Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cry Havoc Let Slip the Dog of Kyoto!

(photo of a neo-anarchist from

In yesterday's Mop & Pail we learn of the tribulations of one Jeff Monaghan Esq., a federal civil servant, who leaked a copy of the Conservative green plan to the media before its scheduled unveiling. We now know the hapless self-described member of an anarchist collective was handcuffed at his cubicle by the RCMP and frog-marched from the building in which he worked.

According to a CBC story, Mr. Monaghan was not pleased.
Jeff Monaghan, an employee at Environment Canada, was arrested and led away in handcuffs from his office early Wednesday as co-workers looked on. At a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Monaghan called it a "politically engineered raid of my workplace."

"The spectacle of my arrest, the subsequent RCMP press release and the prepared statements from Environment Canada, including [Environment Minister John] Baird, have been crafted to bully public servants," he said.

Monaghan, 27, also called the proposed charges "vengeful" and an "extension of a government-wide communication strategy pinned on secrecy, intimidation and centralization."

Tut, tut, my good man. Counting military service, John the Mad has served HMQ (Her Majesty the Queen) in Right of Canada and in Right of Ontario for over 25 years. During this period of time I have served Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Party ministers of the Crown to the best of my poor abilities. Also, during this time, I worked hard not to distinguish between the minister's parties in my public duties, despite my strong personal views respecting their competence, or their respective political philosophies.

I serve the Crown and by doing so I serve the public interest. Such is the glory of a civil servant under our constitutional monarchy. In this, the British got it right. It is not Tony Blair's government in London, or Stephen Harper's government in Ottawa, or Dalton McGuinty's government in Toronto. In all those cases it is Her Majesty's government. And Her Majesty, through her first minister, gets to choose who becomes a minister who, in turn, sets policy for the government. Mr. Monaghan, regardless of the purity of his ideology, the elegance of his starched white shirts, or the eloquence of his media anathemas - does not.

You see, there is an firm understanding between the political and the bureaucratic realms in this constitutional monarchy called Canada. We civil servants accept that policy decisions, good, bad, or indifferent, are ultimately a decision of elected representatives of the commons. The commons (not the Commons), of which I am also an undistinguished member, are stupid in many things, but wise in one thing. We the people require political accountability to rest with ministers of the Crown, not with wily and clever civil servants such as me. This is a good thing.

Politicians may be poltroons, in need of constant guidance and close supervision by deputy ministers, but they are, in the end, the repository wherein lies the accountability for the wielding of power in our democracy. It is politicians who carry the can (or ought to). It is they who have to hug drooling babies, give speeches to the Rotary Club, genuflect in the local David Suzuki Kyoto cult temple, pontificate on the efficacy of seat belt laws at Catholic Women's League meetings, earnestly shake hands of poe-faced girl guides and scouts while handing out merit badges for proper bicycle hand signaling. It is more difficult than it seems.

This is not to diminish the role of civil servants. We philosopher kings sit in workstations (or fortunate me - in a window office), reading the Globe & Mail while sipping coffee and tut-tutting over the latest peccadillo's of our ministers who simply will not listen to reason. We work hard to shelter our minister's under our benevolent wings, but accept their right to leap out of the political nest onto the hard pavement below - if that is their wont - and it sometimes is. Some people will not be helped despite our most cogent briefing notes and elegant arguments.

Jeff Monaghan, late of Her Majesty's civil service, confuses his erstwhile role as a public servant with his deeper more lustrous role of a citizen. He has the legal right as a citizen to be an idiot if he wants. He does not have the legal right, as a civil servant, to yank the chain of the elected government of the day - however correct his personal political philosophy, or however zealous he is in that cause. We are all that - even those who are dedicated couch potatoes.

But if we want to decide public policy we must convince those bland Rotarians that our earnestly narcissistic thoughts are not narcissistic thoughts at all, but are formulated purely to serve the public good. Only then will Mr. Monaghan find himself worthy of those Rotarian votes. I admit it ain't as exciting as the anarchy so loved by Monaghan and his ilk, but it is the way we are expected to do politics in this country.

God save the Queen!

Alas the The Honourable St├ęphane Dion, Leader of her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, thinks differently according to the Toronto Star.

Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion said that while he has "no sympathy at all for leaks," he was uncomfortable with the RCMP's handling of the matter.

"It looks like an attempt of intimidation and this is going very, very far, very, very far," he said. "It doesn't look good. It looks quite ugly."

Like I said. Some politicians can't be helped, no matter what.

Late breaking news thanks to the Times Colonist via National Newswatch. Mr. Monaghan says he is not an anarchist, although he shares many of the political ideals of anarchism. Okay. If that's what he says. Sure thing. By jingo. I believe him. Truly.