It appears the lines between the government and civil service have been blurring since the Tories took office in 2006, but now we have truly reached the apex of the Tories politicization of bureaucracy.
Last week, the Twitterverse erupted with the sudden realization that Minister Julian Fantino utilized the Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) website to launch invective and vicious partisan attacks by publishing letters Fantino had written criticizing both Liberals and New Democrats.
According to his office as well as himself, the minister had no idea how partisan letters he authored ended up on his agencies website. On twitter, a staffer with Fantino’s office claimed someone at CIDA must have accidentally found, edited, hyperlinked, posted and later updated two separate partisan letters from the minister on CIDA’s website.
Of course, that is impossible. I certainly wish that my mistakes were that thorough, but ultimately, a decision was obviously made here, and the minister must bear responsibility
The letters – In typical Tory ministerial fashion – regurgitated some tried and true lines from the Prime Minister’s Office. Fantino even managed to fit in the imaginary “$21 billion NDP Carbon Tax” line in the second letter he ‘mistakenly’ posted to CIDA’s website.
It is upsetting to see a member of the government utilize public funds and resources to boast about their own policies and attack the opposition. Oh wait! This is only the most recent in a long line of the government inappropriately using public funds to support their own survival in governance. Last year, the government earmarked tens of millions of dollars for advertising their own “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” on national television.
It’s almost surprising that when citizens file tax returns they aren’t automatically reimbursed for a portion of their donation to the Conservative Party of Canada.
Joking aside, Mr. Fantino bears ultimate responsibility for this egregious lapse in judgement and has done little to correct it.
This has shown the public once again that whether you’re a hardcore Libertarian or a soft Social Democrat; this government doesn’t govern with the most basic respect for its electorate.
Surely, Tory backbenchers are keeping the ruling minister to account on this, right?
Nope. Once again while the government is laying siege to basic tenants of Canadian democracy, the Tory backbench has remained silent. The Harper Government’s attitude of treating stepping out of the party line with hostility, combined with a backbench that seems indifferent to keeping their government to account, are both primary causes of the slow erosion of Canadian democracy.
It is vital that Mr. Fantino and the Canadian government cease their inappropriate politicization of Canada’s civil service and own up to their innumerable affronts to our democracy.