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Accountability & Democratic Renewal

Conservatives unfairly target Canadians who speak truth to power

Posted on August 19, 2010

With the sidelining of RCMP gun registry Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak and Veterans Ombudsman Col. Pat Stogran, the Harper Conservatives have shown a pattern of ousting distinguished Canadians who speak truths that go against their ideological agenda, Liberal Public Works and Government Services Critic Martha Hall Findlay said today.

“The Conservatives want puppets, not professionals,” said Ms. Hall Findlay. “Time and time again, the Harper Conservatives show contempt for watchdogs and distinguished public servants who’ve had the courage to speak truth to power.”

Today, a media report emerged that CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein and vice-chair Michel Arpin may be next – raising the spectre that the Harper Conservatives intend to politically influence Canadian media.

“The Conservatives steamroll anyone who dares to put police safety, veterans issues or accurate facts in the way of their political agenda.  They’re accountable to no one but themselves, and if they don’t like what their senior officials have to say, they shoot the messenger and replace them with someone more compliant.”

The Liberal Party today released a slideshow featuring a dozen high-ranking watchdogs and officials who have been fired, forced out, harassed or publicly maligned by this government for refusing to put Conservative ideology before the public interest.  The list includes:

•    Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director General of the Canada Firearms Program
•    Col. Pat Stogran, Veterans Ombudsman
•    Linda Keen, chair of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
•    Peter Tinsley, head of the Military Police Complaints Commission
•    Paul Kennedy, chair of the RCMP Police Complaints Commission
•    Adrian Measner, President and CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board
•    Munir Sheikh, head of Statistics Canada
•    Steve Sullivan, Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
•    Kevin Page, Parliamentary Budget Officer
•    Richard Colvin, Canadian diplomat
•    Remy Beauregard, chair of Rights & Democracy

“The ordeal faced by each of these distinguished Canadians shows just how intolerant the Conservatives are of dissent based on factual information,” said Ms. Hall Findlay.

“Stephen Harper must stop adding names to his ‘enemies list’ and start accepting constructive criticism for what it is – helpful advice that can make the Government of Canada better and more responsive to its citizens,” she concluded.

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