Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cons ban staff from testifying at committees

Obviously Con political staffers couldn't continue to rely a fire alarm going off every time they were summoned to testify before a parliamentary committee, so on Tuesday morning Government House leader Jay Hill will announce a new policy in the House of Commons exempting them from ever appearing at all.
[Jay Hill, amiable defender of the Cons 2007 manual on disrupting committees, once "lavished praise on the committee chairs who caused disruptions and admonished those who prefer to lead through consensus".]
"The Conservative cabinet has decided to ban its political staffers from appearing as witnesses before committees ....
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, explained the new policy Sunday during an appearance on CTV’s Question Period.
“Ministers are the ones who are accountable and answer to Parliament,” said Mr. Soudas"
That would be the same Dimitri Soudas whose appearance before the House of Commons ethics committee was sadly pre-empted last Tuesday by a fire alarm bell going off just moments before he was due to testify about the government's crap handling of Access to Information requests.

Yes, it's only the ministers who are accountable to Parliament, but as Accidental Deliberations points out:
"The Cons' new policy is that all committee questions must be directed toward the lone group of people who can't be subpoenaed to testify."
Well, Steve has never been overly fond of either Parliament or its committees, has he?

We will of course still be hearing from government staffers through the Cons' new hasbara program for Facebook and message boards :

"The next time you post an opinion in an online forum or a Facebook group message board, don't be surprised if you get a rebuttal from a federal employee.

The government is looking for ways to monitor online chatter about political issues and correct what it perceives as misinformation.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has paid [Social Media Group] $75,000 "to monitor social activity and help identify ... areas where misinformation is being presented and repeated as fact," Simone MacAndrew, a department spokesperson, said in an email.

The firm alerts the government to questionable online comments and then employees in Foreign Affairs or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who have recently been trained in online posting, point the authors to information the government considers more accurate."

Foreign Affairs employees "recently trained in online posting ..."
Ho boy. Are they all gonna be called Bob from Burnaby or will we have to figure who the bots are for ourselves? Bot from Burnaby - coming soon to a Facebook page near you.
h/t Waterbaby by email


West End Bob said...

Why can't the Official - or the "non-Official," I don't give a rat's a_s - Opposition get their collective sh_t together and find a Leader that inspires the electorate?

If not, we're stuck with this crowd for a LONG time.

jeebuz . . . .

Anonymous said...

Harper bans all government activity except interparty braying in QP. Opposition leader nervously waits to hear if Harper considers it to be a confidence motion.

Iggy sabotaging the coalition was the worst possible response to Harper, the worst thing the Libs have ever done to Canada.

thwap said...

I guess the opposition doesn't think that democracy is a winning electoral issue.

Dave said...

Are the "employees" going to be taking on the Harper water-carriers?

Boris said...

What is it that we used to say about states where the government inserted political officers into the public sphere to ensure 'correct' thought?

Anonymous said...

Big Brother.
Usually easy to spot due to inability to avoid bureaucratese.
Have noticed a distinct uptick of the stuff in the comments at Macleans.



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