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Canada Censorship Government Your Rights Online

Delete, Dump and Destroy: Canada's Government Data Severely Compromised 85

sandbagger writes: 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.
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Delete, Dump and Destroy: Canada's Government Data Severely Compromised

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  • That's OK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20, 2015 @01:06PM (#50561603)

    in 29 days we're tossing Harper and his religious doomsday-cult Luddites into the dumpster of history.

    I hope.

    • It seems unlikely. Most Canadian's are not paying attention to his anti-science policies, the money being thrown away fighting equality for Muslims, or any of the rest of the nonsense. They'll vote blue because they've always voted blue and because "lower taxes = good". The left is split down the middle and I predict yet another conservative minority.

      I could be wrong, Alberta noticed when their one industry economy started tanking; and the NDP wave there might be enough to turn the tides to a short lived ND

      • A Conservative minority just means another election in a few weeks. Trudeau and Mulcair aren't going to work with Harper.

        • A Conservative minority just means another election in a few weeks. Trudeau and Mulcair aren't going to work with Harper

          Or with each other, unfortunately.

        • The Abbot luddites have just been rolled here in Oz. Abbot and Harper are ideological soulmates, the same anti-science tactics were used here in Oz while they were in charge, although I must say that eating a raw onion was a unique and entertaining diversion.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          A Conservative minority just means another election in a few weeks. Trudeau and Mulcair aren't going to work with Harper.

          Trudeau and Mulcair are welcome to do it, the last time the Liberals did it, it resulted in a conservative majority. If you really want to piss off the electorate, it's acting like a child when you lose and sending voters back to the polls.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        It seems unlikely. Most Canadian's are not paying attention to his anti-science policies, the money being thrown away fighting equality for Muslims, or any of the rest of the nonsense. They'll vote blue because they've always voted blue and because "lower taxes = good". The left is split down the middle and I predict yet another conservative minority.

        It turns out it's a Tory thing. If you vote blue, you're unlikely to vote orange or red. On the flip side, the reverse is true too - if you're orange or red, y

    • Re:That's OK (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tom229 ( 1640685 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @02:51PM (#50562243)
      Have you seen the polls? Everyone's pretty much tied at the moment. If this keeps up we may have the first time in history (I'm assuming, I haven't looked it up) where 3 parties all have nearly equal seats in the house.

      Regardless, Harper isn't the problem. He's a problem, but he's not the problem. I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Irresponsible Government" by Brent Rathgeber, who is a long standing elected member of the house that has recently resigned from the conservative party to run independent. He explains that the real problem in Canada is the consolation of power in the executive branch, specifically in the PM office. He goes through our history, the causes, and what we can do to solve this fundamental problem which obviously points to some level of legislative reform. Highly recommended reading if you want to understand how Harper has been able to push his personal agenda so effectively for so long.
      • Unfortunately polls mean nothing and may actually hurt come election day because if people think that there's a bunch of other people that are going to vote against Harper then their vote won't really matter.

        My biggest concern is that the Liberals and the NDP are going to split the vote and allow the Conservatives to capture enough seats to win the election.

        • by kbahey ( 102895 )

          My biggest concern is that the Liberals and the NDP are going to split the vote and allow the Conservatives to capture enough seats to win the election.

          That is my fear too. Would be really disappointing to have Harper for one more term.

      • by rikkards ( 98006 )

        Yep, the MHP project is a big example of this. I am surprised Chretien didn't get jail time for it.

      • by epine ( 68316 )

        I was thinking I might read this book. Then I looked up the authors (you left out National Post columnist Andrew Coyne). I still might read this book, though a freshly Windexed critical lens.

        I only had to read a few of his pieces on supply management (which I know something about) to discover that Coyne has a few things clear in his head.

        Basically, he's a class act with the framing effect.

        I won't bore people with the gospel according to Daniel Kahneman. Instead we'll ignore the eminent literature and ju

        • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
          Rathgeber is the single author. Coyne merely wrote the forward. I read the rest of your post but I have to admit I didn't quite follow all of it.
      • by kbahey ( 102895 )

        The real problem in Canada is the consolation of power in the executive branch, specifically in the PM office.

        I fully agree with this.

        The Canadian system has the Prime Minister being the leader of the party with the most seats in parliament. The parliament is not only a legislature, but also an oversight body over the executive branch. But in our Canadian system, parliament can't be critical of the PM with him being the boss of the majority of the seats. Moreover, he appoints people to the Senate. This mean

        • The Prime Minister is technically the person most likely to command the confidence of the elected members of the House of Commons.

