A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Silence is Deafening

As our hero Kevin Page is replaced as the Parliamentary Budget Officer by the Parliamentary Librarian 'temporarily' whilst a 'process' takes place to perhaps replace him with a less open and honest individual more amenable to the Harper Regimes obsession to control the message we learn that Librarian staff have been silenced.

Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada. Given the dangers, the code says the department’s staff must clear such “personal” activities with their managers in advance to ensure there are no conflicts or “other risks to LAC.”
The code, which stresses federal employees’ “duty of loyalty” to the “duly elected government,” also spells out how offenders can be reported.”

It even threatens those express a personal opinion on a limited access blog because it 'can, through no fault of the public servant, become public and the author identified.'

'”For example, in a blog with access limited to certain friends, personal opinions about a new departmental or Government of Canada program intended to be expressed to a limited audience can, through no fault of the public servant, become public and the author identified.”
The public servant could be subject to disciplinary measures, as the simple act of limiting access to the blog does not negate a public servant’s duty of loyalty to the elected government,” says the code. “Only authorized spokespersons can issue statements or make comments about LAC’s position on a given subject.”

We wonder if said employees are allowed to voice an opinion to their friends or family who can 'identify' the individual as a federal employee. Whats next, federal employees will be excluded from voting in an election because they might know too much about how this regime works?

For the most part these individuals are speaking at schools and conferences to speak about how government works and historical information collected by their department over the years, it would seem that this is in conflict with the rewriting of history that the current regime is undertaking. Remember that many of the government web sites are about to be disappeared and only selected information will be moved to the new 'master web site' where it will be easier to 'manage'!

Documents recently obtained under an access to information request that took TWO YEARS to process reveal just how far this regime will go to control the message and promote themselves on the taxpayers dime. Remember for the past several years all public events by any government department has to be vetted by a Message Event Proposal (MEP) submitted before the event to the PMO.

The event was an Oct. 17, 2011, news conference in Halifax to announce an agreement to transform Sable Island, a storied sand crescent 290 kilometres off Nova Scotia, into a national park reserve.
The deal had been meticulously negotiated by Parks Canada with the Nova Scotia government over the course of a year, and proud officials wanted a splashy announcement as a way to celebrate Parks Canada's 100th birthday in 2011.”
The planned agenda had an official delegation that included Kent, Dexter, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, a Nova Scotia MLA and three Parks Canada officials, including CEO Alan Latourelle and another acting as master of ceremonies.
A PCO note said to purge all three Parks Canada officials from the dais, and to find a politician to be the master of ceremonies. The original news release for the event had two paragraphs celebrating Parks Canada's centennial and noting a recent award won by the agency from the World Wildlife Fund.
All of this was purged from the final version, with no mention of Parks Canada except a reference to Kent as the minister responsible for the agency.”

Remember when Harper shut down parliament because it was 'dysfunctional'? I would suggest that it is now much more so but we do not hear him saying so now, he has his majority, he controls the message, our MPs are powerless, and our federal employes are silenced – all is exactly as he wants things. Even retired Conservative MP Inky Mark says democracy is no longer practised in Canada.

They say what they want to say and do what they want to do. After 13 years in Ottawa, that’s what I learned anyway,” Mark said. “Democracy is not as it appears. We go around the world bragging about teaching others to be democratic and we don’t even practise it at home.”

Our Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson is also concerned enough to suggest that “cabinet ministers should be required to publicly report any gifts over $30 because the current reporting threshold of $200 is too high, and accountability too low.
We have to have some kind of assurance to the public that our ministers and public office holders aren’t being bought,” Dawson told the ethics committee Monday afternoon.
We all know by now that our scientists who’s ranks have already been decimated by the closure of numerous research stations and programs have been threaten with withdrawal of funding if they do not play by the rules. Those rules include the requirement to have scientific papers vetted by the PMO before publication and include collaborating colleagues from other countries many of whom have already withdrawn from such arrangements because of this. Even pre-funded and in progress research has been shut down. We are being 'governed by a regime dedicated to removing access to ANY factual information from the public eye in favour of 'approved' newspeak totally controlled by the PMOs fully funded spin department. Look for MUCH more of the same as we close in on the next election date and the budget that will miraculously be balanced just before the election is called, the directive to use that incorrect and sickening term 'The H****r Government' on press releases has already been reinstated.!

It is appropriate that as Mr Page relinquishes his position of Parliamentary Budget Officer over to “the parliamentary librarian, who has—very nice person, smart lady—but no experience on a budget.” that I give him the last word on his view of the choices the Harper Regime will take in providing budgetary information in the future.

Well, I think there are two scenarios for the short and medium term, the next year or two. I think one scenario is somebody gets appointed with knowledge and experience and will continue to fight for the independence of the work of the office. As I’ve said before, we have at least three people in my office that can do that. If that scenario plays out, the office will continue to grow. “

On the other hand, if this office is being unwound as we speak—the fact that the process to replace me as parliamentary budget officer is just really starting and I’m out the door in a week.......... And we have a process to replace me that is completely secretive—can’t tell you their names, trust me it’s going to be fine—and then we find out there’s somebody from the Privy Council Office, which supports the executive not Parliament, actually on the selection committee”
Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

No comments: