Ig­no­rance is not bliss

The Compass - - POINT OF VIEW -

Stephen Harper’s the­sis at grad­u­ate school, would ex­plain Harper’s de­ter­mi­na­tion this way, ac­cord­ing to the Globe: “I would agree with this (Harper’s) cen­sus de­ci­sion from a lib­er­tar­ian point of view. Peo­ple like me look on this as the thin edge of the wedge, sort of ‘Big Brother’s around the corner,’ if you’re forc­ing peo­ple to re­veal knowl­edge even though the knowl­edge isn’t go­ing to be at­tached to them.”

Lib­er­tar­i­ans be­lieve that the best govern­ment is the least govern­ment pos­si­ble.

I don’t know about you, but when a politician seeks my vote say­ing, “vote for me and I will do as lit­tle as pos­si­ble,” I find my­self scratch­ing my head.

Ig­no­rance is not bliss. The more in­for­ma­tion a govern­ment has in their pos­ses­sion when for­mu­lat­ing pol­icy the bet­ter. That doesn’t guar­an­tee good pol­icy, but a lack of in­for­ma­tion pretty well guar­an­tees bad pol­icy.

That oc­curred to me again a few days ago when the Canada-New­found­land and Labrador Off­shore Petroleum Board re­leased an ex­pla­na­tion of how they would deal with a pos­si­ble spill at their drill site in the Or­phan Basin. It will be the deep­est off­shore oil well in Cana­dian his­tory. The BP well in the Gulf of Mex­ico is an en­tire kilo­me­tre shal­lower, and we all know what hap­pened there. Not sur­pris­ingly, the pub­lic wants as much de­tail as they can get about the pos­si­ble dan­ger on our doorstep.

Ap­par­ently, not sens­ing the pub­lic mood at all, the C-NLOPB blacked out the in­for­ma­tion about what di­rec­tion they cal­cu­lated any spilled oil might drift. To ini­tial ques­tions of why they’d done that, the C-NLOPB pleaded cor­po­rate se­crecy, their spokesper­son stat­ing that the pub­lic had no right to know, in­deed the fact that they were be­ing in­formed at all was a “priv­i­lege”.

Once she had opened her ears and re­moved the foot from her mouth, the spokesper­son re­leased the en­tire re­port with noth­ing blacked out. It only took two days.

We don’t need ei­ther cor­po­rate lead­ers or politi­cians telling us what is or is not ac­cept­able for us to know. It’s just de­lay­ing the in­evitable. Knowl­edge is power. What we need is a more, not less-in­formed pub­lic, with a sense of en­gage­ment and the power to make their voices heard in the so­ci­ety we all share.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.