The government's handling of the issue has also caused consternation in the federal public service because of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's extraordinary attack on Linda Keen, chairman of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, whom he accused of acting on behalf of the previous Liberal government that appointed her.And that's what makes this incident so ugly. So now we have this former Clerk of the Privy Council defending her. Yesterday it was Michael Burns, the former Chairman of Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. The day before that it was a "nuclear insider" who spoke out in the media...anyone else care to join in the unanimous support for Linda Keen? How about it Mr. Harper?
Mel Cappe, a former Clerk of the Privy Council, the nation's top public servant, said he was worried about turning professional civil servants into partisan pawns.
"Public servants have no voice," he said in an interview. "When they become political footballs, public servants can't defend themselves. They are loyal to the government of the day."
Mr. Cappe is currently president of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, a Montreal think tank.
He said the situation is even worse for regulators like Ms. Keen, whom he described as "a dedicated, hard-working public servant who probably could have been more subtle in the way she handled the issue.
"But there's no doubt in my mind that she was interpreting the legislation in the way she thought Parliament wanted. There is no doubt that she is not partisan."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Opposition to Harper's partisan attack on Linda Keen still growing
More fallout from Harper's incredible attack on Linda Keen. There's a chill up there in Ottawa as a result of Harper's vitriol: