Monday, June 21, 2004

It's a path that leads you only one place, horrible to retrace

Am I the only one who considers it improper for Ottawa's deputy police chief to be openly backing the Liberals? I mean, endorsements by the federal public service union I can understand; they couldn't be non-partisan if they tried. Of course they'll endorse whoever promises to grow the federal government, and to hell with the taxpayers at large. That's expected, if terrible. At the municipal level is another matter entirely. Mayor Chiarelli and the city councillors are politicians at another level of government, with biases and favourites all their own; I'd be disappointed if they didn't back federal candidates of their choosing to some degree. But city employees? City employees need to be quiet. How can we be sure that those known to lean Conservative - having signs on their lawns, and such - aren't going to be unfairly harassed or targeted in some way at Deputy Chief Hill's order? I'm not saying it's likely (at least not overtly), but isn't this the kind of machine politics we were glad to leave behind in the 19th century? It's shades of the Democrats and Tammany Hall in NYC under Boss Tweed, or Joe Kennedy's Boston. That's worrisome. Municipal employees today need to avoid even the appearance of political impropriety, because they can have such direct impact on voters' day-to-day lives.

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