Brent Rathgeber has left the Conservative caucus

Brent Rathgeber

Brent Rathgeber has left the Conservative caucus and its a shame that it came to this.

Bill C-461 is its unamended form would have been a much needed piece of legislation that would have provided disclosure of public servant salaries at or above deputy minister 1 (DM1) level ($188,000+).

I spoke on this legislation before committee and I informed them that I was told that the legislation would not pass without amendment, but that amending the legislation would be a scandal for the governing caucus because it speaks to the heart of what it means to be conservative.

The Conservative government was originally elected in 2006 on a promise to bring accountability and transparency to Ottawa. This legislation was pitch perfect for the original Conservative hymn of opening up government for broader public scrutiny.

If the rationale for amending this legislation was to proactively protect from news stories and headlines of the compensation rates of scores of senior staffers, perhaps the government should realize that such government largesse is itself indefensible. In trying to protect themselves from bad headlines, other bad headlines are now being written.

The Conservatives need to get themselves sorted. This is not why they originally came to Ottawa. For Rathgeber, I was pleased to see his work on bill C-461 but was disappointed in his lack of support for bill C-377.

Last night’s gutting of bill C-461 is not why conservatives send Conservative MPs to Ottawa. Bill C-461 sought to bring transparency and accountability to the public service and now this government seems intent on shielding such accountability from the public view.

  • damorris

    This version of the CPC is starting to remind me of the 1989 PC’s of Mulroney, scandals,defections, resignations,firings, and with an ever more electable Liberal leader waiting in the wings.

    Powered by the MSM propaganda machine, by 2015 Justin Trudeau will be seen as a combination of Papa Trudeau, Castro, and FDR all rolled into one beaming package.

    Canadians will vote him in in a landslide.

    Mr.Harper needs the proverbial “walk in the snow” to rethink what the CPC stands for and where it is allegedly going. Right now we look like Chretien-lite, just waiting for a really big scandal to bring us down.

  • GabbyInQC

    I question the argument that a federal “Sunshine List” will necessarily diminish the incidence of misspending taxpayers’ money.

    I do not follow Ontario politics, so I had to rely on Google to help me with a list of ON scandals. Here’s one such list, most likely drawn up by a partisan non-Liberal, but probably based on some facts.
    http://jackandcokewithalime.blogspot.ca/2011/03/list-of-ontario-liberal-premier-dalton.html
    1. The McGuinty Ontario Health Premium
    2. The McGuinty Delisting of OHIP Covered Necessary Health Services
    3. The McGuinty eHealth Scandal
    4. The McGuinty Slush Fund Scandal
    5. The McGuinty Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Scandal …

    OK, if readers are interested, there are 25 more items on that list of scandals. Notice the date of the post, though. I’m sure there may have been other scandals since that list was compiled.

    Did knowing bureaucrats’ salaries (Sunshine List) prevent those scandals and misappropriation or misuse of funds? I doubt it. Sounds to me something like the gun registry.

    If a similar “Sunshine List” for the federal government were drawn up, what would probably result? The creation of labyrinthine websites full of illegible scraps of paper (receipts for taxi rides or late-night pizzas) which would be consulted by journalists looking for a “colour” story — the green of envy is always a good bet — and by partisans wanting to prove the wastefulness of the other side.

    So, what to do? Increase salaries of MPs, senators, and bureaucrats but eliminate the expense accounts, so that the aforementioned people themselves have to pay for that cab ride or late-night pizzas. As you yourself stated, Stephen, human fallibility is a constant, so take away the possibility of temptation and that should lessen — not eliminate altogether, let’s be realistic — the wastefulness of governments.

    Lastly, another conservative principle would also be adhered to: smaller government. A federal “Sunshine List” would probably need a small army of bureaucrats to keep track of all that “paperasse” (French word for paperwork). Eliminate some paperwork and the need for a burgeoning bureaucracy may be reduced.

  • agent smith

    As a life long Conservative i’m pretty dissapointed – oh yes we must kowtow to the CBC….. Lorne Gunter feels it’s the ‘Short pants brigade’ in the PMO – good artical. Together with the senate lameness one looses all enthusiasm for the cause.
    And lurking in the shadows u have Justin Trudeau’s puppet masters rubbing their hands in glee a la Mr. Burns.

  • GabbyInQC

    Perhaps the Conservatives on the committee which amended MP Rathgeber’s Private Member’s Bill had a good reason. I would like to read the minutes of that committee meeting to determine for myself whether the bill was actually “gutted” as reported or whether the proposed amendment(s) make sense.

