Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Public Service integrity commissioner Mario Dion
- Is Harper’s chief bodyguard getting a diplomatic posting?
- Carbon pricing
Public Service Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion released a report today that detailed the harassment and abuse that the former chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Shirish Chotalia, subjected her staff to on an ongoing basis before her resignation. When Power & Politics spoke with Dion, he said that she was named in the report after consultation with the Privacy Commissioner because she occupied a unique position within the Tribunal, and because naming and shaming is part of his mandate as a deterrent effect. When confronted with Chotalia’s statement that she was targeted because the Conservatives appointed her and because “she’s a brown woman from Alberta who the unions don’t like,” Dion said that characterisation didn’t bear out in his interviews, though Chotalia never allowed herself to be interviewed as part of his investigation. With regards to NDP MP Mathieu Ravignat’s characterization in QP that she made the Tribunal enforce government policy, Dion said that was not in his report, and that Ravignat either misunderstood it or misrepresented it. On Power Play, Dion said that he had never seen anything like this case in his 32 years in the public service, and that Chotalia’s name is now on the web for people to find out about her actions.
Given the speculation that the Mountie in charge of Stephen Harper’s protection detail, Bruno Saccomani, will be appointed the new ambassador to Jordan, Power Play spoke with former diplomat Colin Robertson. Robertson said that this would not be a plum patronage appointment as Saccomani is a public servant who would be asked to take on a tough job where security plays an important role, and the fact that he has the trust of the Prime Minister would speak highly of him to the Jordanians. Robertson also noted that as the RCMP liaison in Rome, Saccomani has done diplomatic work in the past, and there is a long history of the foreign service taking people from outside to serve in particular positions in particular situations, and that it has generally worked out well.
With a Canada 2020 conference on carbon pricing taking place in Ottawa, Evan Solomon spoke with a panel of UBC Political science professor Kathryn Harrison, former Republican congressman Bob Inglis, and Canada 2020 vice president Diana Carney. Inglis spoke about his experience as a “Tea Party Republican” coming to terms with climate change, and his sense that revenue-neutral carbon taxes were the best way to go as free enterprise and an accountable marketplace are conservative values, and cap-and-trade schemes are hopelessly complex and regulatory. Carney said that carbon pricing is the simplest way to go, and while the term “carbon tax” is often misused, there needs to be a discussion about getting to a productive future. Harrison said that there are positive lessons to take from BC’s experience, such as the opportunities for political leadership, and how a right-leaning government was given more slack by the business community, but the negative lesson was just how easy it was to play on public misunderstanding of the issue.