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."....
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."....