22 November 2011

Twenty-one: Just the Facts

You'll never understand how little time a journalist might have to grasp the meaning of all of the facts behind a story and the impact that might have on the quality of the information you are receiving until the story is about something with which you are familiar.

This happened to me today when I got home from work and listened to a radio reporter explain the situation currently unfolding at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. It seems that the often-criticized appointments of adjudicators to the Refugee Determination Board (hey, no fact-checking on my part, just going with what was on the radio) will be no more. The positions are being transformed into professional public service jobs and it seems that a number of currently-serving adjudicators have taken and failed the exam designed to test their knowledge of the subject matter.

This is where the story goes off the rails for me. The reporter asserted that these positions are currently called Governors in Council.

There are a large number of positions that are designated as being appointed by the Governor in Council. This means that they are executive branch appointments (ie: the Prime Minister appoints them), or, in our antiquated constitutional monarchy, by the Governor General in consultation with the Privy Council.

So, no, those positions are not known as Governors in Council. This is pretty basic government structure stuff. Some people need to make a little more effort to understand their subject matter before they charge ahead with confidence to mislead us all.

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