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RCMP Superintendent Marty Cheliak speaks to reporters about the Mayerthorpe shootings in Edmonton on March 21, 2005. (John Ulan for The Globe and Mail)
RCMP Superintendent Marty Cheliak speaks to reporters about the Mayerthorpe shootings in Edmonton on March 21, 2005. (John Ulan for The Globe and Mail)

Tim Powers

The Cheliak diversion Add to ...

It's time to call in Dudley Do-Right. He needs to get to the bottom of opposition charges that the government is muzzling its opponents and interfering in RCMP staffing. Only Dudley can find the truth and also expose the motives of the Liberals, in particular, who enjoy nothing better than a good diversion.

Before Dudley gallops in on his horse to go through evidence surrounding the so-called "Harper Hit List" and the Cheliak case in particular, let me offer something circumstantial. For all the coverage of the few heads of agencies, boards, etc., that have gone there are many, many more that are thriving in the government and making great contributions in their respective positions. But as the old saying goes, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

Moya Greene, now the head of the Royal Mail and formerly the boss at Canada Post, is a fine example of a top-class leader originally appointed by the Liberals who thrived under the Conservatives. She did such excellent work at Canada Post she was sought out by the Royal Mail to fix their litany of troubles. There are more Moya Greene's out there making a difference.

Will Stephen Harper win employer of the month? Well, not according to his critics. But in fairness to the man, when you run an organization with hundreds of thousands of people not everyone is going to be happy and not everyone is going to feel comfortable with your management style. That will precipitate change.

Now back to Dudley and RCMP Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak, the departed head of the Canadian Firearms Program. If you believe the Liberal argument about Cheliak's departure, some political master basically pulled the plug on his career. First, that portrays a naivete about how the RCMP works. The government appoints the Commissioner of the RCMP but all other RCMP staffing decisions are made internally by the force as it should be. Does the RCMP have leadership problems? Yes. Does that mean the government is now making internal staffing for our nation's top cops? No.

Yesterday Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland suggested the way to address the controversy surrounding Cheliak's departure was for the government to re-appoint him. Bizarre and stupid on Holland's part. In one breath, the Liberals are attacking the government for interfering with one man's work and then in the next demanding the government interfere in a police department's operations.

If I am a Liberal adviser, Holland's misstep aside, I want the news story about Cheliak to be about the so-called heavy hand of my opponent. I want that to be the focus of media coverage because it diverts from my party's own challenges on the upcoming vote on the future of the long-gun registry and my organization's weaknesses in most of rural Canada. Hopefully, I tell my Liberal self, no one calls me on it. But Dudley Do-Right won't be so easily thrown off track.

As I am sure Dudley will uncover when he looks through yesterday's news archives, there was little or no mention of the fact that the last vote concerning the fate of the long-gun registry passed because of Liberal support. Why get into that mess and your party's own internal struggles on the issue when changing the direction of the story keeps the spotlight off you?

Dudley Do-Right, save us all and get to the bottom of this please.

 

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