Marleau, now with less hair


The information commissioner, who had upset some observers with his apparent passivity in the early innings of the Harper government, appears to have exhausted his considerable supply of patience. In an interview with La Presse, Bob Marleau is seen to be “pulling his hair out” over the growing lack of transparency in Ottawa.

“…They’re taking more extensions, divulging less information, invoking more exemptions than they did in the past,” he says, in regard to a report he will table by May.

A watchdog can’t bite all the time, he says, but by now it’s clear “I’ll have to bark, at a minimum.”


Marleau, now with less hair

  1. Unsubtle contrast to the new prez down south:

    “Information will not be withheld just because I say so; it will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well-grounded in the Constitution. Let me say it as simply as I can: transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

  2. Harper talked an excellent game on access until soon after he became PM, and indeed one of his early moves was to extend the purview of the access commissioner to arm’s-length boards and commissions. As with our leader up here, who was new in 2006, the test of that new leader down there will be how he behaves over time.

    • Is there anything that can’t fit in the form: “Harper talked an excellent game on ______ until soon after he became PM”

    • He won’t have to go far to raise the standard that has been set. All he has to do is refrain from reprisals, say by outing secret agents whose husbands won’t agree to fudge the facts on WMD.

  3. Marleau has it wrong, hasn’t he? Steve’s a cat man. He needs to be thinking scratching post here, or cat-nip.

  4. the test of that new leader down there will be how he behaves over time.

    Undoubtedly he’ll shake off his glaring naivete and begin walking back on some of his principles. His grade on the test however, will be determined by whether or not he goes to extreme lengths–like far too many politicians do–in order to justify it or silence the critics.

  5. I suspect Harper’s support for transparency was based on a belief that the government and civil service were rotten with lying Liberals guarding secret sins that would reveal corruption from top to bottom. He was then shocked into authoritarian panic when it was discovered that it was just the usual…the morass of bureaucracy that is opaque at the best of times.

    I (like Marleau) would rather the government do something about simplifying the systems that manage the information (which is still burdened by IT professionals who know nothing about information), rather than continue this cat and mouse game.

    • This is an interesting idea ; that failing to find the plans for world domination that he was sure the libs had cleverly hidden somewhere he had second thoughts about cleaning out the stables. The reality is that like those guys in LOR he decided that rather than destroy the ring he’d use it himself. Well we know how that turned out. I can see him opening the secret chamber and chuckling [ evilly of course] “ha ha ha, that’s all it was. These guys were incompetents all along. Now i shall be king and all will worship me… ” better stop before i get one of those nasty letters from the copyright guys.

    • I don’t pretend to know why Harper has what seems to be a visceral hatred for the Liberals, but I in no way beleive that Harper has any belief whatsoever in openness and transparency. Openenss and accountability to him are nothing more than a means to an end – ie; ‘repeat those words enough during an election campaign and you will gain votes.’ Nothing more.

      • Harper doesn’t hate Liberals? Only Liberals hate Conservatives as they think they are all evil meanies and Conservatives just think Liberals and assorted left wing nuts are stupid … which generally turns out to be the case.

        • yeah whatever

        • Wayne, i’m sure you’re a mature, intelligent guy on yr good days. This doesn’t seem to be one of them.

        • Suppose Conservatives are actually a bunch of meanies. Would that justify our hate? Are we supposed to like meanies?

          I’m pretty sure I fit your category of assorted left wing nut. I’ll take that as a compliment as I don’t really want to be someone you approve of.

          If you had any idea of Liberal-NDP-animosity, you’d realize how much everyone who isn’t a conservative hates you guys if they’re playing nice with each other.

          • By the way, if one wants to make a convincing argument that others are stupid, grammar is important. But congratulations on trying to use punctuation.

            Correct grammar would be as follows:

            Only Liberals hate Conservatives, as they think they are all evil meanies, while Conservatives just think Liberals and assorted left wing nuts are stupid, which generally turns out to be the case.

            Although I’d probably break it into two sentences between “meanies ” and “Conservatives”, dropping the “while”. Alternatively, one could drop the while and replace the comma after “meanies” with a semicolon.

            Just trying to help. I’m sure we could have a nice polite adult conversation if you learn to write at an elementary school level.

          • If you had any idea of Liberal-NDP-animosity, you’d realize how much everyone who isn’t a conservative hates you guys if they’re playing nice with each other.

            Amen to that.

