Saturday, May 30, 2009
Lover's loose tongue could land premier in inquiry
The Canadian Press
Chronicle-Herald - May 29 2009
YELLOWKNIFE — The premier of the Northwest Territories could lose his job if an inquiry determines a secret lover briefed him on the confidential discussions of opposition MLAs.
The territory’s conflict-of-interest commissioner has called for a formal hearing into a scandal that has been common knowledge around Yellowknife since last fall.
"It was a betrayal," said Dave Ramsay, one of six MLAs who asked Gerald Gerrand to examine the affair between Premier Floyd Roland and legislature clerk Patricia Russell.
At the time, Russell was clerk to several committees composed of MLAs not serving in cabinet. Under the territory’s consensus-style government, there are no political parties and MLAs who aren’t in cabinet function as a kind of opposition.
"We strategize like an opposition party," said Ramsay. "Having one of our staff members intimately linked to the premier should never have happened."
Fellow MLA Jane Groenewegen said committee meetings are used to talk about cabinet ministers and how well they’re performing.
"People want to feel like they can come in there and vent and lay all their cards on the table," she said. "There was a lot of frustration expressed in that room."
Both Russell and Roland have denied any information was shared, nor did Gerrand find any evidence to suggest that.
Ramsay said the issue is not Roland’s behaviour, but his judgment.
"I think the premier showed poor judgment in not getting her out of that situation," he said.
Gerrand seemed to agree.
"There clearly existed an unsatisfactory situation in late November 2008, respecting Ms. Russell’s role. Committees and their members are entitled to be served by a principal clerk . . . who has no emotional ties through a secret liaison with a member of executive council."
Russell declined to comment on the commissioner’s findings. Roland also declined a request from The Canadian Press for an interview.
The inquiry is to be led by a single investigator, who has the power to call witnesses, receive sworn testimony and allow cross-examination. It may be held in public.
If Roland is found to have breached conflict guidelines, penalties range from a rebuke in the legislature to a fine to loss of his office and/or seat.
Russell still works for the territory, but is no longer based at the legislature.
Full story HERE.
As with Gordo & Lara, having a ladyfriend embedded in the functions of a premier's office raises serious questions of judgment. The in-house ladyfriend "never far from his side" almost certainly could be expected to create an unhealthy need for official secrecy, which in turn could give rise to the possibility for blackmail. So it's about ethics in governance. Therefore, anyone elected to high office avoids having a wife, sister, son, or any relative with emotional ties working for them, realizing that it fosters an atmosphere of favouritism, unfairly placing regular government employees at a disadvantage. It seems pretty obvious that this form of oligarchy puts a premier's integrity at risk. Nobody suggests that a premier isn't free to have ladyfriends, if that's his bent. The serious public questions arise only when a premier decides to embed a ladyfriend right into the functions of a premier's office. It should raise questions in Victoria even more than in Yellowknife, because Lara is on the public payroll, at a very high salary, but she is neither elected by the people nor accountable to anybody but Gordo. Apparently, nobody is even allowed to photograph her. Isn't it time for a public inquiry in B.C., too? - BC Mary
Much more could be enunciated on moral rectitude, including personal integrity, and setting a good example. Sigh.
More people need to speak out...not in a judgmental or gossipy, sensational manner of course...but to emphasize that, while in public office, there is a huge responsibility to represent "the people", including a standard of dignity while not using the public purse to keep/maintain your paramour.
Governments at all levels have strayed far and wide from governance, they no long govern, they manage. Well, that expands on the subject at hand, but has relevance.
Great job as usual Mary!
Now you're talking, using the words I was trying to find.
It's not an easy topic, but it's a necessary topic ... and
not so terribly different from the innocent bystander who didn't know the rules about pretending the emperor has no clothes on.
We need some justice at some point in BC. It's been a very long 8 years......
It's not about "titillating trysts".
Don't let's get lost on that side-road leading nowhere.
If you double-check the comments above, you'll see that the serious issues are explained entirely in terms of responsible governance.
My concerns about El Gordo and his lady friend are how it affects us as a Province.
1) Why would an EA sit in on Policy Meetings? Did she have input as to what the policies should be?
2) She is not elected by the citizens therefore she should be treated the same as any other EA in the government! How is it she has produced the highest expenses ever seen by someone in that role? Why is she worth such a high salary when compared to others in her "line of work"?
3) Why is no one "allowed" to photograph her? Why is the media being so obedient? Are there children involved?
4) Has the premier divorced his wife, and not made it public? Why did she move out, return to her maiden name?
WHERE ARE THE "JOURNALISTS" PAID BY PROFESSIONAL MEDIA MOGULS? WHY ARE THEY SO SCARED TO TELL THE TRUTH? WHO OWNS WHOM?!
What puppetmaster does?
I think she runs BC and I'm talking evil queen. Gordo doesn't even know-o, yet.
I think you're in the wrong Territory ...
Lara has nothing to do with this posting.
I'd certainly like to know more about Lara, wouldn't you? I don't see her as "evil" at all ... she was just out of University when she entered into the BC Liberal constituency office of Gordo. What on earth held her attention there, is indeed fascinating.
I've heard from an insider that every member of the BC Liberal caucus (then in Opposition) spent more time together in caucus than they spent at home with their families.
If you think about that: it comes close to "total immersion" or, in another context, brainwashing.
If there's evil afoot, I think it points in a different direction.
My apologies for the hasty post...
sometimes I sizzle. Forgive me.
I don't find Lara fascinating. Gordo does - my question is at what cost to BC? Just out of university is no child...
Again, I'm truly sorry.
I did not say that Lara was/is fascinating. My whole point is: we don't know anything about her!
Look at what I said: "What on earth held her attention there, is indeed fascinating."