I’ve never been a big fan of the Sunshine list. It isn’t really my cup of tea, and I have never once been bothered to actually look at, but Gurney’s argument against it is intolerably perverse. So perverse that it can essentially stand as proof that Canadian democracy is dead and buried.
Gurney’s chief complaint about the list is that it is an invasion of privacy. The killer line: “why should these people, or anyone else, have the right to know how much money a private citizen is making?”
This is what is baffling. These. are. not. private. citizens. They are public servants. Frankly, the salary of *every* public servant, from groundskeepers to university presidents should be a matter of public record. Because–drum roll– they are paid *PUBLIC* money.
I have no interest in knowing what my neighbour the carpenter makes, until I hire him to build a table. Then I’m very interested indeed. I don’t just write a blank cheque and then agree to never look at my bank statement ever again in order to respect his privacy. I am very interested in the rate that I pay people to do work for me.
And this is what I mean about our democracy being long dead and gone. It is now assumed that I am so alienated from these institutions that I could not possible have any interest in them. These must be completely private institutions that work only for themselves and have nothing to do with me. I’ll grant that in Ontario this is entirely true, but I’m surprised that the “Herp de derp derp. SMALLER GOVERNMENT LOWER TAXES! derp derp” brigade at the post thinks it’s a good thing.