Which came first, the column or the Minister's 'new' idea?
Both were published today, Thursday June 25th, in the VSun (sans time stamp so I'm not entirely sure who was first as I'm just catching up now, at 7pm, due to busy sci-geek day).
Here's a bit from the 'double-happ(il)y' column by Mr. Palmer under the header 'Public Inquiry not always the best option':
...Happily, there are other options for getting answers and holding the government to account. The keys are independence, coupled with the ability to seek documents, summon witnesses, take testimony under oath and then to write a report that lets the chips fall where they may.
The independent officers of the legislature have the power to do all that and they exercise those powers whenever the need arises. They do so without the spectacle of public hearings and report back to the legislature in timely fashion.
Granted they sometimes incur substantial legal billings as well, though rarely to the extent of a public inquiry. In most instances, they complete their work on budget and in a matter of months.
Mindful of those possibilities, there have been suggestions — from Health Minister Terry Lake among others — to call in the auditor general on the health firings.
In an open letter to Lake Wednesday, seven fired researchers and the sister of an eighth who killed himself expressed a “strong preference” against the auditor general because of the office’s role in passing on the whistleblower complaint that led to the firings in the first place.
Happily there is another option, namely the provincial ombudsman. The leading precedent for that office to inquire into allegations of government wrongdoing was set back in the 1980s, when then ombudsman Stephen Owen reached some damning findings on political interference in the awarding of a pub licence on Knight Street in Vancouver....
And here's a bit from the happy Minister as reported by Rob Shaw:
...B.C.’s health minister says he’s considering asking the province’s independent ombudsperson to investigate the health firings scandal that has plagued the government.
Terry Lake told reporters Thursday that a probe into the botched firings of eight health researchers by the ombudsperson’s office is one way to conduct an independent inquiry without spending too much money or taking too much time.
Lake said asking for an independent watchdog to investigate the file would also address any conflict that exists between having members of the civil service, who were involved in the 2012 firings, continue to decide what information about the case can be released publicly.
“The office of the ombudsperson is potentially that,” Lake said, when asked Thursday...
Regardless who thought of this potential 'solution', (which the Keef has already given his blessing to, btw), all of this has me wondering...
As in why, suddenly, are the previously stonewalling Clarklandians now bending over backwards to pretend(?) that they are actually amenable to some kind of independent inquiry?
There is the following, which definitely did come out after both the 'column' and the Minister-babble late today, to consider:
Does anybody not understand the significance of this?