31 December 2010

What people really mean when they say...

..."You can't fight City Hall."

That hint of an answer is found in what happens when intransigent bureaucracy (the federal Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, or INAC) meets stubborn and hypersensitive first nation, in this instance the Pikangikum band.

And what happens, as Ontario Superior Court Judge John dePencier Wright found, is … nothing.

RELATED: I'm from the government...

...I'm here to save you...
The professional standards investigation found the employee, whose name it would not disclose, had spent 176 hours — about four and a half work weeks — on the Internet over a three-month period. A search of his CBSA e-mail account found he had used it to send and receive explicit descriptions and photos, including pictures of genitalia and sex acts.

“He exchanges e-mails with interested parties and gives detailed descriptions of himself, including his sexual organs,” the investigation report says.

CBSA officials are responsible for stopping obscene materials from entering the country. The agency often highlights its involvement in intercepting child pornography brought across the border.


Rose said...

Good gawd what do they have to do to get fired? Will he reimburse the taxpayer for the hours he was paid to work not watch porn?

Neo Conservative said...

the snivel service... no firing, no accountability.


Norm said...

It is popular to blame the civil service as unaccountable and often with good reason, e.g. when an over the top situation occurs. Do bear in mind, the civil servents merely adminster the legislation passed by the legislatures.
Often the legislation is very poorly written and the OIC regulations meant to clarify the legislation in fact further muddies the water. So bureaucrats must develop policy to plug the gaps so each taxpayer is treated the same. Add to this mix is employee policies handed down by central agencies (Public Service Commissions, Treasury / Management Boards etc) who make the union contracts, employee policies, travel policies etc. The department management's hands are often handcuffed by these policies.
Compound this with Ministers who by nature are temporary but want the policy to change to suit their agendas. The Ministers do not have the muscle or moxie to have the regulations or legislation changed so they try to have the policy changed. The civil servents resist because the public will be left in a state of confusion: my friend was given X six months ago but I get Y. Well, the Minister changed and wanted a policy change.You would not want to be fired on the whim of a Minsiter who didn't give a damn about the organization except as a rung on his ladder to the top.
Many Ministers do not give a damn about the legislation, regulations or the policy because they are jockeying to be the next Minister of Mega Department and are not really interested in being the minister in charge of Alberta fisheries. Look what happens when a department gets a Minister who has no ambition, e.g. George Hees (Tory)or Dan MacDonald (Grit) as Minsters of Veteran's Affairs or Rick Thorpe as the BC Minister of Small Business & Revenue. None were interested in anything else and THEY MADE THE CIVIL SERVICE DANCE TO THEIR TUNE. They pushed through legislative and regulatory changes and made policy change.
The fish rots from the head down.

Neo Conservative said...

"norm says... the fish rots from the head down."

ah, sorry... not in this particular case, i'm afraid...

...the INAC bureaucracy, which appears to have fought Mr. Nault tooth and nail after he took over the ministry in 1999.

Internally at INAC, meantime, the bureaucracy, stung by Mr. Nault’s special interest in and treatment of Pikangikum, now sent every single piece of paper about the band, even routine funding requests not requiring the minister’s approval, to his desk, where they sometimes languished in a mountain of documents."


Norm said...

The Hon. Mr. Nault most likely gave the order "I want to see everything!". So he received "everything". If his ministerial staff (appointed by him not the civil service) were on the ball they would have vetted the documents. Minsiters have real power. They can NOT delegate their spending authority to the Deputy Minister(DM) or Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADM).
Too often Ministers are bored by the details of spending plans because for many Ministers, they are truly out of their league; the most they have done is manage a small law office in Chaboogamo Falls and put together a million dollar real estate deal. Overseeing a $9 Billion department with 8,000 employees boogles their minds. The very fact he made his duties as an MP trump his duties as a Minister states volumes.
I consider Trudeau to be the man who ruined Canada but I will give him credit when he & INAC Minister Jean Chretian tried to overall The Indian Act circa 1970. If their white paper had become legislation the end of the reserve system and the assimilation of natives would have complete by now. They backed off when they received way too much opposition from the native band leaders, the press, the Liberal backbench and, well, the Opposition.

Neo Conservative said...

"norm says... The Hon. Mr. Nault most likely gave the order 'I want to see everything!'."

sorry norm... lacking your apparent extra-sensory powers... i can only go by what i read in the article.

and if you really believe that senior civil servants are incapable of putting wooden shoes in the machinery of government... i have some florida swampland i think you absolutely must have a look at.

p.s. - no comment on taxpayer subsidised porn boy?


Norm said...

I did say "most likely gave the order..." so, no I do not claim I am privy to the communications. I do know senior bureaucrats can and do sabotage Ministers but Ministers can push back; they cut DM's out of the loop and use some of their charm and guile to steer officals to their side. But if you are am MP who was elected because you were on the party ballot and the riding you are in would elect a dead donkey if it was on the ballot, your charm and guile may not be up to snuff.
Add in some ministers are not really singing from the Cabinet's song sheet so they lack support from the Privy Council Office when they need support to control their department's officials.
As to porn boy, the real problem with civil service is there is no output to measure for management. An employee who spends his time not working can be easily detected in a business where there is an output to measure long before it gets to 60% of his workday. Note front line public servants are measured on outputs (taxpayer phone calls answered etc) but as one moves up the chain into regional and head office places the measurement/management problem is too real. Measurement systems become a joke to be gamed. "Discussions with taxpayer" becomes shooting the breeze with the waiter in a bar. When the purpose of a branch/department is unclear it really becomes a schmozzle. The real answer is to eliminate whole departments and repeal the legislation they administer. Look what happens when someone tries to do that!