Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ministerial responsibility is dead; Peter MacKay hides behind the troops (again)

It was shocking and troubling news when it broke two days ago: the federal government (it's only called the Harper Government when it's doing positive things) announced it would be ending the danger pay allowance for Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

The baffling news from a government supposedly all about the troops (unlike those other commie parties) provoked an immediately negative response, including from comedian and troop supporter (having made several trips to Afghanistan), Rick Mercer:

Mercer also noted that, while the Harper Government may think things are safe in Afghanistan, the Harper government apparently disagrees:

This bone-headed decision now being a very public relations (not to mention moral) problem, now the Harper Government begins a game of political hot potato. Where does the responsibility reside? If you think the Prime Minister's Office takes responsibility for the actions of the Harper government, think again:

The Harper government has ordered the Department of National Defence to reconsider a plan to reduce danger pay for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Ah, so now they're the Harper government again. And this totally isn't their fault; or, at least, not the PMO branch of the Harper government. So, no responsibility from the Prime Minister. How about the Defence Minister; Peter?

Staff in Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office said bureaucrats, not politicians, took the initiative to reduce soldiers’ hazard pay.
The decision was made by a hardship pay review committee whose members include a Canadian Armed Forces general-rank officer, a representative of the RCMP, and bureaucrats from Treasury Board and National Defence.
The Defence Minister has no power to interfere in the decision, officials said.

So, apparently it's not MacKay's responsibility. He's just the Minister of National Defence, after all. And it's not Harper's responsibility, he's just the Prime Minister. No, when the going gets tough, they hide behind the troops.

It's not a new phenomenon for the Harper government:

Military personnel were asked to dig up dirt on an opposition MP in the wake of revelations Defence Minister Peter MacKay was picked up in a search-and-rescue helicopter from a 2010 fishing trip, defence department records show.
It first emerged in a television report on Sept. 21, 2011, that MacKay’s office ordered a Cormorant helicopter to pick him up from a private lodge on the Gander River in Newfoundland at an estimated cost of $16,000. His destination was the Gander airport, where a Challenger jet was waiting to take him to a government announcement in London, Ont.
The morning of Sept. 22, Royal Canadian Air Force staff — including an officer posted in MacKay’s office — were digging through flight logs to find instances where opposition party MPs took rides aboard military aircraft, according to emails obtained by the Toronto Star.

Perhaps they need a little danger pay at NDHQ as well.

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1 comment:

harebell said...

Why do we have a Minister for defence when he does nothing?
The man is an unmitigated disaster and the guy that put him there is worse. The only reason either of them are in the jobs they are in is because MacKay is a backstabbing liar who handed Harper his party on a plate.
I'm not too sure that's the kind of guy troops should have watching their backs.