Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whose job is it to play by the rules? 

Here's one thing that I don't blame former Alberta Premier Alison Redford for doing -- taking her daughter with her on many of her government flights was the right thing to do.  This is kind of thing any parent SHOULD do, and we should expect it when we elect people with children to public office.
Now obviously, there was a serious attitude problem here, a inflated and egotistical sense of entitlement by Redford and her office staff which lead to deliberate and gleeful abuse of their access to government flights.
But here's the other thing -- a political studies professor also blames the civil service, and that goes too far:
Lightbody, the political scientist, said many people within Redford's office and various ministries would have known about the "blatant abuse" of government aircraft, yet no one spoke out publicly.
"These are people who work for the citizens of Alberta, and someone, sometime, somehow, should have said, 'No, this is wrong,'" Lightbody said."
Yes, these civil servants are paid by the public, but they don't work for them.
I've worked in the civil service, and I know.  It wasn't "the public" who were in charge of my workload and my paycheque -- it was the politicians who were elected by the public to be my boss, to tell me what to do.
Civil servants did not have any ability at all to stop Redford's abuse, just as none of the staff working for the Senate could have stopped Duffy, or Brazeau, or Wallin -- as taxpayers, we should not expect civil servants to be doing this.
The people we elect are the ones to blame here, for feeding their own sense of entitlement to the point that they didn't even recognize how unethical their behaviour had became.

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