Thursday, April 13, 2006

Oh Dingwall, we hardly knew ye

After reading some of the news and blog coverage I feel I should comment on the news the arbitrator has upheld David Dingwall’s severance payment. But before I start, let me just say I will only be taking two questions, and they both need to be on the Vancouver Canucks and what they need to do to improve in the off season, which sadly for them will be beginning Sunday morning.

That out of the way, let me first of all say I’m no Dingwall fan. I thought his behaviour through the mess that led to his “constructive dismissal” was arrogant and smug, and I felt then, and to some extent still do now, that he deserved to be canned.

Unfortunately, it would seem labour law doesn’t agree with me. And while politicians, especially opposition politicians, love to mug and feign righteous moral outrage for the cameras, when they’re in government politicians also have legal responsibilities.

Dingwall had became an embarrassment and a political liability to the government, thanks to accusations that have since been proven baseless and without foundation, made by the then Conservative opposition. This was compounded by his own smug behaviour, and his infamous “entitled to my entitlements” speech.

The then Martin Liberal government had two choices. Stand by the Chretien appointee and help him clear his name, or do the politically expedient thing and throw him over the side, probably giving a little screw you to the JC gang at the same time.

He wasn’t their man so they didn’t stand by him. That was a mistake. Sure, it was politically expedient to cut him loose, but it was also a shitty thing to do, and it was also wrong because the government also had a duty to Dingwall as an employer, and they didn’t act properly in that relationship.

Briefly, on this was he fired or did he quit thing. I’m not a labour lawyer, but in a nutshell, it’s called constructive dismissal. They didn’t say dude you’re fired, but they didn’t stand by him and fed him to the Conservative wolves, so he had no choice but to resign. Under labour law that’s not a voluntary resignation, it’s a forced resignation, hence he’s entitled to severance. It’s a confusing thing so I’m not surprised many were confused, and given the money on the line it’s natural an arbitrator was brought in to settle it.

So, I think I’ve adequately laid out why the last Liberal government screwed the pooch on this one. Now, I’d like to move on to the Conservatives. This whole thing started based on completely false and baseless accusations made against Dingwall around expense reports during his time as head of the Royal Canadian Mint. It was a Conservative partisan witch hunt that stirred up the shit storm around Dingwall, leading to the weak-kneed Liberal government’s abandoning him, him suing for severance, and the recent arbitrator’s ruling.

They Conservatives have a lot of responsibility for this mess but hey, that’s what being in opposition is all about, right? While a little accountability might be nice and perhaps an apology might be in order for falsely smearing the reputation of an innocent man, I won’t be holding my breath. If I were Dingwall though, I might consider legal action against my accusers.

Sure, opposition is opposition, but the Conservatives are the government now. They don’t have to take this “example of Liberal mismanagement and ineptitude” as Conservative MP Brian Pallister, one of the original witch hunters, recently called it.

If you were so right then, if you’ve done nothing wrong Mr. Harper, then use your perogative as Prime Minister to disallow this ruling and invite Mr. Dingwall to fight it out in court. If you were right all along, then you’ll win a righteous victory for the taxpayers of Canada. If you were wrong all along, then in addition to the severance payment you helped create you’ll be dinging (no pun intented) the taxpayers for even more in legal fees for yet another partisan political witch hunt.

But, since I know your motives are as pure as can be, you’ll pick up this righteous gauntlet for the people of Canada and take Dingwall to court. Otherwise, Mr. Pallister and your fellow Conservatives, please spare me your righteous indignation. It rings hollow.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


small 'l' said...

Touche' !

moquitlam said...

-Focus on re-signing Jovo.
-Test the waters on Bert's value - sell only if its not a buyers market
-Deal Cloutier for a draft pick; go after a free agent 1st line centre in the off-season/draft young centre
-clear more cap space by trading Cook; promote from within
-give Crawford one more chance

purrplegrrl said...

-dump bertuzzi, even if it's a bit of a loss, to free up the $$
-resign Jovo, and make him captain
-resign carter
-dump cloutier
-for the love of god, dump crawford, and maybe nonis too

Dingwall fan said...

I like David Dingwall. Always have. But even Dingwall knew from the moment that the stories broke about his expenses - embellished as they may have been - that the Ottawa press gallery and the Opposition would have a field day. He knew he had to go.

It is funny how in hindsight everyone (even the media who grilled him for weeks, e.g. CBC, Nat Post, Chronicle Herald, etc.) is now saying "oh, the government should have stood by him and backed him up". Does anyone honestly think that would have worked? Really? The situation was untenable and
you can't blame the government of the day for their course of actions.

I wonder if the media, or the standing committee, or the MPs in the House who made this completely exaggerated affair become a front page story for three weeks will admit they were wrong and apologize to the man? Not likely.

wilson61 said...

"This whole thing started based on completely false and baseless accusations..."

Kinda like the Liberals attacks during the last 2 election campaigns?
Soldiers in our streets
In Canada
I'm not making this up

Maybe the media should be included in the Accountability Act, Canadians would be better served if they were.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Jovo does make a diffrence, I think his first game back demonstrates that. Get what they can for Bertuzzi, but he's done. I supported him through everything, but his place on the ice just isn't there. Defensivly, that line has been a liability. He's got to go. I hope Markus stays though. It's easy to say dump Cloutier, but for who? I'm not sure Auld is ready, but neither Cloutier or Auld can be blamed for this season. I'm not ready to dump Crawford yet, but for sure lock-up Carter. He and the Sedins are the present and the future for this team.

Fan, I think if the government had the gumption they could have stood by him. It's been done before. But they were hobbled by sponsorship, and just didn't want to waste the time and capital on a Chretien appointee. Politically cutting him loose made sense, but the law is another matter, so that's why we need to pay. Even if they'd been inclined to stand by him though, his arrogant committee performance ended that possibility.

And Wilson, I'm sorry, I know you're next in line, but I was pointing at Julie Van Dusen.

wilson61 said...

no problem