Thursday, June 26, 2008

Saskatchewan's political witch hunt

Shortly after being elected to power in Saskatchewan, the far-right Saskatchewan Party government headed by the flighty, thin-skinned Brad Wall undertook a purge of all senior public employees deemed to be "not politically compatible" with the new regime.

Without a great deal of fanfare, seventy people had their jobs abruptly terminated after being placed on an enemies list compiled by former Grant Devine operative Doug Emsley and his "transition team."

But not all of these politically incorrect individuals are going quietly. Allan Walker, a 34-year veteran public employee, is fighting back. (He wasn't even on the original enemies list, but was added to the roster almost as an afterthought.) And he has quite a story to tell, which may explain why he wanted his hearing for wrongful dismissal before the Public Service Commission to be heard publicly.

Walker was, before he was purged, the associate deputy minister for Advanced Education, Employment and Labour. He was not a political appointment, but a career public servant who had worked his way up the ranks through open competitions. These did not include, he said, "philosophical tests." Nor had he been interviewed by Wall's ideological purification committee prior to his firing. As for his competence, even the Harper federal government* thought well enough of his abilities to appoint him in 2005 as Canada's official spokesman and representative at an international occupational health and safety conference in Geneva.

Walker, 56, was booted without even getting the severance benefits to which he was legally entitled. He forfeited 300 days of sick leave, lost an academic fellowship with the University of Saskatchewan, cannot get life insurance, and has been effectively blackballed from employment in Saskatchewan.

His career lies in ruins, for no reason other than suspicion of left deviationism by the extremist political hacks and kommissars
now running Saskatchewan. This is a story well worth following.

H/t Larry Hubich

UPDATE: (June 27) Be sure to read Larry's update, here.

*Whoops: that was a lapse. Thank you to Buckets in the comments.

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