Thursday, August 25, 2005

Justice Gomery Wants YOU

As part of the Final Gomery report, the Commission into the Sponsorship Scandal is now open for public input:

Justice John Gomery is asking people to submit their comments through the inquiry website or by mail to help him put together recommendations for changes to the way government handles things such as sponsorships.

In his mandate for the inquiry issued in February he was authorized to conduct consultations on his eventual recommendations.

"In my final report I plan to propose some solutions to ensure clearer accountability between the executive and administrative arms of government," he said in a statement Thursday. "In doing this, I recognize the importance of seeking out public input from across Canada in order to reflect regional perspectives and views on the key issues that have been raised in this public inquiry."

The inquiry will also hold five roundtable meetings across the country between now and the end of October. Participants will include former MPs, government officials, academics and technical specialists.

The sessions will be held in Moncton next Wednesday, Quebec City on Sept. 14, Toronto on Oct. 5, Edmonton on Oct. 19 and Vancouver on Oct. 20.

Here is the link to the Gomery Commission's public input page. You can also send comments via snail mail to the following address:

Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program
and Advertising Activities
P.O. Box 1388, Station "B"
Ottawa, ON K1P 5R4

Note that, while it's tempting, this is not meant to be a board for grousing about Librano corruption and stupidity, nor for the bashing of Jean Cretin or Mr. Dithers.

Instead, the Judge wants the public to try and answer the following questions:

1. Should government advertising and sponsorship programs be insulated from political influence? If yes, how?

2. What protections should be given to "whistleblowers" -- the public servants who believe they've got evidence of government wrongdoing?

3. The concept of ministerial responsibility requires that a minister be accountable to the House of Commons for the exercise of power. Should there be exceptions to this concept for all the actions of a department? And if so, under what conditions?

4. How would you promote greater accountability for the management and use of public funds?

5. Should the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service be linked to specific responsibility and accountability processes to safeguard against wrongdoing? And if so, how?

6. Is there anything else you would suggest to Justice Gomery in pursuing his mandate? (And try to keep your response polite in answering this one.)

As you can see, these are questions that will require a bit of thinking in answering them. But the public has plenty of time; the deadline for public input is October 28th.