International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino’s response to partisan statements posted on Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) fails to address the greater issue of the Conservatives repeated disregard for Treasury Board guidelines.
“The Minister has ignored the rules and is blaming the public service for his mistakes,” said NDP Ethics critic Charlie Angus. “Leave it to the conservatives to ring in the New Year by breaking guidelines and wasting government resources on partisan attacks.”
The Minister’s op-ed, which was posted to the CIDA website earlier this month, contravenes the government’s communications policies, which are set out by the Treasury Board Secretariat led by Tony Clement, and which require public service communications to be non-partisan.
“This is just the latest example of the Harper Conservatives’ disregard for Treasury Board rules,” said NDP Treasury Board critic Mathieu Ravignat. “Instead of blaming this on bureaucratic error the Minister should take responsibility for his inappropriate and partisan use of government resources.”
“How can Canadians have any faith that Conservatives will start following the rules when it is left to serial rule breaker Tony Clement to police his cabinet colleagues,” added Angus.
Treasury Board guidelines state that it is the policy of the Government of Canada to:
- Safeguard Canadians' trust and confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Public Service of Canada.
Public service managers and employees are expected to provide information services in a non-partisan fashion consistent with the principles of parliamentary democracy and ministerial responsibility.
- "Effective and Accountable Management":"providing communications support and advice to ministers and senior officials on (non-partisan) government matters, including the preparation of speeches, news releases, briefing notes, presentations, memoranda and correspondence"
- Under "Values and Ethics": informing the public about policies, programs, services and initiatives in an accountable, non-partisan fashion consistent with the principles of Canadian parliamentary democracy and ministerial responsibility.