It’s a fact: Canadian politics are boring lately. Since Harper went to ground and the media obediently took the oath of Omertà, there’s been very little in the news except the weekly notification of which worthy provincial celebrity has dropped out of the Liberal leadership race, plus bonus polysyllabic mistrals spluttering forth from Ignatieff, who has not yet been informed that he is a walking dead man.
I think that part of the problem is that the Canadian political establishment is filled with Canadians, and that, further, those Canadians are also politicians. And that, furtherer, those Canadian politicians are in a minority government whose opposition has not yet chosen their leader. It’s a bit like being Frodo and watching the Witch King of Angmar trying to choose which sword with which to skewer you; one tends to get very quiet.
Now, finally, there’s some conflict, some controversy, some life in Canadian politics, and it’s all because of a maverick geologist. CTV has the report.
Isn’t it always? Casting suggestions include: Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt, Jackie Chan, and, of course, George (DemocracyMan) Clooney.
A B.C. scientist fired for lampooning an order to call Stephen Harper’s Tory government “Canada‘s new government” is back on the job.
Geologist Andrew Okulitch said Tuesday he was reinstated as a scientist emeritus with the Geological Survey of Canada after a call from the deputy minister of natural resources.
The 64-year-old Saltspring Island resident, who has worked for the federal government for 35 years, said he was fired Sept. 5 after he e-mailed an undiplomatic response to a government directive.
The government memo ordered him to use the phrase “new government of Canada” on official correspondence from the Geological Survey of Canada.
Okulitch immediately fired off an e-mail saying civil servants are not paid to mouth political slogans.
He said the policy was “ridiculous and embarrassing” and said he will use Geological Survey of Canada in any official correspondence “as opposed to idiotic buzzwords coined by political hacks.”
Minutes later he received an equally blunt e-mail from the Natural Resources Ministry saying Okulitch‘s misdirected views reflect the decision to immediately remove him from his position…
“They are basically apologizing by reinstating me,” he said…
Okulitch said the government shouldn’t be ordering the supposedly unbiased civil servants to adopt government slogans.
Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said he believes in the new government slogan, but it’s not something bureaucrats are expected to adopt.
“I’m proud to use it,” he said in Ottawa. “We’re proud to be the new government of Canada. This is not something that we expect department officials or bureaucrats to use at all.”
The e-mail that went to Okulitch should never have been sent to him, Lunn said…
The Prime Minister’s Office could not be reached for comment on its new slogan.
I prefer this one: