The Auditor General was on Power Play yesterday to talk about his recent examination of the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority, and how the lack of appointments to the board meant a lack of oversight for the CEO, who then abused his expenses. Michael Ferguson then went on to talk about the greater pattern of unfilled vacancies by this government (which will be the focus of one of his upcoming reports), and it’s a verifiable problem that this government has, in large part because as part of their reform of the system to ensure that more women and minorities were appointed, they changed to a system of seeking out nominees to having people apply for positions. For as much merit as ensuring more diversity among appointees has, the way they’ve handled it has been a gong show.
All of this is well and good to point out, but where I have a problem is where the AG suggests that if governments can’t fill these positions in a timely manner that we should consider a system where these boards have their own nomination committees to make their own appointments. This should raise a major alarm because it’s a sign of creeping technocracy and undermining accountability and responsible government. Government makes these appointments so that there is someone who can be held to account for them. Who is accountable if boards nominate their own members? How do we ensure that they don’t turn into cesspits of nepotism after we worked long and hard to ensure that we have taken patronage out of our current appointment systems?
Unfortunately, this is not a surprise with Ferguson, whose recommendations around an external audit committee for the Senate ignores the detrimental effect that this would have on Parliament’s ability to be self-governing. I do think it’s problematic that you have an officer of parliament who keeps advocating for greater technocracy and the undermining of our parliamentary democracy (and worse, that nobody in the media will dare to call him on it, because apparently we worship auditors general and believe that they can do no wrong). His observations about the problems around appointments are valid, don’t get me wrong. It’s his solutions that are untenable in the extreme.
- Andrew Scheer has agreed to have that confidential briefing on the Atwal Affair™, while PCO backed down and Daniel Jean will go before committee.
- Chrystia Freeland is expected to head to Washington DC later this week to talk with her counterparts about accelerating the NAFTA timeline.
- The Trump administration’s decision to roll back fuel efficiency standards leaves Canada in a bit of a bind as to whether to follow suit as the sector is integrated.
- Conservative MPs are launching a petition to pressure the government to fill more judicial vacancies, trotting out victims of crime to highlight the need.
- Television and film industry veteran Catherine Tait has been named as the new president of CBC.
- Bob Rae delivered his final report on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, saying there is plenty of blame to go around, and Canada should take a leadership role.
- There is some uncertainty among environmental lawyers as to what the intersectional gender analysis components of environmental assessments mean.
- Documents show that government officials requested guidance on dealing with an influx of refugee requests after Trudeau’s “welcome to Canada” tweet.
- The Auditor General has found more problems with the pension fund for reservists.
- The US-China tariff war could mean a bunch of American produce that was supposed to be bound for China could flood our market.
- After months of being “comfortable” not having a seat, now Jagmeet Singh is saying he’s open to running in Outremont when Thomas Mulcair resigns.
- Kady O’Malley’s Process Nerd column looks at what occupies MPs on weeks when the House of Commons isn’t sitting.
- Chris Selley warns that mocking Doug Ford’s lack of a grasp of facts won’t dent his credibility among the populist hordes.
- Martin Patriquin unloads on Catherine McKenna’s vacuous communications style when it comes to climate plans.
- Susan Delacourt wonders why we’re not getting more worked up by the news that Russians were trying to interfere with Canadian democracy.
- My column looks at the government’s inability to communicate being dismissed as arrogance despite the merits of their programs (and our punditry doesn’t help).
Odds and ends:
The National Post looks into the correspondence that Justin Trudeau gets inviting him to events like birthday parties, weddings, and anniversaries.
The Senate has secured one of the benches from the former train station that will house the temporary chamber, and it will return to the lobby it used to reside in.
Remember, the new CBC president is Catherine Tait, not Catherine Tate. https://t.co/5gLzhGg9xi
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) April 3, 2018
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