Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why the employees at Industry Canada are happy

Apparently our ministry of environment decided last spring that they could not longer extend the funding to fully manage the United Nations water monitoring program that Canada has run for the last thirty years.

The program collects data from 2,600 global monitoring stations and then reports it’s findings on a scientific database that is used by scientists and environmentalists in 70 countries around the world.

Originally funded by a Liberal government trust fund, the program was determined to be expendable by the departments management team, as part of the government wide reviews that the Harper government is always talking about.
We considered within the department at our management board last spring whether there was any opportunity to replenish the trust fund, and we could not find one reported, reported John Carey, the acting assistant deputy minister, last week.
In other words there was no way that they were going to get funding for a Liberal program that their minister Baird, the then current anti-environment minister thought was archaic.

After all it was liberal and had something to do with protecting the environment.

So the pragmatic bureaucrats at the ministry cut funding, laying off two scientists that interpreted the data and kept three employees, working out of two offices to post the data up on a web site.

Well the shit hit the fan on Thursday, or at least as much the shit in scientific circles hits fans, and there was criticism of Canada’s abandonment of the program and some good shots taken about how Harper is changing Canada’s perception in the world.

We certainly can’t have that and Jim Prentice our new environment minister (formerly at Industry Canada), who up until then was silent on the issue, got the call and immediately jumped into action.
Prentice says he, and only he, will rank top issues - and they include the system to track dwindling water supplies in more than 70 countries.

We'll continue to fund the program at the level it has been funded. I made that very clear to the department and no one has my authority to disagree with that.
Oh so it was just an confused bureaucrat that spoke out of turn and this means that Canada will be restoring the funding, hiring back scientists.... Well unfortunately not.
I'll deal with the funding issues with the department, our minister further responded.

My point is that we are carrying on with this project. And any statement to the contrary was made incorrectly and without my authority.
No the point is Minister, your management style sucks.

The bureaucrat was simply stating fact and the shit storm raised was small in comparison to what you are going to facing in your new assignment.

This appears to be another one those times that you are speaking before you know what is actually going on, similar to your text messaging fiasco over at Industry Canada in the summer.

What you should of done was keep your mouth shut or come out with some bain response like Harper and Baird do all the time.

Something like “Canada will continue to play a key role on the international stage".

Instead you attack your employee, one that sounds like he actually know what is going on at Environment Canada.

Yep the the employees at Industry Canada are celebrating.

Reference: From Macleans here, and the original announcement from CBC here.

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