Pretend you’re a backbencher


There is apparently some consternation around an internal memo sent to Parks Canada employees.

Parks Canada employees across the country have received letters warning they’re not allowed to criticize the agency or the federal government. The directive comes as the agency cuts hundreds of jobs or curtails work hours. “I am aware that during this time of significant transition, the concept of loyalty can have a very particular meaning. However, as employees of the public sector, our duty is to support the elected government,” employees were told.

The NDP’s Annick Papillon was rather critical in her questioning of the government’s about this during QP this morning.

Annick Papillon: Monsieur le Président, après avoir imposé l’obligation de loyauté aux employés de Parcs Canada, voilà que les conservateurs ont adapté le maccarthysme à leur image, afin de punir la dissidence. La chef du service du patrimoine du Centre de services de Parcs Canada à Québec a été renvoyée chez elle la semaine dernière, après 30 ans de loyaux services. Sa seule faute aura été de critiquer, à l’interne, l’impact des coupures de postes dans le secteur régional. Les conservateurs punissent les gens pour délit d’opinion maintenant. Réalisent-ils à quel point leur amour pour la pensée unique va trop loin?

Michelle Rempel: Mr. Speaker, I, too, have had the privilege of working with some of our dedicated Parks Canada staff across this country, especially those in the Rocky Mountain National Park area. I know personally we have a very close, productive working relationship with these hard-working staff who understand how to protect our natural heritage. There are ways that they work with us to ensure that we continue to invest in these great programs. Certainly that is the working relationship that we have. However, I think it is right to say it is entirely reasonable for Parks Canada staff to work toward protecting our great national heritage, including visitor experiences for visitors, and not on partisan politics.

Annick Papillon: Monsieur le Président, la liberté d’expression, ça vous dit quelque chose? Tous ceux qui critiquent les conservateurs sont coupables de crime de lèse-majesté. Franchement! Les conservateurs veulent imposer une loi budgétaire bâclée qui coupes des emplois et s’attaque aux régions. C’est normal que les gens critiquent ce qui se passe. Pour contrer la dissidence, les conservateurs créent un climat de terreur chez les employés fédéraux et licencient sur-le-champ ceux qui ne boivent pas le Kool-Aid conservateur. Ce genre d’intimidation idéologique est inacceptable. C’est ça, la réaction des conservateurs: envoyer la police de la pensée dans les édifices fédéraux?

Michelle Rempel: Mr. Speaker, the millions of Canadians who look toward our government to ensure the success of the long-term prosperity of this country refuse to drink the orange Kool-Aid that the party across offers. What we do is tell Canadians that we will ensure their long-term prosperity by promoting jobs and growth through policies, including sustainable development of our natural resources. I certainly hope that the NDP, rather than this rhetoric it continually puts forward, will actually focus on helping us grow the country in a time of global economic fragility.


Pretend you’re a backbencher

  1. This is disgusting, regardless of political affiliation. Parks Canada staff don’t needed to be treated like Chinese political dissidents. Muzzling government workers, who are in the employ of the public, not the political elite, is a sign of desperation.

    Also (and I am not an NDP supporter), objecting to this policy has nothing to do with “orange Kool-aid” or objecting to “growing the country in a time of global economic fragility”. These politicians are unapologetic liars and spin doctors. What a waste.

    • Indeed. They should be treated like Chinese reporters and wined and dined by Bob Dechert :)

  2. We will make the trains run on time.

  3. This seems like a completely reasonable request. Why should the public be paying public sector employees to do work for their public sector Unions? It’s not like the request says they’re not allowed to have an opinion, or what they can or can’t do on their own time.

    Now, I know this will get down voted into oblivion, because anything that isn’t anti-CPC isn’t tolerated here. But I’d like to know how many people think it’s appropriate for employees of the government to be spending their working hours actively trying to undermine said government. How many people think a private sector employer would tolerate such madness.

    • So Bill, when you say “it’s not like the request says…. what they can or can’t do on their own time,” I guess it would be fair to respond that it’s not like you actually checked the facts or anything.

      The linked memo clearly states: “The duty of loyalty to the Agency is reflected in the Parks Canada Agency code of ethics and applies to all members of the Parks Canada team at all times. ”

      Those last three words are the important bit.

    • Rational opinions are tolerated quite well. Reasoned arguments are responded to quite well. Abuse and ad hominem don’t do so well.

      • Yeah, that’s why Bill has a net -5 at the moment. Because his post is so patently irrational, devoid of reason, abusive and ad hominem,

        • Never mind the numbers, what do you think of the fact that he was completely and utterly wrong? I realize that it’s hard to recast that as a slur against lefty strawmen as is your usual schtick, but since you’re already here whining, why not address what he actually said. Do you support his interpretation or would you rather just ignore it in favour of your perpetual victimhood?

          • So where is it that I attribute victim status to myself?
            Oh that’s right, nowhere.

          • @orsonBean

            Where? Everywhere. When? Every time you post Why? Apparently you think it’s clever and original despite the fact that it is merely tedious. If you want to defend your government, get to it. If you just want to complain about how everyone is mean to you poor misunderstood CPC supporters, well, you’ve already made that complaint loudly and repeatedly.

            So again, does it matter to you, even a little, that Bill’s argument was factually wrong? Do you think the government should have the right to forbid it’s employees from voicing criticism of the government? Does it bother you at all?

        • Try inaccurate. Seems a legitimate enough reason to vote a comment down.

        • No, it’s because he didn’t post a good argument for muzzling dissident workers.

    • “Why should the public be paying public sector employees to do work for their public sector Unions?”

      When does it become their money? to do with as they please? When does it stop being the publics money? When does it become “my” money? Why does money carry any political content?

    • If a program cut is going to endanger Parks Canada’s mission, should it not be the responsibility of staff to bring this to the attention of the public? If there are huge lines of people waiting to get into a National Park because of short-staffing issues; if firewood and water are not being dropped off in a timely manner at sites where people pay for such service; etc., etc., should staff not warn the public?

  4. Does anyone know what, if any, whistleblower protection still exists? I realize this is probably the dumbest question ever posed on here.

    • There is still stuff on the books, if that’s what you mean. Is there any real protection? Hell, no. Look at DDM, he is launching a full-out public pissing match against the legal system – publicly rebuking an officer of the government for not coming to him first before having the temerity to actually enforce the law. And he’s doing it with the stated support of the Prime Minister. The Party of Law and Order has officially dropped the pretence and will now go by it’s true name and nature: The Party of Order.

      • After I posted that I did a quick search to refresh my memory. Had completely forgotten about the troubles of the previous commissisoner. Yes, the protection is on the books, but given the current climate, who would come forward with any confidence that they wouldn’t be thrown to the wolves? There will have to be a return to brown envelope leaks.

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