Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And The Photochallenge is Back!

The new look rickmercer.com website is not only the new permanent home of my blog but now has a fully functional archive of photo challenges. I am convinced that this completely disrespectful feature will lead to much merriment in your home or office. Just click the photo challenge link in the header then click archive to see the results of this week's challenge.

Poor Stephane, first the Tories run attack ads and now this...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Harper in Harper's

Canadians are always impressed when one of our own gets attention south of the border. After all, who among us doesn’t swell up with pride when we see a Canadian individual or a Canadian institution shine on the world stage?

And so I was very chuffed indeed when I noticed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's idea of rebranding the Canadian government as “Canada’s New Government” is getting some attention in the United States. Harper's Magazine recently published an interesting
correspondence illustrating just how serious “Canada’s New Government” is about this endeavour. I include it below for your perusal:

Our Home and Native Brand

As per the Minister's Office, effective immediately, the words “Canada's New Government” are to be used instead of “the Government of Canada” in all departmental correspondence. Please note that the initial letters of all three words are capitalized. Thank you for your cooperation.

Why do newly elected officials think everything begins with them taking office? They are merely stewards for as long as the public allows. They are the Government of Canada. Nothing more. I shall use “Geological Survey of Canada” on my departmental correspondence to avoid any connection with “New Government.” The GSC, steward to Canada's earth resources for 164 years, is an institution worthy of my loyalty, as opposed to idiotic buzzwords coined by political hacks.

Given your strong though misdirected views of the role and authority of the Government as elected by the people, and your duty to reflect their decisions, I accept that you are immediately removing yourself from the Emeritus Program. I wish you every success in your future.

Although your knee-jerk response seems typical of Ottawa “mentality” these days, to give you the benefit of the doubt, it may have been mandated by our nervous minister. Of course, it is not a particularly rational decision, and perhaps you might reflect upon it. We of the GSC are used to taking the long view. Ministers come and go, but my talents will always remain available to the people of Canada.

This is not a knee-jerk reaction nor was it dictated by anyone. My decision stands and I await confirmation that it has been executed by the responsible GSC management.

I have just received the clarification of the usage policy for the term New Government, stating that the new wording is required only in documents prepared for or on behalf of Minister Lunn. This limited usage is consistent and appropriate. We would appear to have been victims of an unfortunate misunderstanding. My intransigence about the term was in protest about its misapplication, not a call for civil disobedience. I do understand the need to obey ministerial directives once I am given them clearly. If I can help calm the waters by issuing my own clarification and apology, I would be glad to do so.

Your reaction was and continues to be unacceptable for anyone associated with Public Service. My decision stands. As of yesterday you are no longer an emeritus scientist.

I concede that my memo was intemperate and deserving of a reprimand. It was, however, prompted by misinformation sent out by your staff. I don't expect that anything I might say now will change your mind, so I'll conclude with a few facts you will now have to live with. I'll come out of this a champion of common sense (except when it comes to sending memos), someone who tried to defuse a situation with humor and made an effort to restore calm. You'll come out as an intemperate, irrational manager who lacks the strength of character to reverse a hasty decision. Do you really want to be remembered as the only assistant deputy minister who sacked an emeritus scientist over such trivia? It is never too late to repair an unfortunate situation if everyone approaches it with an open mind and good intentions.