Friday, July 19, 2013

Addicted to Denial Sauce

The Department of National Defence is removing info from the web and denying docs and other info to the Parliamentary Budget folks.  I argued that this government is deeply addicted to denial sauce a while back, and it just seems to get worse.  I remember when an opposition staffer told me that when he has a question about what the Canadian Forces are doing, he calls the Pentagon.  I didn't really believe him, but over time, I have come to believe the essential logic of this.

Folks have been making a lot of noise about the new return to various British/Royal names/symbols and the rest.  I am tempted to think that the government's move is due to a focus on the monarchy part of constitutional monarchy.  Yep, Canada is a constitutional monarchy which means that the Crown is the fount of all that is right and just and whatever (insert corporation sole for Phil here), but it seems that the adjective gets lost by this government.  That Harper and his minions prefer to be a monarchy sans accountability.  Giving basic info to the Parliament and the budget folks would seem to be a key requirement in a Constitutional Monarchy.  In an old fashioned non-constitutional monarchy, then one is not bound to be at all transparent. 

Of course, the reality is that the efforts to cover things up just focus more attention and raise more suspicion.  Defence procurement is hard, lots of countries face similar problems with 21st century weapons systems, so one could look at Canada's problems in comparative perspective and have some sympathy for the government as it struggles to modernize the force.  Until the government chooses to bury stuff. 

This compulsion for message management is just incredibly counter-productive, perhaps not to the ability of the government to stay in power (stifling information since 2006: woot!) but it sure sucks for good governance.

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