Some thoughts on Information and Public Policy
"Public servants have an easier time finding the public interest when we light the way with public exposure. - Moi"
"Torture the data long enough and it will do your bidding" - paraphrasing Kaiser Bengali
"Governments use, the weapon of quantity as often as the weapon of retention
in order to sell their point of view. Factual attacks from the outside can be
neutralized by a volley of governmental facts." - John Ralston Saul
"Nationally, the parties have become little more than advertising machines, competing for public
support by much the same techniques of imagery as businesses with almost identical products use to
compete for market share of detergents or banking services or whatever." - Tom Kent
Things that could be done
This is a list of various flaws, problems, screw-ups in the design of support programs which
could be corrected. The list is selective to appeal to a broad range of political view points.
St. Christopher House Report
This report concerns my work as a
"policy fellow" at St. Christopher House
during the fall of 2000.
Policy wonk meets real Canadians!!!
Social Conditions & Human Rights
This is copy of a report I wrote for the
Review Panel on the Canadian Human
Tax Policy & Income Tested Benefits
Dealing with GIS take-up and retroactivity, maternity benefits and those seniors
who contribute to RRSPs and get no benefit.
Letters to the editor and op-eds that I
have written on these issues.
The Debate over Poverty Lines
Mostly letters to the editor and op-eds
that I have written on the poverty lines
The National Child Tax Benefit
Information about the Child Tax Benefit
Changes Proposed in the 1997 Federal
Public Administration and/or Public Purpose
At its best public institutions serve some vague notion of 'public interest'.
In practice, political and administrative interests, interfer with and sometimes
suppress the public interest.
In practice public policy is developed by a professional elite "on behalf
of" or "for" vulnerable populations. Official Ottawa has little understanding and
some suspicion of populations they appear to be assisting.
Honesty in Government Documents - Marketing Public Policy
Various documents and statements by
governments which are clearly intended
to mislead Canadians. If a department
store selling appliances made the type
of misleading statements like governments it would be criminal fraud. If an
accountant knowingly misleads stockholders in the financial statements of a
company, he or she violates the ethics of
When politicians or government officials
mislead the is no one you can complain
to. There is no code of ethics about misleading Canadians; indeed, this practice
is considered standard procedure.
Federal Programs you should be aware of:
The GIS Story
How 300,000 low-income seniors got $500 million… will they get their retroactive payments?
Current programs do not deal well with many seniors. Many lose out on benefits because
they are unaware of them. When some of them eventually apply for those benefits, current
legislation often limits retroactive benefits to 11 months.
These stories illustrate the problems.
Retirement Planning for the "Rest of Us"
For now a web-site - Spring 2007 a BOOK.
This series of web-sites gives retirement planning advice appropriate to those of
us not lucky enough to have employer pension plans (the "Rest of Us").
The web-site includes advice for the "Rest of Us" on early CPP - take it - and RRSPs
- cash out before you turn 65.