News Summary and Comment
There’s some good news and some bad news today. I’ll start with the bad news.
The Conservative government has appointed a former party operative as interim head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. The individual in question, Ian McPhail, is being decried as having no relevant experience and being an obvious patronage appointee. The Globe and Mail called it “one of the most cynical and discouraging appointments this government has made in the past four years”, and I have to agree. It’s also astonishingly stupid, as they should have predicted that it would be viewed in a negative light and reinforce a commonly held perception that this government puts partisanship above accountability and the public interest. Let’s hope they prove those people wrong when they quickly make a better, and more permanent, appointment.
The good news is that the government has agreed to pay Richard Colvin‘s legal fees as promised, and will reconvene the Parliamentary committee inquiring into the Afghan detainee controversy. Colvin’s testimony at that committee, you’ll recall, was what ignited the controversy – until then it had just been smouldering in the background. This undermines the argument that the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament to avoid more damaging testimony and evidence at the committee. A cynic, though, has suggested that there will probably be a spring election, which would kill the committee’s work in any event. We’ll see.
Back to bad news: disabled veterans are fighting the government over a disability payment scheme that effectively penalizes them for being unable to work. That such a scheme exists does not surprise me – government bureaucracies make stupid mistakes and are terrible at fixing the them even after they’ve been identified. What’s appalling is how the government is fighting tooth and nail. The sums of money are trivial in the big picture, it’s the ethical thing to do and it would be a “good news” story to make the Conservatives look compassionate. But someone, somewhere, decided that spending hundreds of thousands (and maybe millions) of taxpayers dollars fighting this is the best course of action. But that’s Ottawa for you.
In Quebec, a Liberal Party MNA is under scrutiny as an investigation by the Lobbyists Commissioner gets under way. The engineering firm BPR has 13 people facing investigation – including three who apparently didn’t register as lobbyists when they acting as such. Three more people are being investigated, and though the Commissioner won’t say who, people are fingering Jean D’Amour. D’Amour was cleared in another investigation by the province’s chief electoral officer last November. He hasn’t stepped down, despite calls to do so, and Premier Jean Charest is letting him stay in the caucus while the investigation proceeds.
There are other stories, which you can scan below. One is a letter from the U.S. accountability group Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to President Barack Obama. It praises the President for changes he has made so far, but calls for further improvements to whistleblower protection, transparency and accountability. It’s worth a read.
New RCMP Watchdog a Tory Activist; Causes Outcry
Former Conservative operative named new RCMP watchdog
Calgary Herald, January 25, 2010
Summary: The Harper government has appointed former Conservative organizer Ian McPhail as a new watchdog for the RCMP to muzzle criticism of the government’s public safety policies, said the Opposition Liberals on Monday.
New RCMP watchdog is toothless
Globe and Mail, January 27, 2010
Summary: Mr. McPhail’s new job as chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is one of the most cynical and discouraging appointments this government has made in the past four years. The only qualification that the man seems to have for the job is the past work that he has done for the Conservative Party. One of the most critical positions in the country has become a mean-nothing patronage appointment. (Column)
Watchdogs describe coming ‘under attack’ by Conservative government
Globe and Mail, January 26, 2010
Summary: A trio of recently fired watchdogs visited a prorogued Parliament today to complain that the Conservatives are “at war” with the government’s independent tribunals. Ignatieff promises to protect watchdog independence
Richard Colvin’s Legal Fees to be Paid by Government;
Afghan Detainee Hearings to Resume in March
Afghan whistleblower’s legal fees will be covered by Feds
The Star (Toronto), January 27, 2010
Summary: The federal government has relented and will pay the legal fees of diplomat Richard Colvin, who blew the whistle on possible Afghan prisoner abuse.
Afghan detainees hearings to resume in March
Canada.com, January 27, 2010
Summary: The government has opened the way for more formal hearings on the Afghan detainees affair, pledging Wednesday to reconvene the special Commons committee on Afghanistan when Parliament resumes in early March.
