Non-Con MPs are being treated like mushrooms…

…kept in the dark and fed crap.

According to the Budget watchdog Kevin Page, the ReformCons are not providing non-Con MPs with enough information with which make informed decisions.

When it is finally released, budget watchdog Kevin Page’s costing of one of the Conservative crime bills will suffer the same problem as his probes into First Nations schools and the war in Afghanistan — no hard data from the government.

MPs too can’t get data on stimulus spending, the impact of departmental freezes or the financial impact of legislation and other things.

“There has been a deterioration in the level of transparency over time that’s not good,” said Page. “It’s not like it happened all of sudden. It’s been a steady drift since the 1990s as we lost more and more, but we’re now living in difficult time when we need transparency.”

This is not new to the Cons, but they have made a bad situation even worse with their religious fervour for secrecy and the centralization of decision making.

The public service used to be the research and evaluation powerhouse for policymakers, but that has changed. The first blow came when the Mulroney government disbanded the Economic Council of Canada. In the 1990s, long- and medium-term policy research took a hit when the Chrétien Liberals hollowed out departmental evaluation and internal audit shops to help wipe out the deficit without cutting services. Then, as one long-time bureaucrat said, “came the Conservatives with their mania for secrecy and they cut off access.”

And this isn’t going to change anytime soon, I reckon…

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