    IMO, small c-conservatives can sometimes get carried away with their almost irrational hatred of the CBC, carrying that animosity over onto the party they say they support. The anti-CBC stance is what seems to be animating support for MP Rathgeber’s PMB rather than its own merit. I am still not convinced that a disclosure of Peter Mansbridge’s salary, for example, will improve my life in any way, nor will that disclosure remove the possibility that taxpayers’ money will never be misused again.

    Despite its obvious anti-Conservative bias, the CBC does provide a service for the people who wish to avail themselves of it. A bit of history from Wiki:
    « The CRBC was established in 1932 by the [Conservative] government of R.B. Bennett based on the recommendations of the 1929 Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting and as a result of the lobbying efforts of the Canadian Radio League. The network was created on May 26, 1932 and existed until November 2, 1936 when it was reorganized as a Crown corporation becoming the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Daily national broadcasting began in May 1933 with an hour’s programming a day which was increased over time.

    At its creation, Prime Minister Bennett spoke of the need for public control of radio saying:
    “This country must be assured of complete Canadian control of broadcasting from Canadian sources. Without such control, broadcasting can never be the agency by which national consciousness may be fostered and sustained and national unity still further strengthened.”»

    Isn’t that partly why some people expressed concern for Radio-Canada’s changing its brand to “ici”? That the new brand no longer reflects the national unity PM R.B. Bennett spoke of?

  • Bert_1

    The problem is that fascists and dictators have been saying the same thing about media for centuries. The CBC has outlived its usefulness and should be terminated.

    Having said that, I harbor no hatred toward the CBC. It is a dinosaur of an organization that sucks far too much money out of the public coffers. It simply is not necessary and that money could be better spent on other things.

  • kenn2

    Just about every respected democratic country has a publicly-funded public broadcaster. Except the US. Guess in which country the viewers have the highest distrust of media?

  • kenn2

    “Openness and transparency” is the Achilles heel of this federal government. It’s more than just printing bureaucrats’ salary lists. PM Harper’s unwillingness to actually put genuine accountability into practice cannot be considered a successful tactic, and it will be the dark side of his legacy.

  • agent smith

    Even with my “irrational hatred” I get that this bill is about much more than the CBC.
    That being said with your long winded history lesson u sound like another CBC apologist. 1929 & 1932? – maybe we should be thinking about 2013 i.e. the here and now.

  • agent smith

    “..every respected democratic country..”? I’d say about 95% percent of them are more screwed than we are – thanks in large part to having a ‘progressive’ publicly funded broadcaster.

    Your U.S. example? – spurious reasoning. One does not cause the other let alone u are even correct about your U.S. assertion. Proof.

  • Bert_1

    Britain. Followed closely by Canada.

  • Bert_1

    And, in spite of ll of his shortfalls in that area, he is still light-years ahead of any Liberal PM in history. Sad, isn’t it?

  • Bert_1

    You know, you are correct, I think, in your analysis but I sincerely doubt that you will convince any of the progressives of that. In spite of mountains of evidence, they still think that they are going in the right direction. The entire country will be in shambles and it will be a conservative’s fault. Look at Ontario: Absolutely devastated by the McGuinty policies but the Liberals there can still win an election. And, federally, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Trudeau become PM in spite of the tragic track record of his father and Jr’s total lack of experience or common sense.

    I’m going to go play with my granddaughter before I become completely depressed…

  • GabbyInQC

    So sorry it hurt your wee wittle brain to read more than 3 lines. Just skip my comment next time. Save yourself the headache.

  • DougM

    I agree with your definition of Trudeau, but the truth is that if Canadian’s are dumb enough to vote him im, they deserve everything they get.

  • bedstone

    The issue of public disclosure of CBC salaries has some historical context.

    Until the 1960s, public servants received lower wages in return for better job stabillity and better benefits. Prime Minister Pearson, in cahoots with the NDP gave the right fo public sector to strike. In the 1970s, wages quickly grew and now public sector is often paid higher than non public sector, have stronger benefits, retire earlier and have much stronger pensions.

    If public sector was paid less, no one would care if it was public or not. In a time of significant public debt plus unfunded liabilities, such as pensions, public sector are requiring additional funds from the government. In light of this, the obvious question if they require additional funds, is where does the money go. Specifically, with regard to CBC (and Via and others) why would they be treated differently than is becoming a greater trend of public disclosure.

    We have the technology now with the internet to open the books. What is the reason why this is a bad idea? It is a tough agruement to make.