Disabled Veterans Seeking to Sue Federal Government
Disabled vets seeking to sue federal government
CTV, January 25, 2010
Summary: A group of disabled Canadian war veterans will head to the Supreme Court of Canada today to battle the very country they once served, in an effort to recoup payments they say were unfairly clawed back. (Includes media)
Quebec Liberal Under Investigation by Lobbying Commissioner
BPR under investigation for alleged lobbying law violations
The Gazette (Montreal). January 26, 2010
Summary: Justice Minister Kathleen Weil said Tuesday that Quebec’s director of prosecutions is looking into possible breaches of the lobbying law involving the engineering firm BPR.
Le député D’Amour pourrait être poursuivi
La Presse, January 27, 2010
Summary: Le député libéral Jean D’Amour pourrait être poursuivi si l’enquête du commissaire au lobbyisme démontre que la firme d’ingénierie BPR, dont il a été un représentant, a commis des dizaines d’infractions à la loi. viagra ativan cialis bula 5mg essay on mahatma gandhi and africa efek obat kuat cialis descriptive essay nature https://www.accap.org/storage/viagra-naturale-a-roma/28/ https://equalitymi.org/citrate/can-i-take-allergy-tablets-alongside-of-zithromax/29/ go https://ncappa.org/term/english-sample-paper-for-class-10-term-2/4/ abilify brain damage https://energy-analytics-institute.org/freefeatures/chapter-1-heart-of-darkness-summary-essay/56/ crestor is the most prescribed https://approachusa.org/reflective/antony-and-cleopatra-caesar-essay/25/ https://earthwiseradio.org/editing/conclusions-thesis/8/ go to site levitra generika forum https://www.lapressclub.org/hypothesis/essay-on-cigarette-smoking-in-public-places-should-be-banned/29/ cialis faelschung cheap critical analysis essay writer services for university https://heystamford.com/writing/essay-paper-writing-services/8/ my essay writer propecia success percentages source business plan editing services prednisone 10mg purchase follow reflection essay internship experience how fast does nexium work for heartburn life without friends will be boring essay foros donde comprar cialis https://equalitymi.org/citrate/glucophage-and-glucotrol-together/29/
B.C.’s Information and Privacy Watchdog Replaced
B.C. government appoints privacy watchdog to fill glaring gap
Times Colonist (Victoria), January 25, 2010
Summary: The B.C. government has appointed an acting privacy watchdog to ensure proper oversight remains in place. Paul Fraser, B.C.’s current Conflict of Interest Commissioner, will take the job as Information and Privacy Commissioner until a bi-partisan committee can name a new full-time replacement.
Privacy Commissioner Rejects Gun Registry Complaint
Privacy commissioner shoots down gun registry complaint
Canada.com, January 26, 2010
Summary: The RCMP did not violate the privacy rights of gun owners by giving their names, phones numbers and firearms information to a private pollster to conduct a survey about feelings on the controversial gun registry, says the federal privacy commissioner.
CFIA Slammed for Failing to Implement Reforms
Food inspection agency gets an ‘F’ for progress on reforms
Canada.com, January 27, 2010
Summary: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Wednesday received a failing grade from its own meat inspectors for not moving quickly enough on the “vast majority” of recommendations made six months ago to improve food safety.
N.L. Bureaucrat Pleads Guilty to Spending Scandal Charges
Lone bureaucrat charged in N.L. legislature spending scandal pleads guilty
Winnipeg Free Press, January 26, 2010
Summary: The only public servant charged in Newfoundland and Labrador’s political spending scandal has pleaded guilty to fraud and influence peddling. Bill Murray pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of influence peddling. Three other charges of fraud and breach of trust were withdrawn in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
U.S. Accountability Group POGO Calls for Continued Reforms
POGO Urges President to Enhance Oversight
POGO, January 26, 2010
Summary: “Your Administration has set many laudable goals to increase ethics and openness in the federal government, but reaching these goals can only be accomplished if you also make effective oversight – oversight that will hold your own Administration accountable – a priority…”