Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Just Know Sir Humphrey Wrote This

If any of my readers has not watched Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister go order it now. If recession has tightened the pocketbook a little, watch some clips on Youtube.

This is a review of an Ottawa Citizen article. For the record this is not about the torture allegations or the Colvin case. It is simply about the incomparably stupid and dangerous ideology about the public service exhibited by some in the article.

The Harper government’s attack on a senior diplomat could be the final blow in the unravelling of Canada’s once-sacred tradition of an independent, non-partisan public service, warn experts.
Translation: Unless civil servants are allowed to do whatever they want to do (including attacking politicians) we will be undermining a "sacred" tradition. Call me a heretic and burn me at the stake but I thought the "sacred tradition" was that elected representatives keep the unelected government responsible, accountable, and under control.

“This (independent public service) is a cornerstone underpinning our institutions and if we don’t have a public service that speaks truth to power we might as well have everything run out of the Prime Minister’s Office.”
If I might be pardoned the expresion ROFLOL. If Colvin is speaking the truth in power, then shut up and let the man get on with the job because we will certainly never know if he is a righteous defender of the truth or a nasty little partisan troublemaker by just implicitly believing that every word he speaks is divinely inspired. From all I've heard (and I admit that I haven't been following very closely) Colvin has not been treated gently. What else did he expect? If he is a whistleblower uncovering government corruption did he expect to have the red carpet throw out for him? Does anyone like people who are blowing the whistle on them? Then again if he is falsely accusing the government of serious crimes he should likewise expect attack.

No public figure making public accusations is immune to criticism, investigation, attack, and rebuttal. To place anyone, regardless of their position or job, above this is to destroy a sacred institution called democracy. You can look the word up in a reputable dictionary if you need some help with interpretation.

“Let’s stop pretending the old rules still apply and we should be playing by the same rules when we have public servants not only being publicly attacked but turning their guns on each other. If that’s what we want then we will have an even more cautious public service that won’t take notes, keep records or speak out,” said Savoie.....

Gar Pardy, a retired Canadian diplomat, said public servants watching the Colvin saga unfold must be terrified that they could be the next one dragged into the national spotlight where their work is publicly dissected and savaged.

And such fears encourage public servants to destroy records to avoid such public grilling, Pardy said.

Translation: If you try to investigate us we will destroy all the evidence and hide everything possible. Therefore don't attack us or we'll make sure you can't.

Translation in Crime Speak: Fingerprint us and we will wear gloves

Translation in Leftist Legal Speak: Punishing people makes them angry. Angry people commit crimes. Therefore we shouldn't punish anybody for anything.

Translation in Mafia Speak: You come after us and we break your legs. Then you won't be able to come after us any more.

Translation in Human Rights Speak: We suffer severe trauma when investigated. It offends us. Therefore don't investigate us.

Translation in Pro-Choice Speak: Civil Servants have hard and intensely private decisions to make. If we don't make it safe and legal for them to make those decisions without interference they will break the law and put themselves in dangerous situations to cover up their original decisions.

Translation in Finance Speak: We are corrupt. If you investigate us we will commit more crimes. Therefore please ignore all jealous accusations such as "Ponzi Schemes" and "Insider Trading".

“The substance of what he said isn’t in dispute, it is the backlash and admonishment for giving his versions that’s the concern here. We shouldn’t go after public servants when they give their view of what they think happened. Whether or not it’s contradicted by other evidence is not the issue. He was just doing his job.”
"On the Big Rock Candy Mountain..." Backlash and admonishment sound about status quo for anyone making any controversial public claim. Look, I understand that sometimes the government can try to find a civil service scapegoat to cover for themselves. If you think that is what is happening talk about that. Don't use some wide brush to talk about how we shouldn't attack civil servants. Civil servants are the problem that democracy was created to solve, or at least contain. Let's not pretend that they are the Mother Teresas who are being brutally victimized by the evil politicians. If you want to be ruled by the civil servants move to a Communist country.

Colvin isn’t the only one to face the Conservative government’s public lashing.

There was Linda Keen, the former president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission who was fired after she insisted on keeping the Chalk River nuclear facility off-line because of safety concerns.

Marc Mayrand, the chief electoral officer, and William Corbett, elections commissioner, also faced similar attacks over their decisions.

Maybe (or maybe not) the government makes wrong decisions but at least they are accountable to voters. If the civil service makes wrong decisions they are only accountable to the politicians. If the politicians can't fire them for doing a bad (or perceived bad) job, what then?

Now if we could just add Jennifer Lynch to the list of civil servants who have felt the "Conservative government’s public lashing".....

Can you imagine a world where there would be no avenue to attempt to get rid of the Lynch and her cohorts?

Imagine no elections
It's easy if you try
No MPs to bug us
Above us only us
Imagine all the people
Living life our way

Imagine there's no inquests
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to call account for
And no activists too
Imagine all the people
Living in ignorance

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no one to fire us
I wonder if you can
No need for union meetings
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing to pay our wage

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one