29 November 2011

Thirty: Own It

It probably won't come as a surprise to any of my readers that I don't tend to agree with the views or the priorities of the current federal government. Sometimes I wonder if we even come from the same planet. I do recognize, however, that our political system works in such a way that they are in control of certain things in their jurisdiction and we who disagree can work to ensure that they play within the rules and that our own opinions are heard as loudly and clearly as possible, but at the end of the day, they get to make the decision.

We had the comfort of a minority government for a number of years, where dissent could serve to influence one or more of the players in such a way as to bring things around to a more tolerable result. That is gone. That is not the subject of my rant: as a respecter of the democratic process, I get it, even if I and many others want changes to the current system that might make things a little more fair in the end. (Proportional representations, change in the voting system to ensure the winner has majority support.)

No, this rant is about acting openly and above-board. It's about owning your decisions and stepping up to defend them.

If you were in Canada prior to the last election and not hiding under a rock, you will be familiar with the scandal involving International Development Minister Bev Oda and the funding application of Kairos, a faith-based international development agency. The group's funding had been through all the usual reviews and had been signed off on by two of the top public employees in the file. When it arrived at the minister's desk, however, she decided to veto it in a most clumsy fashion, inserting a handwritten "not" into the sentence regarding project approval, leaving the impression that this was the point of view of all three individuals who had signed the letter.

Now, she would have the power to veto the funding of a group, albeit within a recognized process of application review and recommendation. She might also, having determined within the rules that her department did not want to fund the group, had the letter re-written to reflect the negative decision. She didn't do that. She inserted her sloppy handwritten "not" and then tried to blame that on someone else, too.

Cowardly, and unfortunately not the only example of how this government, even in its majority status, hides behind rhetoric, half-truths and diversionary tactics instead of standing up and owning the decisions it makes.

No comments: