy to an area of public life that isn't fixing itself without any perceivable effect from the intervention of our politicians? If crime is going down due to factors that have nothing to do with our Parliamentarians, maybe we should just leave well enough alone. Why let the politicians mess with a good thing? They'll likely just screw it up.

    • The general public is not able to distinguish between crime and criminals, however; and if the general public thinks we have a crime problem, we do have a problem, even if it is not a crime problem. The vast majority of people simply do not judge the situation based on statistics, and can't be made to, even if we plastered a "Crime is Down" banner on Peter Mansbridge's forehead for a year: they judge by whether the guy who ripped them off a year ago is given a suspended sentence or not.

      • Agreed. The general public can't be trusted to judge any situation based solely on statistics.

        • Just confirming that you do put some value, hopefully even a lot of value, in the use of statistics to:

          – help define a 'problem',
          – help separate the more pressing problems from the less important problems, and
          – help choose the best solution to a problem that we attempt to aderess.

          And I am keeping the 'lies, darned lies and statistics' quote in mind.

          • I do indeed place a lot of value on statistics. However, as you hinted, statistics are frequently misused and abused in public discourse, and ordinary Canadians are stubbornly more inclined to trust their own experiences than to be swayed by statistics.

            There's no denying that statistics are a valuable tool when used correctly by researchers, journalists, and policymakers.

          • So what to do? How to get more facts and figures into the public decision making process? How to reduce (not eliminate) the impact of instinct?

            For me, this highlights an idea that I have a fair amount of grief with: the idea that your MP's job is solely to represent you in Ottawa. I believe that that role is very important, but it is only roughly one half of an MP's job. The other half is to represent Ottawa to the constituents.

            This, of course, does require constituents to place some trust in people that they have never met, ie the researchers, the policymakers (not so sure that journalists need to be included here) who, while not flawless, have some expertise and are more likely to differentiate between a correlation and a cause and effect relationship. And so on…

            And, for your entertainment(?), a link to a non-youtube video that has statistics as the topic. Fair warning, it is a little over 20 minutes long, and (not surprisingly, considering the topic) it does get a little bogged down at one or two places, but I liked it…

            http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_donnelly_shows_how

          • Thanks for the link to the TED video, Phil. Also, that's a very good point that half of your MP's job is to represent Ottawa to you. There is definitely a lack of awareness about many important issues that affect everyone, including crime.

            How to get more facts and figures into the public decision making process?

            This may be a silly idea, but perhaps "Ten Percenters" could be used to disseminate nonpartisan "fact sheets" containing facts and statistics about key issues that affect Canadians.

            For example, the mailout could contain national data about public spending, economic indicators, crime trends, and various public health issues (smoking deaths, swine flu rates, avg wait times for various procedures, etc.). Although many Canadians would simply throw these away, many others would read them and learn something.

          • Thanks for the link to the TED video, Phil. Also, that's a very good point that half of your MP's job is to represent Ottawa to you. There is definitely a lack of public knowledge about many important issues that affect us all, like crime.

            How to get more facts and figures into the public decision making process?

            This may be a silly idea, but perhaps "Ten Percenters" could be used to disseminate nonpartisan "fact sheets" containing facts and statistics about key issues that affect Canadians.

            For example, the mailout could contain national data about public spending, economic indicators, crime trends, and various public health issues (smoking deaths, swine flu rates, avg wait times for various procedures, etc.). Although many Canadians would simply throw these away, many others would read them and learn something.

          • Related to public spending, on a few occasions I have wondered if there would be any value in modifying Page 4 of the T1 Tax Form, so that instead of just calculating one lump sum you actually had to calculate 5 or 6 numbers. The breakdown would reflect (your portion of) the top 5 federal expenditures, so you would specifically see how much money goes to justice, the DoD and so on. OTOH, some of these figures might inflame rather than inform. Sort of like the property tax form I get that shows 3 or 4 line items rather than just one number.

            Followup thought to come…

          • Part deux…

            As an optional add-on to that idea, I've also wondered about adopting a quasi-United Way approach. Specifically, what would happen if we allowed every tax payer to direct 10% (or whatever amount) of their federal tax dollars to the department of their choice. Hawkish people could direct their 'contribution' to defence or justice and other folks might choose to direct their entire allotment to pay down the debt. In the end, I would not be at all surprised if the allocation of funds looked very similar to the current breakdown.

            Even with all of these ideas (mailouts, more control, etc) one wonders if 'things' would change much at all.

            And one last thing…

          • Several decades ago the Alberta governent sent out Health Care statements. They looked like invoices, but of course were for informational purposes only. (As a side benefit, I believe that they might have been trying to detect fraudulent claims from providers.) The real intent (again this was a long time ago, so I could be way off the mark) was just to share the 'costs' of the various health care services that had been accessed over the last quarter or half year. I thought they were great, but they only lasted for about a year. I recall that the negative reaction was very strong, and I never could quite figure out why the idea was kiboshed.

          • It was supremely expensive for no improvement to health care.

            There were also concerns about privacy (including within a family).

            And people generally did not like to think of themselves or to have the government think of them as a "cost".

          • How expensive was supremely expensive? Are you sure the intent was to imporve health care (ie reduce consumption or fraudulent use)? (See below)

            Good point about privacy within a family; definitely would need to be considered if such a plan was to be reintroduced.

            But, but, but….we ARE a cost; why is it a problem to acknowledge that fact? I am sure that the Ministers of Health across the country are already fully aware that citizens impose significant (read 100% of the) costs on their department, so, again, why is it a problem to acknowledge that fact?

            I suppose that I'm not surprised that some folks took offence; I vaguely remember my reaction at the time was something along the lines of "Cool. So that's where a chunk of my tax dollars go. Now, who wants another glass of wine?"

          • There are some drawbacks to this idea (privacy concerns, as you and Ted discussed) and some ordinary Canadians might be confused or annoyed by the statements. However, it's good to think about ways to educate Canadians about how their government works and how public money is allocated. Generally, I'm in favour of providing too much information to the public, rather than too little.

            Interesting ideas, Phil!

      • You seem to have a very low opinion of the general pubic. Are you a politician?

        • If I were a politician, I would have a very low opinion of the general public and claim to have a very high opinion. As it is, I merely have a realistic opinion which I state truthfully.

        • If I were a politician, I would have a very low opinion of the general public while claiming to have a very high opinion. As it is, I merely have a realistic opinion which I state truthfully.

    • Around a couple of years ago, on Mike Duffy Live, Martha Hall Finley described the LPC as being "smart on crime". I haven't heard that phrase used much by the Libs since then, but I think it's a good one for them.

  26. This is an interesting theory! I wonder if any scientific kind of study could be done.

  27. Elected by other shallow minds?

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