Ian Bron and Allan Cutler
Three years ago, we attended a conference of government administrators in Victoria, B.C. Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council and the most powerful bureaucrat in Canada, was a keynote speaker. Someone asked him what he considered the qualities of the ideal public servant. We expected an answer that included things like integrity, devotion to the public interest, competence, and non-partisanship. Instead, we were treated to his reminiscences of the flag debate in the 1960s.
This says much about the current state of leadership in the public service, how distant it is currently from golden age ideals and out of touch with modern public expectations. The latest federal government re-visioning exercise, Blueprint 2020, reinforces this reality. During Wouters’ recent testimony before a Parliamentary Committee, he patted himself on the back for doing such a fine job, arguing that there was no evidence of a morale problem in the public service. “I want to do a good job. I think I’m doing a good job,” he said.
Wouters is hardly neutral on the subject. However, is he really doing a good job? More broadly, are senior bureaucrats leading the public service well, and, by extension, the working in the public interest?… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on June 23, 2014
In a local Ottawa story that speaks to the state of universities across Canada, Allan Rock was recently reappointed for a second term as President of the University of Ottawa, despite the university being embroiled in one scandal after another since he assumed the position in 2008. This is a blow to accountability at the university and, given his administration’s actions, sends a clear message to dissenters. But at least it exposes the farce that is the appointment process.
For anyone unfamiliar with the controversies, here’s a list:
- The firing of tenured professor Denis Rancourt, in violation of the principles of academic freedom. Emails which the university fought to keep secret also showed that they employed a student to spy on him.
- The arrest and banning of student activists from the university.
- The nomination of the then-dean of Education as worst workplace bully in the university the university newspaper- she quietly moved on soon afterward.
- The debacle of the Anne Coulter visit, in which Rock pretended he wasn’t involved. Later emails showed that he was the driving force behind “discouraging” her visit.
- A multi-million dollar lawsuit involving three Saudi doctors who were discriminated against, which was exposed in emails leaked to the entire university administration.
… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on June 16, 2012