Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Have The Politicalized PABsters Become The Policy?


Rob Shaw, writing in the VT-C after talking to UVIC poli-sci guy Norman Ruff, has come up with an interesting angle on the document-dump Friday appointment of Christy Clark's bridesmaid to head the PABsters last week:

Premier Christy Clark's decision to appoint someone from her office to oversee government communications is a further politicization of what's supposed to be a nonpartisan civil service, a longtime political analyst says.

"It's this phenomenon of the politicization of the senior bureaucracy, and that's a pretty established trend," said Norman Ruff, political science professor emeritus at the University of Victoria. "The line is getting blurred between policy orientation and politicization."

Clark's deputy minister of corporate priorities, Athana Mentzelopoulos, was named deputy minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government on Friday.

She'll oversee the communications and public engagement office, a $26million operation with 197 full-time employees. She'll report to minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

The civil service is supposed to run in a nonpartisan manner, focused on the best interests of the provincial government and its citizens, rather than the political consequences and partisan interests of the governing party and its politicians.

"Your prime focus is effective, efficient public policy," said Ruff. "Where you get people playing on both teams, it undermines the quality of the policy process."....

{snippety doo-dah}

Clark's decision to put a trusted lieutenant in charge of communications shows her focus, Ruff said.

"Policy, especially under Clark, has become very much about communications," he said. "It's about talk rather than action."....


Here's the thing.

The PAB has been heavily politicized since, well, since Ms. Mentzelopoulos ran it for Gordon Campbell way back when.

So, personally, we don't see that this is any change in direction whatsoever.

Now, don't get us wrong.

We definitely think that having the Bridesmaid revisit the partisan communications monster that she helped create is a bad thing.

But, what we think is a much, much, much worse thing, indeed, is that we continue to spend $30,000,000 per year* to pay for 200 full-time positions that are then used to Wurlitzer-up breathless press releases that nobody ever reads, snap pics at photo-ops that few eyeballs ever see, produce an endless stream of YouTube videos that that nobody ever watches, and monitor tiny little F-Troop-list blogs like this one that are a threat to no one whatsoever.


Put another way, why are we paying all these people to do all this so-called important stuff that doesn't actually do anything for anyone when, for example, as far as I'm aware we still have only a handful of full-time Park Rangers in this province?

*According to the $50K/year price the (not)Premier put on the heads of the adult disabled, approximately 600 extra folks that need our help most could be cared for every single year if we just let ministerial assistants do this communications fluff work so that we could eliminate the PAB entirely.
Speaking of docu-dump Fridays, we've got a hella one coming up this week....Wonder what the surprise announcement(s) will be this time 'round.


1 comment:

cfvua said...

Eliminate PAB completely and punish the folks that dreamt it up as well. You hit the nail on the head perfectly. We, as in taxpayers, don't need or want them and are more than capable of smelling rot on our own. No wonder some of the glorious think tankers say we have " productivity" problems. Some of them might get jobs adding value in society rather than taking it away in order to protect certain political derrieres......err .....cleavage.... well, you know.