Sunday, April 03, 2011

(Not) a Coalition Red Flag

Proposed ministerial code of conduct a worthy idea

In another time and place, a recent proposal by NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar and former Public Service Alliance President Nycole Turmel would have been a warning sign that the NDP was planning to try to form a coalition government following the election.

Yesterday, it actually wasn't -- although it may yet be interpreted that way.

Together with Turmel, the NDP's candidate in Hull-Aylmer, Dewar announced the NDP's proposed code of conduct for government Ministers.

It's important to note that few details of the code of conduct have actually been released.

But over the past ten years in Canada, the behaviour of many government Ministers has grown intolerably out-of-control. Bev Oda's alteration of paperwork recommending funding for KAIROS is merely the most recent in a litany of Ministers failing to deliver the ethical goods for Canadians.

(The decision being implemented -- denying funding to KAIROS -- was actually the right one. It was the means by which the decision that was implemented that was wrong.)

Some may point to the proposed Ministerial code of conduct as evidence that the NDP has been giving thought -- a lot of thought -- to what they would expect of ministers in a Liberal/NDP coalition. But in reality it points to a great deal of thought to what Canadians hould expect from a government Minister, period.

The idea of a Ministerial code of conduct is an idea that should be embraced universally by all of Canada's political parties. It is admittedly a sad state of reality that neither of Canada's governing parties is likely to fully embrace it.

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