          *Usually* this is the leader of the party with the most seats, but not always.

          Totally agree that we need to rein in the power of the PMO, but that would require the members of the House of Commons to take back the power they've ceded to the office of the Prime Minister.

        • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
          According to Rathgeber, the problem is that the executive branch has grown too large. By his estimate, any member of a controlling political party has about a 1:2 chance of getting a cabinet appointment at some time in their career as long as they stay in their leaders good book. Cabinet positions, of course, offer more money, more prestige, and a big line item on your resume that greatly advances your career. This gives all MP's more incentive to tow party lines and suck up to their leader rather than repr
          • Another possible solution is to remove the perks of being a cabinet minister. You're supposed to be there serving your country; why do you need a raise? If the money is why you're there, then go back to the private sector.

            To be clear, this is separate from the budget needed for the department to do it's job - obviously the PM has some travel requirements that the typical MP doesn't. But I think every MP, regardless of position - government, opposition, leader, minister, backbencher - was hired to be a Membe

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Have you seen the polls? Everyone's pretty much tied at the moment. If this keeps up we may have the first time in history (I'm assuming, I haven't looked it up) where 3 parties all have nearly equal seats in the house.

        Regardless, Harper isn't the problem. He's a problem, but he's not the problem. I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Irresponsible Government" by Brent Rathgeber, who is a long standing elected member of the house that has recently resigned from the conservative party to run independen

    • in 29 days we're tossing Harper and his religious doomsday-cult Luddites into the dumpster of history.

      I hope.

      So you are going to replace Harper with either an angry socialist or someone who sucks up to anti-semetic muslim extremists?

      Why don't you go back to making lattes for your customers barrista?

      The NDP is a full member socialists international along with various communist parties around the world.

      Justin Trudeau cannot answer hard questions from reporters. He recently had an on air meltdown while being interviewed by CTV on the east coast.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What's the downside exactly?

    • I, for one, certainly can't imagine why having data might be useful when attempting to make decisions about what to do....
    • by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @01:22PM (#50561691)

      It seems like a good thing on the surface, except for the reasoning behind it. It's not about collecting/not collecting data, it's about de-funding those who don't vote conservative. It's classic right wing tactics, they funnel money to their supporters by doing things like creating laws that will be struck down by the courts and hiring pro-conservative lawyers to defend them, increased military spending, etc. Those law firms, soldiers, etc. then give back to the conservative party in votes/donations. Then on the de-funding side they slash left-wing programs like libraries, sciences, etc. so those who would support a left-wing party don't have the funds to donate to them. There's also the motto of "rule as badly as you can" which makes government seem incompetent/short sighted which propels their anti-big-government agenda.

      Also, unlike the US government, the Canadian government sells non-personal data it collects to businesses instead of giving it away. It's actually a fairly profitable revenue source for the government.

    • by ahodgson ( 74077 )

      Government losing data does seem more like a feature than a bug.

    • This isn't data like health or tax records - those they're keeping. It's things like fisheries data from the 1950s - what was caught where and when, which birds were living in northern Saskatchewan in 1985, etc... It's largely mundane data, but when researchers need to look for trends in trying to manage fishing quotas, being able to get that old data is invaluable.
  • by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @01:11PM (#50561631) Homepage

    I do no think it means what you think it means. In governmental terms, it means "give us unlimited money so that we don't have to prioritize among the thousands of special interests begging and scraping for more cash."

    In any other context it means that you are seriously lacking resources and have cut things to the bone. For you or me, it means we get rid of cable TV, the gym membership, take cheaper vacations, don't buy a new car, live in a smaller place, don't eat and drink out as often, etc.

    Governments have a much, much different approach: they begin by exacting revenge on the unwashed masses that dare not give them every dime their hearts desire. They find popular things (especially parks and libraries) and immediately begin the slashing there. This is, of course, utterly petulant - these items aren't even rounding errors in the budgets and no real savings are made. In the US, we call it "Washington Monument Syndrome" - popular tourist destinations like the Washington Monument are shut down during budget battles for basically no reason other than a giant political temper tantrum. There still is, of course, plenty of money (billions! trillions!) for new fighter planes that don't work and imprisoning people for owning certain plants and giving people and corporations lifetime welfare benefits, etc.,etc., etc.

    There is no "governmental austerity." Anybody who brings it up is playing Orwellian word games with you, and should have filthy socks shoved in their mouths (and possibly other body orifices) until they stop.

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @01:27PM (#50561713)

      Oldest trick in the book.

