A Canadian federal scientist observes, concerning the gag orders on communications from federal government scientists:
“It’s hard to fathom. It seems to be simply a control issue. You could sort of understand the rationale if you were potentially talking about a controversial subject and whoever is in government quite rightly has the right to make sure there are no critical statements about policy. But when you go to the extent of silencing just talking about facts, that just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Silencing just talking about facts”. The problem for the Harper government is that long term conservative supporters, such as me, are starting to think that there is truth in this accusation: that the control is not designed to prevent talking about global warming when it is not happening, or caribou declining in some federal park. These might be controversial. No, the view I get is that the control is for the sake of control. And people are tiring of the thuggish style. The horse will overthrow the rider, if enough of us come to think we are perceived by Team Tory as horses.
Tory voters are not less sensitive to the potential erosion of their rights; they are ready to trade potential claims upon the state for actual security, if they can believe that the government actually has a plan, and can execute that plan.
The tipping point for the Tory voter may come later than for those who are endemically opposed to a conservative government, but it does come, and it comes when enough of us conclude that the controls serve no useful purpose, and merely suppress scientific discourse for the sake of showing who is boss. Controls of scientists remind us of more of Jean Chretien than it does of the old Reform.