    • Ti-Guy – as one who has to mark these I/T professionals on how well the systems they design adher to the authorities that their respective legislation gives them – I can say – it is generally the I/T professionals who know enough to know how to simplify the systems – sadly – it the stakeholders (from DM’s on down) – Oh – AND those damnable politicians – who ignore the rules of law!

      • As the only web designer for the federal gov’t who actually got their part of the domain to conform with Treasury Board guidelines by the 2004 deadline, (anyone know why Treasury Board sets technical guidelines across departments? I think it was because nobody else wanted to & they filled the power vacuum.) I can assure you that the failure to communicate is definitely a group effort.

        Part of the problem was that the IT guys had the attitude that “I’m a programmer. HTML coding is beneath me.” attitude and wouldn’t listen to the TB guys (If they were really programmers they wouldn’t jave been in their jobs, but I suppose they took some classes in uni). DM’s generally aren’t good at listening to anyone below them — that’s why they have ADM’s. DM’s seem to just pass memos between the ministers & the ADM’s.

        I had a policy on simplifying my system — owners of the content had to justify why something had to be kept. Asking them what to get rid of didn’t work. The second way, they had to do work to get the results I needed them to get, while the first way, they had to do work to not get the results I wanted. Anything that didn’t get justified went into archives, so if someone really needed it I could put it back, but it turned out I had 18,000 of 20,000 pages that nobody really wanted any more.

        That was my prairie boy upbringing not letting little things like respect for unearned authority get in the way of doing my job, but I had an ADM from Newfoundland who wasn’t opposed to results once in a while.

        I’m not sure if Treasury Board technical guidelines really count as rule of law, although under Harper, it’s hard to say.

  6. It started a month in, when the cabnet started meeting in secret. Then it was the vetting of reporters’ questions. Now it’s just laziness and a determined stubbornnes to simply not play by the rules. But if you think Harper is bad, mayeb yuo should go out and cover the Premiers for a few months. Far, far worse.

    • There are cesspools of, well, cess, in every provincial capital, that the national media ought to start poking with very long sticks.

  7. The cult of hatred for Bush, and the memes taken as accepted fact (which memes themselves are born more out of ideological hatred than true facts),

    appears to be alive and well.

    Some thought it would dissipate following his departure from power, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Bush may play an important role in coming years:

    As Obama’s actions depart further and further from his rhetoric, which he bestowed upon himself almost godlike status (healing the world, bringing peace to all etc.),

    Bush’s legacy will have to be described in more and more horrific terms, as the Left is left with, not Obama’s excellence, but with some perverted sense of comfort in knowing that at least Obama isn’t as bad as the demons they have dreamt up.

    The extent of demonism will be in direct proportion to the extent Obama had been held in Saintly stature.

    Both will be useful tools for history to judge today’s left. Those tools and the recognition that the left tacitly supported the destruction of Israel in favor of radical death cults that used and abused the Palestinians from within for their radical destructive ideology, the left’s taking as their cause, the “horror” of three instances of waterboarding against avowed terrorists in order to save thousands of innocent lives, while completely ignoring the hundreds of thousands of true innocents that are held, tortured, starved and mass murdered by the most despicable regimes because those regimes earned the “right” to torture in silence from the left, the sole price of that tacit acceptance being an appropriate level of belligerance to the eeeevil Bush, the historical revisionism in which Saddam was altered from a monster who gassed Kurds, raped women, culturally anhialated the Marsh Arabs, systematically killed his political opponents and held and entire state in the grip of fear for decades while threatening and ramsacking his neighbors, into a merely misunderstood leader who was falsely and maliciously attacked by the malevolent true evil forces.

    History will indeed be harsh.

    I wonder how history will judge freeing and bringing democracy to over fifty million in the middle east?

    • See? I told you line breaks and punctuation would help. This is actually coherent.

      The Reagan administration gave considerable military aid to Saddam Hussain. I believe the justification was something along the “He may be a monster, but he’s our monster,” line.

  8. It’s amazing your words aren’t muffled Kody – considering they must be emanating from under a stretch of sand…or some other place you regularly place your head!

  9. My head must be in the sand.

    How else could I dare consider the thousands being held in Cuban detention centers, being tortured for wanting nothing more than freedom to express their views,

    more worthy of our collective efforts to ensure their “rights”,

    than the avowed terrorists being held in Guantanamo, who vow to kill every one of us, every day, because of what we believe in.

    Yes, MY head is in the sand.

    • What is it called when attempted irony is unintentionally ironic? There must be a rhetorical term for that . . .

      • Idiocy!