COLUMN: Government honesty hard to find

by Darrell Greer- April 26, 2018

It’s a dangerous, deadly drug and it’s all ready in communities near you.

Busts for fentanyl and heavily-cut, large amounts of cocaine have all ready taken place in Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

Believe it: the idea of it being the problem of others in communities far, far away is beginning to crumble into a dusty powder of wishful thinking not unlike the deadly pills taking lives in so many towns and cities across Canada.

And if things keep progressing the way they have been, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the Kivalliq’s problem too.

While a large amount of the deadly drug is coming to our country from China, our own Health Canada – in its seemingly never-ending efforts to take granny statesmanship to levels never before seen in this country – helped create the demand for fentanyl by declaring war on all opioid use to the point where prescriptions (some locales allow the pharmacist to write them) were necessary even for the long available over-the-counter concoction of acetaminophen with codeine phosphate.

In effect, by chasing its dream – and it is nothing but a dream – of a perfect society where no one takes any type of illegal substance, Health Canada has done more harm than good in its efforts to remove a significant portion of lower-end codeine ‘products’ from the street that were not the cause of the problems to begin with.

And as Health Canada promoted the illusion it was doing so much to turn the tide in the opioid battle, it was, in reality, unwittingly increasing demand for another drug to take their place and opening the door for fentanyl… and the death toll continues to mount!

Although skewing the numbers to show a positive affect for useless initiatives is nothing new for government agencies, having government sermons passed on uncontested by the media – if the public’s distaste for the subject matter is in vogue – certainly is.

The Government of Nunavut (GN) recently crowed that the new tobacco tax it levied this past year has paid immediate dividends, as sales of tobacco products are down across the territory.

Most media outlets passed on the sermon practically verbatim, with no one bothering to ask pesky questions such as what methodology the GN is using to eliminate the notion that an increased number of Nunavummiut were simply ordering their tobacco products online and having them shipped via Canada Post.

Heck, no one even bothered to check the GN’s math in claiming that despite rapidly decreasing numbers of people purchasing tobacco products in Nunavut, the GN still managed to rake-in an extra $3 million in revenue because of the tax.

It never ceases to amaze me how in vogue misleading the public has become with governments. And, despite the rise and fall of governments and politicians at every level – including, yes, the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the actions of a certain former mayor of Toronto – no one seems to look to restore truth, honesty, openness and accountability as the cornerstones to good governance.

And the public continues to allow the wheels of deception to spin merrily along.

Reducing opioid and tobacco use may be noble initiatives, but their luster fades rapidly when surrounded with so much, dare I say it, fake news.

I’ve written it before and I’ll continue to write it until the day comes when my fingers can no longer grip the pen or tap the keys – if they’ve become so comfortable with misleading the public with information they initiate, how much truth do they tell when it’s a topic they’re not keen to discuss?

It is no wonder the public’s faith in government and the media are at an all-time low. But, then again, if the public keeps buying it, why would they stop dishing it?

And around and around we shall continue to go!

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