OTTAWA– Liberal International Cooperation critic Mark Eyking made the following statement today on the Conservative government’s changes to the Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) code of conduct:
“The recent Conservative actions to politicize CIDA and muzzle its staff are appalling and must stop.
Instead of listening to workers’ concerns about the long-reach of the Prime Minister’s Office hampering CIDA’s work, Minister Julian Fantino instituted a draconian ‘loyalty oath’ forbidding public criticism of the agency and its representatives. In so doing, this government has ostensibly eliminated all opportunities for substantive discussions about the success or failure of projects and lessons learned.
This change goes far beyond Treasury Board guidelines; in effect, it constitutes a gag order on public servants that will have an especially chilling effect during a time of deep cuts.
It is ironic that democracy building is part of CIDA’s mandate, and yet the Conservatives won’t allow democracy or even freedom of expression within the agency itself.”