Column: Senior government woes

Summertime living is supposed to be easy, but it’s hard to feel easy with so much worrisome stuff in the news.

Summertime living is supposed to be easy, but it’s hard to feel easy with so much worrisome stuff in the news.

Mount Polley Mine has been front and centre in the local worry department for almost a year. We’re supposed to have some answers this month.

Things are going wonky with our senior governments. Trouble is brewing over the Site C Dam. There are more reasons against building it than for it but the Clark government barges ahead. Then there is the matter of the province’s wrongful dismissal of eight health researchers in 2012. They were having a look at the safety of prescription drugs, and at the time of their firing the government said they were under RCMP investigation. They were not. There was no evidence for a police investigation. Since then one researcher committed suicide and the others are demanding an independent investigation.

The Premier has apologized. There have been five investigations, none got to the bottom of the affair. There are suggestions the government wanted the researchers gone because it didn’t like what they were finding.

Responding to howls from the researchers, whistle blowers, opposition members, the former auditor general and the mainstream media, Health Minister Terry Lake has asked that the new ombudsman investigate. That’s not flying well because the ombudsman has just moved up from the Justice Ministry which was involved in the firings.

The big question is who benefited from the firings. Why the stalling? Will this end up like the BC Rail inquiry?

I won’t mention all the woes in Ottawa, but it does seem that our systems for ensuring the oversight and accountability of governments aren’t working well, which leaves us with the courts to look after our interests. Or the United Nations. Two Canadian groups are taking Bill C-51, the anti-terrorist legislation, to the U.N.’ s Human Rights Committee. That’s embarrassing.

Oh well. Let’s enjoy the summer weather before it turns on us.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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