Editorial Board 1999-2000
Here we go again...
Here we go again...
The federal government has got to get its financial house in order.
That, or at least hire new cover-up agents who are worth their salt, because the current squad isn't doing its job and the headlines are proving it.
After coming under daily fire from Members of Parliament across the country for its billion dollar blunder, Human Resources Development Canada now has a new cell-mate in the hearts and minds of cynics everywhere. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency was recently bilked out of a million dollars in federal money for a non-existent herbal medicine company on the East Coast.
This time, the feds' only saving grace was the presence of mind to become suspicious of the pretend proprietor and call in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate.
One immutable truth in this universe is that the government will always be subject to assailants looking to raid the financial cookie jar and this case is no different but how much faith is the average Canadian now expected to have in a system whose cheque book must look like a blind man's colouring book? Although truth usually sets one free, in this case, the truth is making the government prisoners in their own purported war against corruption.
It would not be a stretch to assume that if the same types of monumental mistakes were made south of the border, those in charge would be quickly relieved of their duties. It seems as if the word "federal" has become a mainstay in all sentences including the words "allegation" and "shoddy-management."
So what can the federal government do to regain the confidence of people who have been so reluctant to give it to them in the first place? Step one would be to admit to wrongdoings followed by swift pink-slip placements onto all the desks of the high profile managers involved. Someone has to take the blame.
In the meantime, it seems as though the feds are playing their wait-and-see cards in the hopes yesterday's news will quickly disintegrate in the minds of the Canadian people. This strategy, however, will not work as long as new reports of misappropriation and botched grant procedures jump into the media as often as the sun comes up.
The bottom line, however, says in an election year, admitting mistakes could be disastrous for the party in power and will therefore be avoided at all costs by Chrétien and friends. To expect some form of explanation from the government addressing a scandal in which they themselves played the lead role, would be expecting too much.
Who would have thought getting the government of any day to confess to its mistakes would be harder than delivering a balanced budget and planning out a country's economic prosperity? This world is full of surprises.