Cheers & Jeers

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Cheers: to watchdogs. His appointment may be about to end, but parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page is still doing yeoman work for taxpayers — and is probably more despised than ever by the Tories who appointed him. His latest salvo? Analysis showing that, despite Tory promises to the contrary, the latest federal spending restraint is cutting front-line services, while internal services — communications, information technology, human resources and financial management — continue to grow. That is, of course, the complete opposite of the way federal Treasury Board President Tony Clement said the cuts would work when he promised any cuts wouldn’t affect public services. Is it any wonder Page thinks he won’t be rehired anywhere in the federal government when his five-year appointment ends? Watch for the next appointment to the critically important oversight job to be someone Conservative-friendly who won’t rock the boat.


Jeers: to patronage. And while we’re talking about appointments to critical oversight positions, isn’t it just jim-dandy that the provincial government decided the absolutely best person to be the newest provincial representative and vice-chair of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) is Tory adviser (and former premier Danny Williams’ brother) Ed Williams? Cue all the usual “we can’t rule out qualified candidates just because they share our political stripe” tripe — the fact is, it is becoming abundantly clear that political stripe is the qualification that’s considered above all else. Williams’ six-year appointment pays between $171,100 and $201,200 a year — meaning the appointment will be worth between $1,026,600 and $1,207,200 in total. Not a bad little sinecure — maybe we could just call it “winning Lotto-CNLOPB.” Asked about the appointment, provincial Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall said Williams was a “highly qualified individual” but could not give any specific examples of Williams’ relevant experience.


Jeers: to shooting messengers. Still talking about watchdogs, there’s the fascinating federal case of Edgar Schmidt. Schmidt works for the federal Justice Department, and for the last 10 years, he’s been telling his overseers that they are breaking federal law when they don’t fully consider if new laws violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Schmidt says Justice lawyers have been told to keep quiet even when laws have a 95 per cent chance of being struck down — even though the law says the federal justice minister must alert Parliament when laws are potentially in violation of the Charter. Schmidt took the government to court and was immediately suspended for violating a confidentiality agreement. The judge hearing Schmidt’s case, Simon Noel, didn’t like that much. “The day after the filing of this statement (by Mr. Schmidt), bang: ‘You’re suspended,’” Noel was quoted as saying in the Toronto Star. “It’s unbelievable. … (The government) has done everything it can to kill this thing. The court doesn’t like that. … We see that in different countries and we don’t like it. … Canada is still a democracy.” Yep, we’re a democracy all right — until self-serving governments brazenly fill all their appointments — including judgeships —with politically like-minded “highly qualified individuals.” And if we don’t pay attention every time, they’ll believe they have a licence to keep doing it.

Organizations: Treasury Board, Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board, CNLOPB Justice Department Canadian Charter Rights

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • WHO is going to do something about the Corruption talkled about in CBC's Documentary aired last evening titled "Arthur Porter's Way?
    January 29, 2013 - 08:11

    Eli your comment is 100% Spot On. Eli stated "the only democratic government these watchdogs are working for is themselves" and he said "if you think otherwise you're out to lunch". Nobody could have stated it any better Eli, please keep up the good work. By the way Eli did you or any others reading this commentary today watch the documentary on CBC National last evening titled "Arthur Porter's Way", most of the watchdogs who monitor the World's resources were mentioned and involved in the dealings talked about in that documentary. It is nothing short of shocking to have watched that documentary and to see who was involved. If we follow that documentary and charge those involved it would be a great step to weeding out the corruption that exists in the World. We know what is going on so why aren't the genuine watchdogs from the countries mentioned not doing anything about it?. What was mentioned in that documentary was One Hundred Per Cent (100%) COOORUUUPTION , I hope I stressed that word enough and WHOOO in the Hell is going to do something about it before everybody sinks to the bottom of the cess-pool these government leaders have created? Hasn't anybody noticed yet that the Middle Class has been extinguished from the World we deal in???? I seriously doubt we are going to be able to pull out of this very serious situation without everything CRASHING!!!!

    • Eli
      January 30, 2013 - 16:54

      Yeah, I saw it. When all was said & done I couldn've thrown up.

  • david
    January 28, 2013 - 16:02

    Not only DID we indeed all just fall off the turnip truck....we don't even yet realize we're a crowd of turnips.

  • MUN Student Mike
    January 28, 2013 - 12:03

    The patronage goes well beyond the DM jobs, it goes all the way down to unpaid student internships in departments. Doesn't matter how good your marks are or how much prior experience you possess, if you're not with the PC's or married to one, you will never get a government internship. In my faculty it is common knowledge who these undeserving people are.

    • Get Used To It
      January 28, 2013 - 12:26

      and Mike...all the plum paid student workterms will be appointees and family members; then, once they are graduated, it's a life-long cycle of who you know and not what you know that will dictate advancement.

  • Deputy Minister
    January 28, 2013 - 09:52

    Just look at some of the titles and job descriptions of some Deputy Ministers: DM for the Premier's Office, DM for the Volunteer Sector and now DM for Population Growth. And in your spare time, run province-wide Progressive Conservative election campaigns. It is odious. Yet, these appointments are made when citizens and public servants are told to tighten the belt.

  • Little Man Dan
    January 28, 2013 - 09:27

    I'm appalled that anyone would suggest that my brother's appointment to the Board was patronage; not at all. Now if The Princess had to get approved, now that would be a patronage appointment. I'd like to dismiss the adage that its not what you know, but who you know; they were the two most qualified persons I could think of; er, know; er....

  • saelcove
    January 28, 2013 - 09:05

    The word democracy is just that a word nothing else

  • Wild rose
    January 28, 2013 - 08:39

    These socalled watchdogs should learn that they are supposed to be working for democratically elected governments not agains them. How much of our tax dollars are they getting paid. They should be paid by the socialist ndp.

    • Eli
      January 28, 2013 - 16:05

      The only democratically "government" these watcdhdogs are working for is themselves. If you think otherwise you're out to lunch.

  • Stop Asking Questions
    January 28, 2013 - 07:46

    Just leave it; there were only 2 people qualified to fill the vice-chair position on Da Board; me little princess and me brudder; no-one else came close.