July 10, 2015

Here's why civil servants should be allowed to run for office, and the rules need to change

Brian LilleyArchive

Let's face it: Canadian civil servants are sometimes so busy politicking on the job, they should simply take a leave of absence and run for public office.

That's what two government lawyers want to do right now, but the Public Service Commission says they aren't allowed to.

The Commission says this would raise too many questions about their neutrality, were they to lose and return to their jobs.

But the two would-be candidates have already announced which parties they belong to. Their political leanings are now public knowledge, for better or worse.

On a more important note, these individuals say that the Commission's rules violate their Charter rights, and I agree with that.

Your job shouldn't prevent you from participating in the democratic process.

Shouldn't we salute these people for being honest about their beliefs, instead of trying to manipulate policy behind the scenes as unelected bureaucrats?

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commented 2015-07-10 21:03:02 -0400
I absolutely disagree with Fraser, Greig and Marty. Civil Servants at ALL government levels, be they municipal, provincial or federal, must have the same voting rights as any other citizen. They didn’t surrender their citizenship when they became civil servants. The only people who should be excluded from voting are non-citizens, convicted felons, underage children and the mentally disabled. You say they should be disqualified because they have a vested interest in the outcome of the election. Well, of course they do! So do you, so do I, so does every citizen of that Municipality, Province or Nation. The rest of us, that is non-government workers, may not be negotiating with the government for our wages and work benefits, but we certainly have a vested interest in how they spend our tax dollars and how much of those tax dollars they take from us. However, I do not believe any government employee has the right to promote any political party or candidate, or lobby for any political party or candidate, in their capacity as a civil servant. In fact I believe doing so should be grounds for immediate dismissal. However, I also disagree to a certain extent with Brian when he says Civil Servants should be allowed to run for political office. While I don’t think the mere fact of being a Civil Servant should automatically disqualify someone from running for political office, I believe running for political office should NOT be open to “career” Civil Servants. I’ve said this before on this sight, and nothing has happened to change my mind on this subject. I believe every candidate for political office should have experience as a business owner, or substantial experience holding down a full time job that actually contributes to the infrastructure or material needs of society. I hate the concept of “career” Politicians even more than “career” Civil Servants. Politics should be considered a service, not a career, and those who have not had experience building a business, or building something, or growing something are not qualified to tell the rest of us how to do it.
commented 2015-07-10 20:22:08 -0400
I disagree with all of you. I do not think there is a conflict of interest with federal public servants voting in the federal election because regardless of what party they vote for, they still have their job. Maybe I am just not seeing the conflict of interets here. Someone enlighten me.
commented 2015-07-10 20:00:20 -0400
My objection to why them running would be a conflict of interest in NOT because they are public servants….it is because they are lawyers. They want to work in a widget factory that continually produces new laws likw widgets on a production line…a feeding frenzy for lawyers.

I cannot think of any example of a service rendered to the public that would actually be jepardized by party affliation.

Sending riot police to break up a strike at the factory you own when you are the Minister of Industry (like Fleck did) is conflict of interest. Doing what the party whip makes you do or the policies of your department give you no choice to do otherwise is not.
commented 2015-07-10 19:56:34 -0400
I am not convinced they should even be allowed to vote.
commented 2015-07-10 18:29:53 -0400
The way these governments are growing there might not be anyone left TO vote lol
commented 2015-07-10 17:48:03 -0400
I think it would be more appropriate if they both resigned then reapplied if they lost like anyone in the private sector has to do.
commented 2015-07-10 17:15:35 -0400
Greig and Fraser, I agree with both of you, however, when did common sense enter into politics?
commented 2015-07-10 16:57:58 -0400
Fraser M. – Good common sense point.
commented 2015-07-10 16:43:12 -0400
It is my opinion that federal public servants should NOT be allowed to vote in Federal election due to the fact that voting in a Federal election is a contradiction to their job and public. By working for the Federal government they should give up that right to vote and so for the provincial and municipal government as they would have a vested interest in who won that election. It would be like letting the fox guard the hen house. Election should be fair and unsullied by politics or by political parties. It is also my opinion that candidates know about Canada an it’s history. geography and country, unfortunately I bet they could not, just look at the easy questions THE REBEL asked in on of their articles.