Friday, November 27, 2015

Evidence-based decision-making if necessary, but not necessarily evidence-based decision-making

For some years now, we have heard that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s edition of the Liberal Party of Canada favours evidence-based decision-making. Early evidence, however, warns us he intends to apply this principle selectively, if at all.

Take for example the election promise that the LPC would bring in 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees by December 31, 2015. Bravado? One-upmanship? Cynical electioneering? Only the Grits know for sure. What we do know was the promise could not have been based on evidence. At least, not on expert evidence.

The vote was hardly counted and most of the mainstream media were still giddy with joy  over the LPC’s victory when experts began to council caution. The December 31 date would not give enough time to do things right, they warned. Don’t worry, we were told. The Grits would keep their promise.

When Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and others asked for a more prudent timeframe, Justin Trudeau’s apologists—and especially Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne—virtually called them racists and bigots.

The new Liberal plan is for only 15,000 refugees to be government-sponsored, with the other 10,000 sponsored privately. Furthermore, only 10,000 refugees will come in before the end of December, and the remainder will be in Canada by the end of February. This still leaves 10,000 government-sponsored refugees to be accounted for. These, according to government sources will be brought to Canada before the end of 2016.

All told, the new plan is a far cry from the Liberals’ election promise. Perhaps PM Trudeau believed he needed to deceive voters so he could leave the other leaders—whose promises were far more realistic—“in the dust,” to use his words.

Other examples can be found of the Grits—despite proclaiming their fondness for evidence-based decision-making—showing they prefer evidence that supports their preconceived policies and official positions on issues.

A recent Andrew Coyne article in the National Post reminds us of the Liberal government’s proposed deficits that are to fight the recession we are supposed to be in, when we are really not in a recession at all. Or how about taxing the “rich” more so as to fight “growing inequality,” when the share of income going to the top one per cent has actually been falling for a decade. Then there’s the whole LPC-created myth about Canada’s stagnating middle-class incomes when, if fact, Canadian middle-class incomes have been rising steadily for two decades. PM Trudeau and his people must be watching too much U.S.-based television.

The general tone in Ottawa might very well have changed for the better, but substance? Well, not so much so.


  1. Or some of his advisors are American.

  2. Such was the muddying of refugee numbers during the campaign, it is nearly impossible to tell how the current Liberal plan differs substantially from what Minister Alexander and PM Harper were offering. If the proposed extra 15,000 are also delayed from the end of Feb, until later in 2016, as seems very likely, the two plans are very similar. This was noted yesterday by Terry Glavin, in the Ottawa Citizen he said (the CPC Plan) was
    "pretty well exactly what the Trudeau government now proposes as well"

    Michelle Rempel and other conservatives have tried to made this point, but they are running against a media narrative that considers this wholly a Liberal initiative, that PMSH had no viable plan worth mentioning..