Geoffrey Stevens's blog

So much for full public disclosure!

Full public disclosure is a principle that politicians embrace as though it were Holy Writ when they are on the outside looking in. But when they are inside, sitting around the cabinet table and deciding how much information to share with the public, it is a different story. As little as possible becomes the mantra.

Canadians have seen this evolution occur in the last two political regimes. Justin Trudeau was an ardent advocate for open government when campaigning in 2015 to unseat the Conservatives, who had run a famously secretive regime under Stephen Harper.

Failure to control political corruption undermines democracy

Once a year, Transparency International, a Berlin-based NGO, publishes a massive survey on corruption among the nations of the world.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, as it is called, gives national leaders, international businessmen, academics and journalists a tool with which to compare the honesty and integrity of the public sectors in no fewer than 180 countries world-wide.

Why did the unicorn lose his job?

In Canada, prime ministers do not publicly fire ambassadors.

From time to time, they are removed from their posts for reasons of job performance or policy differences, but the axe is wielded by the foreign affairs minister or, more likely, by the deputy minister or a subordinate.

And the cause, if any is given, will be obscured in a fog of bureaucratic opaqueness.

Until John McCallum, that is.

Trying to find sanity in the wacky world of today’s politics

Do you get the sense that political world has gone off its rails?

In Washington, the president has shut down a good part of the federal government for a month because he is in a snit over the refusal of Congress to give him $5.7 billion for a 30-foot wall to protect the United States from its southern neighbour, friend, ally and trading partner, Mexico. It’s a wall that everyone, except Trump and his core supporters, agrees will do nothing to achieve its stated purpose of keeping illegal drugs out of the U.S.

It’s time to Make Ontario Great Again

Hon. Doug Ford,
Queen’s Park,
Toronto, Ontario

My dear Premier Ford:

It’s me again, Sir, your faithful fan out here in the foothills of Ford Nation.

I’ve already written to you a couple of times, first to commend your efforts to return Ontario to the glories of the 1950s, and subsequently to endorse your invocation of the notwithstanding clause to subdue that twit, John Tory, the mayor of Toronto.