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Lapdog Wanted

March 2, 2010 permalink

The government may be ridding itself of André Marin, not by firing him, but by letting his contract expire. Look for a more tame replacement.



Dalton McGuinty dodgeball: Blizzard

Critics Andre Marin and Gord Miller exposed the premier, now their jobs are in jeopardy

Watch for this ad coming soon to the Help Wanted section of the Ontario government website:

Wanted: Ombudsman

Salary: $228,000-plus per year.

Job Description: Once seen as a pitbull crusading for the rights of the little guy, the McGuinty government would like to return the job to the role of lapdog.

Attack dogs need not apply. Successful candidate must enjoy rolling over and having tummy tickled.

Qualifications: Must speak fluent bafflegab. An ability to communicate clearly and directly with taxpayers and the media will be regarded as a definite no-no.

And adherence to “rulitis” is a must. For those of you with short memories, “rulitis” is the name given to lazy, uncaring or incompetent civil servants who stick to the rules even when the sensible or compassionate thing to do was to use common sense.

The person who invented that word was Andre Marin, who presently holds the ombudsman’s job, but who, along with Environment Commissioner Gord Miller, has been told his five-year contract will not automatically be renewed.

They will both have to re-apply for their own jobs.

Opposition critics say Marin’s and Miller’s outspoken criticism of the government has prompted the review.

In the legislature on Thursday, Tory critic Ted Arnott asked if there was a connection between this move and a report that Marin has in the works into the government’s Local Health Integration Networks, specifically into the decision-making process that went into hospital closures in Niagara. The Tories have been slamming the Liberals over “sweetheart deals” with regards to the LHINs.

Arnott quoted Marin saying, “There is a lot of public concern about the accountability and transparency of the LHIN.

“Now this move comes just before the ombudsman reports on the premier’s special pet project. Why is shining a light on the Liberal government’s dirty secrets a firing offence, while handing out millions of dollars in untendered contracts gets you promoted?” Arnott asked.

Premier Dalton McGuinty says opening up the jobs to all applicants is fair.

“There’s a lot of Ontarians that are interested in those jobs,” McGuinty told reporters on Wednesday.

“I think the fair thing to do in the circumstances going forward is to have an opportunity for folks who already have these jobs to reapply and for others who are interested on the outside to get a shot at this as well,” he said.

That’s a little feeble, if you ask me.


Marin has been a pain in the butt for the Liberals. Then again, he’s a non-partisan pain. He’d skewer any government, regardless of stripe. Taxpayers, cancer patients, lottery players, crime victims — and countless others — thank him for that.

Someone has to speak for those who have difficulty speaking for themselves.

Marin’s reports have taken a bite out of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, they’ve slammed the uncaring treatment victims of crime received from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

And when the government dragged its heels fixing the mess with the lottery corporation, it was Marin who prodded them into it.

Ditto for funding the cancer drug Avastin.

I understand getting a plum government job shouldn’t be a shoo-in. The process should be transparent.

But neither should independent officers of the legislature fear for their jobs if they are outspoken in their criticism of the government.

McGuinty is sending a chilly message: Yes men only need apply.

What person with any integrity would take either the environment commissioner’s or the ombudsman’s job when that writing is on the wall?

Of course, Marin has one option. The premier himself is on a renewable contract. Marin could run for office next year.

Think about it. He’s feisty, outspoken and fearless.

He’d be a breath of fresh air around here.

Source: Toronto Sun