Last night a few of my esteemed colleagues got into a discussion with Heritage Minister James Moore about the Library and Archives Canada Code of Conduct (editorialized here), and about his reaction to criticism from the opposition.
Minister Moore was accused of being ‘Orwellian’ in the House of Commons, and of using Doublespeak on Twitter. Pretty grand accusations, but they’re coming with context.
History comes up a lot in these conversations; preserving our history is after all the mandate of LAC, though one they seem less and less interested in.
The second kind of history at play here is the more recent history of the Conservative Party squashing dissent, cutting off funding for programs and services that do not line up with their ideology, of being the party of groveling, weak backbenchers, the party with an Accountability Office who won’t give its own Parliamentary Budget Officer access to budget documents. This is the party that cancelled the long form census because it was ‘too intrusive,’ instead suggesting that a voluntary census could be statistically valid.
Anyway, I could go on…
To read a government organization’s code of conduct and see such tidbits as:
“As public servants, our duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada and its elected officials extends beyond our workplace to our personal activities”
“LAC employees may be asked by third parties to teach or to speak at or be a guest at conferences as a personal activity or part-time employment. Such activities have been identified as high-risk to LAC and to the employee with regard to conflict of interest, conflict of duties and duty of loyalty”
is, with recent history in mind, pretty chilling. While LAC’s draconian code of conduct may have been developed outside of any government oversight, it sure sounds familiar.
I appreciate the minister’s willingness to engage on Twitter last night, but let’s be honest – he basically just said “you’re an idiot and that’s not my problem” over and over again.
May I suggest that the Heritage Minister MAKE this his problem?