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A friend of mine wrote the following as he graduation quote in his high school yearbook: “nobody wants to hear that you will try your best. It is the wrong thing to say. It’s like saying ‘I probably won’t hit you with a shovel.’ Suddenly, everyone’s afraid you will do the opposite.” I don’t know if this is a old proverb or something of his own writing, but it’s a saying worth repeating to a few people tasked with leading our governments. Namely, those on Parliament Hill who have drawn up a very questionable contract they are forcing all Hill Staff to sign, and those in Toronto City Hall.

Hopefully, the reader is as tired of caring about the antics of Rob Ford as I am, so I will only briefly discuss his picking up of the proverbial shovel. On Thursday, after being asked a question about his health and sobriety, Ford responded, “You’re never going to catch me at the liquor store. You’re never going to catch me doing anything illegal.” Ford even tempted the reporter, saying, “you can follow me to and from work all you want – because I know people do that.”


It is reported Ford then made this gesture to the reporter and said, “Na na na na na na!”
Nick White/Photodisc/Getty Images


Well, the words have been uttered. All we can do now is brace ourselves, and pray that the blow will never come. By taking solace in the karmic forces of the universe and hoping that the above proverb works both ways, Ford also said, “I guarantee you, when I’m re-elected, we’re not buying new streetcars.” Fingers crossed that all that happens. You know what I’m saying, universe?  You definitely owe us one.

But enough with the unacceptably ordinary news of Toronto’s city hall.  Now we turn to Parliament Hill where the Speaker’s office has likewise been seen parading their trowels about.  They have confirmation of a new order to be signed by Hill Staff that definitely does not imply that the government is up to anything suspicious.


A trowel, the shovel’s dubious younger brother.
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The proposed order would greatly restrict Hill Staff’s ability to share information. An email sent to Hill journalists from a pseudonymous account highlighted some of the agreement’s parameters, which include the lifetime application of the contract and the fact that any breach can result in immediate termination without pay or notice. The author of the email also wrote, “At a time when some parliamentarians are moving to create a more open and transparent Parliament, the [House of Commons’] Board of Internal Economy is putting measures in place to ensure parliamentary staff can’t be whistleblowers on their employers.” Anthony Salloum, head of the union that represents most NDP staffers on the Hill, told CBC, “many of my colleagues were asked to sign this form in order to receive their raises.” The fine print of the order even goes as far to make the contract survive past the termination of employment.

Now, I’m not one to start assuming, but a strict whistleblowing deterrent contract enforced on Parliament Hill employees that’s allusive of a noire postage service? Are you trying to get people to think the government is up to something? Because this is how you get people to think the government is up to something.

From the circus of Toronto’s municipal government to the wry conduct of our federal government, the impudence is astounding. Let’s face it, Canadians are just too gawsh-darn polite to ever deny an opportunity to anyone who claims they’ll try their best, even if that’s all  politicians ever do. Luckily, we’ve gotten so used to the jamboree of shovels being waved around in our government halls that each swing has only made us Canadians more resilient, or, at the very least, has numbed us from the pain.