Thursday, June 04, 2009

Guilt vs Responsibility

This business of Prime Minister Stephen Harper not accepting the resignation of Natural Resource Minister Lisa Raitt for losing "secret" documents brings two things to mind.

First, what is it with Cabinet Ministers and secret documents?! First it's Maxime Bernier forgetting documents and now Raitt (or her unlucky aide.)

Other countries don't need to send spies here, all they need do is invite a Cabinet Minister over for dinner and wait and see which state secrets are left behind.

The other thing about this mini-scandal, is that it suggests to me Harper is softening his management style.

I say that because it just isn't like the Harper I know to let Raitt off the hook the way he did.

Back in his days at the National Citizens Coalition, when I worked with him, he never tolerated it when an NCC staffer tried to excuse failure by blaming it on some factor outside his or her control.

I remember one time in particular Harper was letting into an NCC staffer who screwed up on something (It wasn't me, thank God) and the poor guy tried to defend himself by saying "You can't blame me for this; it wasn't my fault.

To which Stephen replied, "I didn't say it was your fault; I said it was your responsibility."


Ted Betts said...

It has become a bit of a habit unfortunately.

Harper was quick to highlight that it was a staffer, Ryan Sparrow, who sent that email about the father of a dead soldier.

Quick to point out that it was staffers who put together the juvenile animation of the bird crapping on Dion as part of their campaign strategy.

Quick to blame a staffer for his own plagiarisms.

I think he has an infallibility complex.

caz said...

Seems to me all you're saying is that SOMEBODY has to accept responsibility but it better not be the actual dipsticks who screwed up. It's all the same. it's Harper's job to manage the situation. He's doing that.Screaming/Crying for people's heads during question period just has to stop. I'm getting so bored with it all. Time for everyone to grow up. But then again it wouldn't be too much fun blogging if everyone was behaving themselves.

Anonymous said...

You are the boss - with the comes the responsibilities and the big bucks.

With that being said, everyone knows that s*&t tends to trickle down.

Anonymous said...

Just Like Chretien or Martin took full responsibility for the sponsorship program right?

caz said...

WOW...most CEO's in my neck of the woods make tons more money than PMSH. He did accept did Lisa. You can't possibly think that every boss should be fired for the mistakes of thier staff??? That's just more dolescent/immature/naive BS. The only problem here is your definition of responsibility vs mine. They're different...obviously.

Ted Betts said...

Anonymous 11:46:

There's the big difference between Conservatives and Liberals, I guess.

When there are questionable actions in the Conservative Party, Harper will blame it on an underling, so it doesn't cost them politically.

When there are questionable actions in the Liberal Party, the Liberal leader will call in the authorities to investigate or hold an inquiry to get to the truth, even if costs them politically.

Ted Betts said...


"The only problem here is your definition of responsibility vs mine. They're different...obviously."

Yeah, one definition has the authority of the Constitution, the weight of Canadian and British democratic history and the backing of Harper's previously held principles... the other has the logic of the passing the buck and avoiding responsibility.

Which one sounds more conservative to you?

Anonymous said...

You mean the Liberals have an inquiry like the Gomery commission which was very limited in its scope? Still wondering where all that Adscam money went...

Jean Lapierre the ex-Transport Minister and commentator said this morning that he saw many instances during his time in office of documents going astray.

Why did CTV hang on to the documents for so long?

I think Harper wants to hang on to Raitt because she has lots of potential.