I am writing to express my opposition to MP John Duncan’s government’s efforts to attack those who question or disagree with your policies.
He and his government have demonstrated a disregard for policy-making based on sound evidence and research relying instead on narrow ideological priorities, regardless of what Canadians are telling you.
It seems to me that they are trying to repeal the 20th century by their attacks and cuts to CBC, food inspection services, Old Age Security, medicare, the role of unions, environmental protections. My concern is increased when I realize that they will have to rely on the private sector to do the work done in the past by qualified and efficient civil service employees at all levels.
The actions by you to silence alternative points of view (keys to a vibrant democratic society), to stifle the free flow of information that is vital in a democracy include:
• Cuts to Statistics Canada, eliminating the compulsory long-form census, a most crucial policy tool for analyzing poverty and inequality in Canada;
• Abolishing the National Council of Welfare, whose reports have been used by both government and the private sector for sound policy-making;
• Removal of funding of prominent arms-length social and labour market policy research institutes, forcing their closure;
• Drastically weakening environmental assessment rules, placing too much power in the privacy of the cabinet;
• An aggressive campaign against not-for-profit organizations that have been critical of government policies;
• Pushing an omnibus budget bill that removed adequate time for elected MPs to discuss and review the implications;
They are creating a chill for any democratic action by citizens who are speaking out on social, economic and political issues.
I leave you with this quote from a great Canadian prime minister, John Diefenbaker, who, in 1960, said: “I am a Canadian, free to oppose what I believe wrong. Free to stand for what I think right.”
MP Duncan’s actions and those of his government fly in the face of this Conservative prime minister’s comments.