Paving the way for Tories – feedback (cont.)

Ousted DM Louis Ranger

Departing DM Louis Ranger

Our post on the skewing of paving projects under the federal Infrastructure Stimulus Plan elicited the following e-mail from someone who claims to be (and sounds very much like) a senior official inside Transport Canada:

I wondered how long it would take for the media to discover that the infrastructure stimulus spending has everything to with patronage, and nothing to do with what is good for the nation. [Deputy Minister Louis] Ranger [whose retirement was announced yesterday] was pushed out of the job and told, “We don’t want your advice” regarding the spending projects.  Indeed, the woman who is the ADM in charge of the file has been specifically told by the Minster’s office, “We don’t want your advice; we want you to do as you’re told.”

Projects are selected based on the needs of the Conservative Member of Parliament in that riding as the first criteria. As a long time bureaucrat, I am used to dealing with politicians who revel in self-interest. Baird however, is the nastiest, most partisan creature to have ever run a large department. What is best for Canada isn’t even remotely of interest to him – what is best for his party and his own political ambitions drives his agenda entirely.

The Conservative party does not understand the nature of a professional public service. Indeed, they seem to believe we are all minions for Iggy or Jack and none of us are to be trusted. As you can imagine, the morale of senior executives government-wide is depressingly low as we find our political masters to be blindly-partisan, self-interested and ignorant to what is in the best interest of Canada.

Contrarian can’t attest to the veracity of our anonymous correspondent’s comments, but it is worth nothing that Ranger, a 35-year veteran of the civil service, spent most of his career in transportation and public infrastructure. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Ottawa and a master’s degree in economics from the Transport Research Centre of the University of Montreal, where his thesis, apparently, dealt with infrastructure funding. Why would the Tories want his advice?

Anyone else in the civil service care to offer concurring or dissenting views?