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Liberals mourn the death of research

Posted by Ted Hsu on July 10, 2012 | No Comments

Ted Hsu

Liberal Science and Technology critic Ted Hsu joined hundreds of scientists on Parliament Hill today to promote a fact-and evidence-based approach to governing and to condemn the Conservative government’s hostile attitude towards science and research for the public good.

“To make sound decisions governments need sound data, yet this government prefers to create policy based on ideology that often directly contradicts research and evidence. It was Conservative ideology that motivated raising the retirement age on Canadians when data said that the Old Age Security was sustainable. Unless we can convince the Harper Conservatives that wilful ignorance is dangerous, their wrong-headed approach will undoubtedly hurt Canadians’ long term prosperity and quality of life.”

- Ted Hsu, Liberal Science and technology critic

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  1. Profile photo of Leila Paul Leila Paul said on

    Might this headline be a bit hyperbolic?

    Nonetheless, I’d like to see that stats rather than just the claim that the data speaks. Your comment is: data said that the Old Age Security was sustainable.

    Could you include the data, who gathered it, who funded the data collection and interpreted it?

    This change in the OAS does not affect me but I am curious to know the credibility of the data to which you refer.

    I find it hard to believe this statement is accurate as people live longer and with jobs and the economy unlikely to grow in the near future. The data would be interesting.

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  2. Profile photo of peter germain peter germain said on

    death is putting it mildly
    i would say it was first degree murder

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  3. Profile photo of Leila Paul Leila Paul said on

    Yes, Page is the one who revised his earlier estimate. It would be irresponsible to assume the more appealing figures are accurate when they’ve been revised by the same person who initially issued the warning that we could NOT ride out the wave. If it had been another, independent party analyzing the figures and coming up with a different conclusion the revision might offer more comfortable assurances.

    Further, the CBC story does not give any sources either or methodology and the CBC is a wasteful extravagance – although with all the right wing propagandistic medium this is one time in our history that I believe it is needed as a counterbalance.

    Back to the issue of OAS, Page uses the term “ride out the wave” which still suggests potential risks of going under. Have you ever been caught in an unexpected undertow and found yourself swamped by huge wave after wave? I was as a teenager and have since always learned never to assume that what is not immediately visible within my range.

    We do not know how the global economy will be affected in future by current events, nor do we know the growth rate of the population for none of those things can be predicted with certainty.

    Since the mandatory age of retirement has been removed, then it’s likely people will work longer by choice and with medical interventions people are living longer.

    Precautionary measures are wise and this measure is not extreme. Two years is not horrendous.

    Otherwise, measures should have been in place to ensure more caution about who is eligible for OAS. I think back to the insanity of Ruby Dhalla who proposed giving to any one after they claim they’ve lived here only a few years.

    This kind of thing is what hurt the Liberal brand and it may be that Conservatives are being cautious or they’re exploiting the outrage over Ruby Dhalla’s proposal – reminding voters of how Liberals are catering to their own interest group at the expense of the wider populace.

    I’d still like to see the hard facts on which these revisions are based.

    I should not have to google it. If Hsu is going to make statements he should provide evidence. His academic and professional background would have taught him that.

    Politics seems to obliterate one’s sense of providing evidence for extreme statements.

    Hype is easily recognized and will cast doubt on the rest of the message, the messenger and the party from which it emerges.

    Voters are tired of scare tactics and are looking for some realistic, evidence based statements. Still – projections are never certain. And in that context, precautionary measures are wise as we face a potentially deepening global economic storm.

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  4. Profile photo of Richard Richard said on

    These petitions, that groups or persons want you to sign. I have signed many. You never hear, what they did, if anything.
    All the ones I signed, changed nothing.
    Are they just “information ” gathering tools, instead of real statements of discontent to an issue.
    I wonder?

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    • Profile photo of Leila Paul Leila Paul said on

      For one thing, we know the government becomes aware of petitions and how many sign them.

      Petitions are a sort of public medium to replace the balance we no longer have in the news media. Petitions show that groups of seemingly disparate people share the same ideas and beliefs – the kinds that bind us as a people in our pursuit of the common good.

      Petitions are a peaceful expression of our opposition to a heavy-handed government actions whether it is Harper’s government or any other party in power in future.

      Even if Harper’s people remain disdainful of what is stated in petitions, these nonetheless help us as individuals know we are not alone in our beliefs that some things are either right or wrong.

      While I agree caution in public domestic expenditures is wise, it is unconscionable when these occur in the same time frames that this Harper government is spending massive amounts of money on F-35s without the consent of a majority of Canadians. Worse yet, these expenditures are being made without clarification of how the F-35s and other land-based military hardware is to be used.

      They may become expensive toys for our military. However, i have my suspicions that these will be used when Canada sends our young men and women to support an attack on Iran. I’m hoping my suspicions are wrong but I cannot see any other logical conclusion for spending untold billions on F-35s at a time when we’re told by the same ones spending this money that we have to save a few millions each year on OAS.

      We’re smart enough to see the contradictions and ask questions. And these petitions serve a purpose to declare our opposition.

      At minimum, these petitions tell other Canadians we need to be wary of what may lie ahead if we do not make it clear what we will accept and what we may seek to oppose through legitimate methods.

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    • Profile photo of André Brisebois André Brisebois said on

      Hi Rick,
      I’m glad you asked the question. Our petitions are important tools when we consider that in the current majority government situation, where not even all opposition MPs can stop Harper, citizens raising their voice through petitions and social media have helped stop or slow down bad legislation. Here are a few examples…

      In January, Bob Rae took the early response to our OAS petition (10K signatures) to the press as proof the public was against those cuts. Later, our petition against letting Harper read Canadians’ emails (35K signatures) helped put a nail in the coffin of Vic Toews’ privacy legislation.

      And don’t forget our “Hands off our reproductive rights” petition (108,000 signatures!) in response to the Woodworth motion. At the time there was no other petition that galvanized as many Canadians on this issue.

      Can we clearly measure the impact of every petition? No. So should we continue to give Canadians who care about an issue a way to express their opinion and spread the word to their friends? Yes. We believe we should.

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