The most problematic recent incident came in the stark difference between Vic Toews' public stance on minimum sentences, and the advice Toews actually received:
The new Conservative government, within days of taking office, was warned by senior federal bureaucrats a central election pledge to impose new automatic prison terms won't deter crime nor protect the public, internal documents obtained by CanWest News Service reveal...In other words, rather than dealing with the evidence actually presented to him, Toews either didn't even bother reading what his department provided him, or publicly lied and pretended it didn't exist. But whether the problem was one of complete incuriosity or simply a poor excuse for a cover-up, it's bound to make Toews all the less believable in the future.
"Research into the effectiveness of mandatory minimum sentences has established that they do not have any obvious special deterrent or educative effect and are no more effective than less serious sanctions in preventing crime," said the briefing book...
Toews, in introducing the legislation in May, publicly denounced claims minimum sentences do not deter crime.
"I'd like to see some of these statistics to say it doesn't work," he said. "People repeat statements that just aren't accurate. Mandatory minimum prison sentences, in fact, do work. All all (sic) the evidence in fact suggests that they mean a significant reduction in crime."
Tony Clement's apparent response was only marginally better upon receipt of a study by the government's wait-times adviser pointing out the obvious fact that a myopic focus on a few "guaranteed" medical procedures could undermine the broader health care system. The department chose to make the study public, but apparently with the intent of hiding it as best possible:
In his final report released Friday, Postl says wait-time benchmarks should be developed across the board, not just in five areas named by first ministers in the 2004 health accord - joint replacement, cardiac care, cancer, sight restoration and diagnostic imaging...Toss in Rona Ambrose's complete disregard for her department's advice regarding since-terminated emissions-reductions programs, the Harper/O'Connor choice to impose a no-media policy against the wishes of the Department of National Defence, and the Cons' ignorance of the advice of counsel to the House of Commons on the constitutionality of the Accountability Act, and there can be little doubt that the bulk of the Cons' current direction (including the majority of party's current "priorities") is based on nothing more than wilful ignorance of what the government's most knowledgeable advisors have had to say. And whatever one's ideology, it can't be anything but a bad sign when a government ascribes absolutely no value to any input which doesn't fit its worldview.
"The fear is, and the danger is, that the five conditions that figured prominently in the (first ministers') agreements will starve out all other for attention, resources and technology. It is not appropriate for our health care systems to be so focused on limited areas that we neglect others."
Postl suggests the system is not ready to deliver "care guarantees." Those guarantees would fund costs for patients to travel to another province or abroad if they can't get timely care at home. Care guarantees are one of the Conservatives' major election promises...
The report was released late Friday before a long weekend, the traditional timing for release of information that governments do not wish to highlight.
(For those with more examples to include, please feel free to add a comment.)