Monday, May 14, 2007

What's in a "Witch Hunt"?

Nation, as most of you know by now, a low-level employee with Environment Canada leaked copies of the federal government's environment strategy to multiple news outlets ahead of their actual release date. He was arrested for this, although it was later determined that charges wouldn't stick due to lack of evidence.

He now has come out and decried the government's "heavy-handed" tactics as a "witch hunt".

Let's just review the term, shall we?

A "witch hunt" is what you call it when the government needs a scape goat, finds someone who DIDN'T do anything wrong but belongs to a certain group you can blame, and sacrifices the "offender" on the altar of "accountability".

The employee in question (whose 15 minutes are CLEARLY over, so I am avoiding using his name) allegedly leaked sensitive documents, in flagrant violation of the Oath he took as a condition of employment. That, boys and girls, isn't a witch hunt - it's a termination, with cause. If you PROMISE your boss you won't do something, as a condition of employment, and then you go ahead and do it - you lied. You're fired. If you lie on your resume, and the boss finds out after hiring you - you lied. You're fired. This man took an oath, likely very similar to the one *I* took before entering the Public Service of Alberta, and then did something contrary to that oath - he lied. He's fired.

Not a witch hunt, sir. A firing with cause. Whether you think the government is immoral, or spin-doctoring, or committing heinous acts against future generations, is irrelevant. If you promise not to do something, and then you do it, there are consequences. If you wanted to make a statement, you should have quit your job. To use the access that job gave you to steal and then distribute sensitive materials... that is contrary to your oath. You lied. You're fired. That's not a witch-hunt - that's called accountability. It's something civilization expects from those who want to be a part of it. If you want pointers on responsible and accountable protest of government policy, go watch "Gandhi". Take notes.

- ES

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree on the duty of the employee. I agree the Harper government is within their rights and in fact I suggest they are obligated to fire the guy, if the allegations stick.

What I don't see as appropriate was the public way it was done in this case. The contract employee was handcuffed with the media called to record it all. That does not necessarliy make it a "witch hunt" but it sure makes a serious issues into a circus.

It sure sends a chilling message to other employees about how they will be handled while they remain innocent but accused...not even arrested. That was clearly the purpose here.

Bullying was what I saw and it is worthy of a damning condemnation of the values and respect the Harper Cons show for the Rule of Law too.

These are nasty guys who will do what it takes to gain power. Not the kind of people to whom I will give my consent to be governed.