'A culture of fear and a politics of division is taking over'

Alice Funke talks to Allan Gregg about his thoughts on Orwell and the Harper government.

Q. You didn’t mince words really last night. You were pretty hard on the Canadian government, and some other politicians like Jean Charest, Mitt Romney, and even Barack Obama. And it seems you’re gravely concerned about what you’re calling this “blatant attempt to obliterate the use of research and science in policy-making” and also to eliminate any evidence-based opposition to the government, and so …
A. It gets in the way of ideology, doesn’t it? Because as I said in the remarks, invariably, the evidence either supports or refutes the ideology, so at the end of the day, evidence and reason should rule. And people who want to advance an agenda irrespective of that, know that, so they have to kind of remove it. This has gone on for all of history.

Q. So, you says it’s gone on for all of history, so are things getting markedly worse, or is this only in Canada, or …
A. No, no, I think they got markedly better for a long, long time, especially since the period of the Enlightenment in the 16th century. And I think there is a remarkable progress that is undeniable. So I think you’re just seeing it in the last three decades, where you’re starting to see a culture of fear and a politics of division taking over, and I think it is reflective of a trend in the western world. Arguably the rest of the world arguably never got to the same point we did.

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