Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guess who's back, back again...

I'm back! I'm back! What did I miss??? Well...

  • a re-vamping of the Leader of the Opposition's office, courtesy of one new Chief of Staff named Peter Donolo;

  • a continuing 8-10 point lead for the Conservatives, including a growing gap between Harper and Igantieff on the "who's the best leader" front; and

  • an attack on the public servant who has raised concerns with respect to the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan.

While the first two bullets seem to be pretty much par for the course these days, the third offers more for us to think about.

When we talk about whistleblowers, remember that this is a government who - while in Opposition - embraced whistleblowers as the political equivalent of a "voice crying out in the wilderness." They were going to tell us how things really worked in Ottawa.

Not surprisingly, that was then and this is now.

Case #1:

A public servant has raised concerns about how prisoners were treated in Afghanistan. His concerns were shared via email with all senior officials who should know, and a number whom he felt should be kept in the loop.

He raised important questions and in manner which appears to be impartial and well-intentioned. In other words, he did his job.

Now, we don't know if his allegations can be substantiated. They be true, they may not. All to say, they need to be investigated. So this is what the government promised, right?

No. What the government did was devote its resources towards attacking the motives behind and arguments in support of his allegation.

Case #2

My favourite, the ongoing challenges faced by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page.

You see, Mr. Page and his office were set up by the Conservatives to monitor government budgetary information. Essentially the equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office in the U.S.

The Conservatives promised a fully independent and resourced office, but what we have instead is an office which is being forced to pass around a tin cup in the hopes it can have the $ to do its job.

Some $ has flowed his way, although it is a far cry from what he has sought. As well, the information he has requested has been provided in a less-than-ideal manner.

I raise these two cases because they point to a wider issue; namely the focus by governments on the "now" and the need to block and bridge around issues, rather than face and deal with them. Going forward...

  • Mr. Colvin's charges need to be investigated, not attacked.
  • Mr. Page needs the resources to do his job; and
  • Canadians need to hold their leaders to account, particularly today when billions of taxpayers dollars are being spent, the environment is being attacked and our population is changing.

These are the types of actions we expect of our governments. From the Conservative's perspective, they need to realize that their handling of these types of issues are contributing to their failure to register with urban Canadians.

Are they up to the challenge?

1 comment:

  1. I am poltically drained and totally confused!!! But one thing I know for sure, our men and woman in uniform deserve to get the love more than ever...My best friend's husband is in Afghanistan for the 4th time, and he is feeling crappy, like he is a war criminal, plain evil! Even though he knows he was following orders, not a good thing to go after our military like that, they are there to make sure that they have the same live we do have, free to be able to make this post and to go dancing, and to vote...Colvin is a big sore point for them right now, and apparently he wasn't liked then and much less now!!

    All I know, is that all goverment are being absolute idiots right now and behaving like little kids...And some journalists are really blowing it, what are they are trying to do,win a pulitzer? Is not going to happen...I feel Harper has something under his sleeve because he is way too confident with this, I have a funny feeling is going to blow on everybodies faces but his!! (still he could be more forthcoming and nicer!)

    So cheers to our man and woman in uniform we are proud of you!!!


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