Sunday, March 12, 2006


CTV reports that contrary to past policy, the Cons government is demanding that several key diplomats resign to make room for new appointments:
CTV News has learned that five Canadian diplomats appointed by the Liberals have been asked to voluntarily pack up their bags and come home.

Sources say a senior bureaucrat in Foreign Affairs recently phoned the diplomats and told them that Frank McKenna, former ambassador to the United States, set the precedent by resigning so quickly after the election.

The bureaucrats urged the diplomats to follow McKenna's lead...

Diplomats have traditionally been allowed to serve their full terms even when there is a change in government.
It's particularly unimpressive that McKenna's departure for individual reasons (which until a week later appeared to include a desire to run for the Lib leadership) is now being cited as a basis for more systematic partisan appointments.

Fortunately, there is a voice of reason coming from the usual source:
The NDP's foreign affairs critic, Alexa McDonough, said these tactics smack of "intimidation." She says the Government should justify why these diplomats should return before their terms are up.

"If Canadian interests are being well served, they should be able to continue and fulfill their terms. If there's cause for removal then the government should make a case for their removal," McDonough said.
It seems all too likely that the Cons' response will be something to the effect that being in power means never having to justify one's actions. But of course, that thesis will receive a serious test once Parliament gets back in session. And if Harper doesn't have a particularly compelling reason to believe that the diplomats in question are falling short of the expected standard for their positions, then the clean-government vote should fall all the more squarely against the Cons next time Canada goes to the polls.

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