Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Red (Tape) Scare

EDIT/UPDATE, AUGUST 2012: BFK is actually a cool guy, with whom I disagree on a few big things but see eye-to-eye with on many big and small things. So stop calling him names in the comment section, okay?

I don't usually get into it with people on the Internet.
On Twitter, yesterday, I said:

So the gov't of Sask would rather take its cues from anti-tax lobbyists than the SK Supreme Court?

in reference to the Saskatchewan Party proclaiming "Red Tape Awareness Week" on the same day its Justice Minister said he would try to find a way around the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal's ruling that provincial marriage commissioners may not refuse service to gay and lesbian couples. Okay, Mr. Wall, we get it, you don't like unions of any kind.
This morning, I saw a little blue dot under the "mentions" heading on my Twitter homepage. A fellow named Brian F. Kelcey, who self-identifies on the the Internet as a "professional troublemaker" (I'm still listed as a Hobo-Detective on the Internet--I investigate the disappearances of pies from windowsills, my fee is one pie, no refunds if I discover that I myself am the perpetrator, I'm the best there is at what I do), has seen my Tweet and says he doesn't understand why I would connect the two events. After some back and forth in which Mr. Kelcey continues to claim to not understand why, in an election year no less, it's worth taking note of whose counsel the ruling party heeds, he tells me that he knows better than I do and I back the fuck off.
But I'm wondering, who is this guy and why did he respond to my Tweet in the first place? Does he have a Google-Alert set for "anti-tax lobbyists"? He might, considering that Manitoba's Hansard service records him as representing the Manitoba Taxpayers Federation in 1996. Further digging around shows that he also did PR work for the disastrous Harris Government in Ontario around the turn of the century. He also runs a blog called "State of the City" where his bio states he's a fan of "20th Century noir fiction", so he can't be all bad.
A closer look at my own Twitter algorithms show that the original Tweet was reTweeted by none other than the CFIB, who where the ones I was suggesting were too cozy with the Saskatchewan Party in the first place.
Is it Kelcey's job to hang around on Twitter all day waiting for someone to badmouth the CFIB and its initiatives like "Red Tape Awareness Week" (which, um, sounds like exactly the kind of bumfluff a real taxpayers' watchdog group would be watchdogging against)? Probably not, and I don't want to begrudge a guy or gal for earning a living, or defending his or her beliefs on the Internet.
But I have to wonder why someone with such strong ties to anti-tax, anti-union, anti-regulation lobby groups like the CFIB and Canadian Taxpayers Federation would devote so much effort to distance such entities from the weirdo, religious right that they helped put into power in Saskatchewan.

mp3: "Dance to the Beat of Moody" by ESG


palinode said...

That guy sounds like a prince among men.

That's code for "what a prick".

Amy said...

What a douche.

"I know better than you! Neener neener neener!"

Such a clever way to engage in debate about public policy. His tactic basically involves no thinking at all. Brilliant.

Brian said...

Dear Emmett:

Found this while looking for something else. Glad I did, since it gives me a chance to clear some things up:

1. You wrote: "he doesn't understand why I would connect the two events."

And I still don't get it. It's quite possible that support for red tape week was recommended by the bureaucracy, for example. More on that below...

2. "he tells me that he knows better than I do and I back the fuck off."

Twitter is a lousy forum to talk about anything. Still, if you'd read what I wrote instead of what you wished I'd written, you'd see that's not what I said at all.

I said that no one knows better than I do *that deregulation can have negative consequences.* I was agreeing with you. I did it as firmly as I could so you wouldn't keep talking to me as though I didn't get it. Crazy - to agree with you - I know.

My larger point wasn't that red tape reduction couldn't have risks. Of course it can. It was that it also had potential benefits. You refused to agree to that, but that didn't stop me from (firmly!) acknowledging your point.

3. "Is it Kelcey's job to hang around on Twitter all day waiting for someone to badmouth the CFIB and its initiatives like "Red Tape Awareness Week"

No. Is it your job to badmouth people on your blog even though you've never met them, based on wild assumptions about their motives?

I do think it's my job to constantly learn about people's different views, just as you thought it was your job to broadcast your disgusted view on an issue on Twitter. Surely we're both guilty.

4. "But I have to wonder why...would devote so much effort to distance such entities from the weirdo, religious right that they helped put into power in Saskatchewan."

Only because "red tape awareness" and opposition to gay marriage aren't linked - in Saskatchewan, or anywhere else.

In your blog post, you never mentioned the fact that I agreed with you - 100% - on the gay marriage issue. Ditto, it was wrong for the SK govt to ignore the court's ruling.

What's most germaine is that you also didn't mention my point that govts led by all 3 major parties have launched red tape campaigns, regardless of their positions on gay marriage.

One example: the Nova Scotia NDP brags about its success in... red tape reduction!


So am I to infer that the Nova Scotia NDP are somehow "captive to the anti-tax lobby" and ready to chop gay marriage next?

Here's the Sask govt, reporting on its red tape reduction initiative - which started in 1995.

Who was in power in 1995? Those famous religious conservatives, Roy Romanow's NDP! Were they, too, taking 'bad counsel?' Or is it only bad if it's a govt you don't like that takes it?

Paul Martin's Federal initiative: http://reducingpaperburden.gc.ca/eic/site/pbri-iafp.nsf/eng/h_sx00127.html

Or let's cross borders... the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act, courtesy a liberal Congress and “history's worst monster,” Jimmy Carter!


It's US successor, in 1995? Built on the work of noted archconservative, Al Gore.

Based on a monochromatic view of politics, one in which cutting paperwork and modernizing govt must be part of some far right agenda, these events aren't possible.

Yet, they happened!

Maybe it's easy for people who've never met me to call me a prick or a douche (or a prince!) based on your second-hand summary of what you wished I'd said. But consider an alternative: maybe people are sometimes more complicated than your partisan labels make them out to be. Just a thought.

- Brian Kelcey