Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Quiet Revolution

The following is basically a one day story, that won't resonate with the public, which makes it all the more concerning. Harper has always believed that the civil service has a "liberal" bent, part of the right's seige mentality that drives their paranoia. I'm not sure I'd dispute the political spectrum analysis, because really the civil service accurately reflects the makeup of average Canadians. Of course, the right wing would find some resistance within the public service, because they are a minority in this country, they don't reflect mainstream Canada in a majority sense.

This is obscene on so many levels, but hardly surprising:
An elite federal program to recruit the cream of new graduates suddenly wants to know the applicants' views on the government's vaunted Economic Action Plan before they get a job interview.

The Accelerated Economist Training Program invites highly educated people to develop careers in the federal public service, starting at a senior level.

Successful candidates go through two years of training at four departments. They start at about $50,000 a year and after two years can earn over $80,000.

Spaces are in high demand among university graduates.

But this year, for the first time, candidates need to provide more than a list of qualifications and good marks. They also must to write 1,000 words on the federal government's last budget, promoted widely as the Economic Action Plan.

There is no way to rationalize the inclusion of a partisan inspired essay into a job application:
"In 2009, the Government of Canada introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan to help Canada's economy weather the economic storm," says the application form. "In 1,000 words or less, please choose two of these measures and discuss their implications for Canada."

Applicants must consider the social, economic or international policy implications of the budget, it says.

I assume the "cream" of graduates possess some intellectual prowess. I don't know about you, but it stands to reason that the response to this question is automatic, completely devoid of any critical viewpoint, an opportunity to "kiss ass" ("It's hard for me to pick just two concepts, the document so awash in pure genius, so well crafted and comprehensive, but if I must...."). Should said applicant have any qualms, which they wish to articulate, this would be the equivalent of suicide. This question is an attempt to weed out people with a political bent not in line with the government. This question is also a reward to sympathetic applicants, their genuine zeal for the Conservative agenda given ample opportunity for expression.

I view the above as another quiet measure to reshape our institutions, Harper's attempt to leave a conservative legacy long after he departs. The government is effectively screening people, based on political leanings. There is simply NO intrinsic value in asking this sort of question, it is transparently loaded and obvious. The fact this initiative involves "senior" positions, all the more relevant.

The minority manufacturing a false majority.


rgl said...

Steve, this is totally disgusting but totally expected. So, why aren't the opposition MPs doing their job of representing Canadians by shutting the door on this man? Do what it takes, even if it means working together for the common good of our country. See my blog today at:

Steve V said...

Not sure if that flies in this environment, but the idea of the opposition parties not running candidates in certain ridings has an appeal.

ottlib said...

The idea of the public service being Liberal is Conservative paranoia at its greatest.

So the idea that the Conservatives can somehow make the public service more Conservative is just plain silly.

As well, it could be counter-productive if the Liberals are smart enough to push this as part of the hyper-partisanship-of-the-Conservative-government meme.

As well, many people have been known to stretch the truth during interviews so many of these candidates that the Conservatives think are agreeing with them could just be saying what they expect the interviewer wants to hear.

I will go back to an earlier argument. All of this stuff is high risk so I really am questioning why the Conservatives believe they need to take these risks.

Maybe they know something the public papers are not telling us and they do not like it one bit.

Tomm said...


How is this "essay" a pro-Conservative thing?

Most Conservative's, Libertarian's, and free enterprisers would be hard pressed to glorify the billions of dollars in stimulus. It certainly wasn't their idea.

I see this more as public servants being able to to be public SERVANTS and not cowboys, Joan of Arc's and Don Quixote's.

Steve V said...

"How is this "essay" a pro-Conservative thing?"

I feel like I should drop a bucket of cold water on you, as a favour.

Tomm said...

Let me finish my sauna first...

rockfish said...

Talk about out-to-lunch revisionism. Tomm, you take the cake. So why are they lapping up at the trough, handing over bills to municipalities to advertise their 'good works' all around this country (tory ridings primarily)? Why have they sold out their image as prudent fiscal managers to be cowed by an often stumbling, divided opposition? At the least, you certainly should be calling for a leadership review of your so-called piano player. He's sold your soul for a song, chum, and no two-bits a dance even.

Tomm said...


I am still hoping that when the smoke clears most of the 56B never got spent.