      1. Cut library funding out of the general budget
      2. Close the libraries saying that they are out of money
      3. Run a special millage for the libraries

      So your 'library millage' is actually a general fund millage that's been shifted around.

      It works for a while - it's been done so many times in the city I live in now that the libraries are completely funded by millage.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @02:20PM (#50562047)

        Different type of library. These are science libraries, things like all the fisheries research that us taxpayers have paid for over the last 125 years. They claim that citizens aren't using the libraries, which is true as they are targeted at fellow scientists and shut them down including dumping and burning all the years of research. The idea is to do away with the fisheries, which bring in $100s of millions of dollars as well as food in favour of selling raw bitumen. If there are no records of the salmon, it can't be argued that the bitumen spill hurt the salmon.
        The local libraries are not a Federal responsibility.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          1. Restrict access to the libraries and documents.
          2. Claim no one is using them.
          3. Burn the data.
          4. Profit??

        • Plus those scientists were just saying that the fisheries were being depleted. That you had to reduce the quotas in order to save them.

          I mean look how big those oceans are. There's got to be lots of fish in there. You can't just fish a species so much that it's numbers collapse.

          Again.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        What I find interesting is what's missing in the article. In Canada, libraries are provincial responsibility not a federal one.

    • by bledri ( 1283728 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @03:07PM (#50562337)

      I do no think it means what you think it means. In governmental terms, it means "give us unlimited money so that we don't have to prioritize among the thousands of special interests begging and scraping for more cash."

      In any other context it means that you are seriously lacking resources and have cut things to the bone. For you or me, it means we get rid of cable TV, the gym membership, take cheaper vacations, don't buy a new car, live in a smaller place, don't eat and drink out as often, etc.

      Governments have a much, much different approach: they begin by exacting revenge on the unwashed masses that dare not give them every dime ...

      There is no "governmental austerity." Anybody who brings it up is playing Orwellian word games with you, and should have filthy socks shoved in their mouths (and possibly other body orifices) until they stop.

      You are right that it's Orwellian, but wrong about how. This is not a tantrum against the masses, it's a tantrum against reality. The libraries in question are scientific libraries. Specifically libraries that contain environmental records related to pollution, biodiversity and climate. This is an attempt to continue the hamstringing of any science that shows the dark side of the so called free market. Intentional environmental ignorance is financial bliss for the oligarchy.

  • Canada has had its reputation torn asunder and its democratic principles trampled under this Harper Regime.

    How long does it take to un-break an egg? The damage runs deep and I'm not sure how we can undo the damage internally and on the international stage.

    Vote ABC (Anything But Conservative). And hope that this time the election fraud is minimal.

    Maybe the UN should have agents monitor the elections in Canada like they do in other stumbling democracies.

    • Vote ABC. I agree with this. I'm only worried that non-Con vote will be split between Mulcair and Trudeau, and we will end up with another Harper reign. With majority deciding the vote, it can happen. With that being said, I just can't comprehend why anyone would vote for Harper for the third bloody time. Even "old-stock Canadians :)".
  • The Ministry of Truth says you must use your Brother issued memory hole. Remember citizens:

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    Why would our Brother store knowledge and data? These things are unalways good for Brother. You know the old speaking: those who never learn history are doomed to... Um. Wow, kittens! My speakwrite told me yesterday that Oceania kills kittens, I like kittens, we must destroy Oceania!

    We must all be strong. Ignorance is strength. Big Brother is doubleplu
    • Canadian Government is not fool but there are lot of corruption and they have to get some strict action about these criminal which records burned by these criminals in dumpsters, government data and historical records being deleted. Canadian government have to lock them then they can be secure very well. There is a lot of technology to secure this kind of records. So, Check this for your records and anything else security : http://www.locksmithsinscottsd... [locksmiths...tsdale.com]
  • It works like this. First the right wing cuts the funding to a program the right wing doesn't like. Then when the funds are slashed so deeply that an agency or project does a lousy job that is used as an excuse to either eliminate the program completely or slash the budget even more as a punishment. The consequences are not even considered or even admitted. For example if you restrict Medicare or Medicaid a bit you cause deaths and disabilities and a lot of public expense due to emergency room admi
  • Pay no attention to the anti-conservative posters. Their hateful, spittle-flecked, diatribes are simply the result of never associating with anyone who might have a different philosophy, and a political viewpoint that is informed by the editorial pages of The Toronto Star. They so abhor Steven Harper that they completely blow even the slightest policy change out of all proportion, while jabbing their fingers in his direction and shouting “See! See! He's evil! He's a dictator! He's Hitler!”

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