Thursday, June 04, 2009

CTV and Ministerial Responsibility

The recent controversy regarding the matter of a binder containing sensitive government documents is very troubling. The binder was left at CTV offices and the fact Lisa Raitt, Natural Resources minister, made no request to CTV to recover the documents for a number of days is also troubling. Further, it is troubling that CTV may have breached the ethics bar when they chose to go through the confidential government documents and report some of their findings on CTV news. The media apparently will stop at nothing to get a story or ruin a career. The professional response would have been to contact the minister immediately and return the documents. Was the good of Canada served by the actions of CTV over a human error on the part of the minister and her staff?

The fact that the minister has not resigned and that the Prime Minister has chosen to make Raitts' staff person, 26-year-old Jasmine Macdonnell resign and take the fall is the most troubling of all. You have to question the governments hiring policy for ministerial staff. Jasmine Macdonnell apparently has significant ties to the liberal party. Do you have to have a membership in the conservative party to work for a minister wherein you are privy to confidential documents?

The minister has a degree in chemistry and in law so it is reasonable to conclude that she is a pretty bright person. Controversy has surrounded this minister in and out of politics. She is the minister and gets paid the big bucks. It is assumed that Macdonnell was the person who failed and left confidential documents at CTV. Is a minister of the government not personally responsible for their staff while they are together on an assignment? Minister Raitt is a smart person and should have taken the time to assure that her staff and her documents were altogether before leaving CTV. Taking days before finally missing the binder full of sensitive and confidential material before recovering the binder from CTV is simply unacceptable.

The minister, Lisa Raitt, should have resigned along with her staff person, Jasmine Macdonnell regardless of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to not accept the offer to resign by minister Lisa Raitt. I believe the minister is ultimately responsible for her actions and those of her staff. What else will the government blame on their staff?