Friday, July 06, 2007

I was so close to saying nice things about Deceivin' Steven!

I'm a Liberal partisan, I admit that freely, but I do try to at least somewhat fair in my writings and (however grudgingly) give credit to the other parties when it’s due. And hand to God I was ready to write an glowing post giving Harper credit for his appointment of William Elliott as the new RCMP chief. I was so close.

On the surface, I like this move. Appointing an outsider to head the RCMP, someone with a proven history of management experience and a former senior civil servant, is a great move. And, despite the inevitable protests that will come from certain elements of the force, bringing in an outsider with management skills is exactly what is needed to turn the force around. It’s the only way to combat the insider/old boys mentality in the force.

My only concern was to wonder if a career civil servant, used to taking orders his political masters, would be able to make the jump to leading the RCMP. Because the force is necessarily politically independent. Being a deputy minister isn’t quite the same as running the RCMP, as police chief you need to be willing to tell the politicians to take a hike. I was, however, willing to give Elliot the benefit of the doubt.

But then I read that Elliott isn’t just a former bureaucrat, but also has very strong Conservative ties. He was chief of staff to Mulroney’s deputy Prime Minister; you don’t get that job without strong political credentials.

Granted, he also served briefly as national security advisor to Paul Martin, so hopefully Elliott can/will be able to put partisanship aside here and do his job. And certainly the qualifications are there otherwise, so it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make a Bush/Harriet Myers comparison.

So, I’ll still give Elliott the benefit of the doubt and wish him well in taking on this challenge, but it’s not the perfect appointment it once seemed to be. Elliott is going to be watched, and scrutinized, very closely. Because the last thing the RCMP needs is a political loyalist/yes man at its helm.

Will Elliott be able to tell Harper to shove it when necessary? Time will tell, but I hope so.

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Gayle said...

I hope so too, and I think he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

I am only concerned about appointees with political ties when those appointees act politically rather than ethically.

I frankly believe the liberals may have appointed one of their own, so I have no problems with the conservatives doing so.

Stacking the judicial appointment committees on the other hand...

Olaf said...


But then I read that Elliott isn’t just a former bureaucrat, but also has very strong Conservative ties. He was chief of staff to Mulroney’s deputy Prime Minister; you don’t get that job without strong political credentials.

I'm sorry, are we not still working under the assumption that the CPC are no longer "progressive" conservatives, as in the good old Mulroney years, but deadly neo-con theo-con Reformers in sheep's clothing? If so, what does a tie to the most Liberal conservative in recent history have to do with anything? Hell, if you're worried about him having conservative credentials, you might be more worried if he was connected to Chretien in 1996.

Not really sure as to what my point might be, assuming I have one at all. Just thought that it's interesting how far some will go before giving Harper any credit, although I understand your reservation.

Olaf said...

"I was about to give Harper credit (I swear, I really wanted to!), but thankfully I found out that the grandmother of this recent appointment had at one time in 1926 become friends with a lady who often attended a United Church. And did you know that one of the denominations which combined to create the United Church of Canada was Presbyterianism? Well, guess what religion Harper practices... Presbyterianism! Coincidence? I sure hope so, but I won't hold my breath!"

Karen said...

I'm with Gayle. I wrote about it too, but still don't know enough about the man, so, we'll see.

Olaf, interesting points, but sadly, I think Harper has just done so much that contradicts what he said he would do, that it immediately raises suspicion.

Scanner said...

NOTHING this Government does is not political. They completely and slavishly follow Karl Rove's playbook. This is a 100% political appointment. Not obvious? You have to dig deeper

burlivespipe said...

Bruce is exactly right. The Democrats gave Bush 'the benefit of the doubt' on a few of his appointments and the end result was run-away cronyism, pathetic paralysis of programs, and just unabashed boobery.
Dig further. The scent is there...

Jeff said...

Regardless of what asumptions we're lingering under Olaf, I think the fact the new RCMP chief to be is a staunch Conservative is, at least, a matter for discussion. It's a blemish on an otherwise good decision to reach outside the RCMP ranks, and a potential trouble spot down the road.