Friday, February 22, 2013

On responsibility

Leftdog has already weighed in on one key connection to be drawn based on the latest news about the siphoning of money from a supposed attempt to toward insiders with a sole-sourced deal to provide computers at inflated prices. But let's look at a couple more points arising out of the story.
All of this seems to contradict what Donna Harpauer, the government minister responsible, told the NDP Opposition last June.

"The contract cost was within the acceptable range for similar goods and services and the goods and services were necessary," Harpauer said at the time.

Now, Harpauer says she made that claim based on what she had been told by government members on the IPAC board.

Asked recently if it sounded like taxpayers got value for their money, she said no.
Now, the combination of public funding and government board representation would seem to make it obvious that Brad Wall can't escape direct responsibility for the misuse of public money. But the Sask Party is now pointing fingers at its own representatives for providing false information, while trying to pretend it doesn't bear responsibility for having appointed them in the first place. (Which should put to rest any pretense that the Sask Party's communications philosophy differs at all from the finger-pointing and distraction so favoured by the Harper Cons.)

That said, if the Wall regime had been particularly concerned about any long-term results from IPAC, it presumably would have put more thought into who it appointed and how it tracked IPAC's activities. Instead, the fact that IPAC was billed for millions of dollars for little of value without anybody noticing at the time suggests that this was simply another example of Wall wanting to be able to make an announcement tangentially connected to climate change, while being at best ambivalent as to whether or not it succeeded.

As a result, the IPAC/CVI debacle serves as a case in point as to the dangers of that model based on publicity rather than results. But it's hardly the only example of the Wall government's efforts to draw confusing lines between funding and responsibility. And the combination of incompetent administration and a lack of idea what funding is intended to accomplish offers an all-too-clear invitation for abuse - leaving us to wonder just how many of the Sask Party's "innovative" announcements are really only creating opportunities for growth in the fields of rent-seeking and scam artistry.

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