All posts tagged Kevin Page

Please Put Us Out Of Business

Kevin Page, Canada’s former Parliamentary Budget Officer, has a new book being launched today.   In Unaccountable – Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill, he describes his clashes with the Conservative Government and has some very sage advice for our Public Service.   As I read an except of the book in the Saturday newspaper I couldn’t help thinking that in Page’s world organizations like Canadians for Accountability would not need to exist… and that would be a good thing.

Page talks about the Public Trust and public servants acting in a system that can bear even the closest public scrutiny, “an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law”.

Page is saying without using the words that the public service is just that… a public service … and not a political service.  The code of the public service includes the words: competence, excellence, efficiency, objectivity and impartiality. These are words to live and work by!

I am sure I speak for the rest of the Board of C4A when I say: “Please put us out of business.”

Bruce Ricketts, President, Canadians for Accountability

 … Read the rest

Harper’s Man Friday

Ian Bron and Allan Cutler

Last week, the government announced that Stephen Harper had appointed a new Integrity Commissioner, Joe Friday, who has been with the office since 2008 and was the last Commissioner’s Deputy. This was not a surprise to us, but it is a disappointment. It is also a slap in the face of conscientious public servants looking for a safe place to report misconduct. They, as well as the Canadian public have a right to expect an aggressive, thorough, and competent Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (OPSIC).

Friday served under both previous Commissioners, Christiane Ouimet and Mario Dion. Ouimet’s tenure was an unmitigated disaster. Just three and a half years into her tenure, she resigned in the face of a damning report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) that concluded she had been engaging in the very kinds of acts she was supposed to be preventing – harassment and reprisals against staff believed to be speaking out about abuse and mismanagement in her office. She left with her pension intact and a $500,000 lump sum. When called before Committee in 2010, Friday denied seeing anything wrong: “Madame Ouimet was carrying that out in her role as commissioner, which would be appropriate.… Read the rest

Has the federal government’s ethics program failed?

As 2013 comes to a close, it is  time to take stock of the state of the federal government. It  has been a year of years, with the Senate Scandal dominating. It wasn’t the only story involving dodgy ethics, either. Former Justice Canada lawyer Edgar Schmidt was pushed out of the Department for challenging a policy which lets the Conservative government propose any law unless a legal analysis shows a 95% chance that it will be ruled unconstitutional. Sylvie Therrien was fired for speaking out against an unethical government policy in which EI auditors were given quotas (see our earlier post on this).  There are more, simmering below the surface, either pushed aside by bigger stories.   or they have  become so routine that the media barely notices them anymore.

For those of us at Canadians for Accountability, this is a serious issue that goes beyond mere occasional scandal. Is the government ethics program a failure?

When unethical behaviour is unchecked – and even rewarded, for example with promotions – administrative evil is the result. Canada has seen its share in residential schools and eugenics programs (which Alberta had until 1972).

Fighting this tendency is a challenge as old as government.… Read the rest