Anti-Harper Song Gets An Ottawa Civil Servant Into Trouble

Here it comes:

A federal government scientist in Ottawa has been put on administrative leave and is under investigation for writing and singing a protest song against Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

Tony Turner, whose day job involved mapping the flight patterns of migratory birds for Environment Canada, is one of three people responsible for the viral Harperman video.

Turner wrote the tune and lyrics for a songwriting competition last spring. Set to a peppy beat and backed by an ensemble called the Crowd of Well Wishers, the lyrics call on Canadians to ditch the Harper government with a chorus of “Harperman, it’s time for you to go.”

Almost 50,000 hits later on YouTube, the federal public service took notice.

Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), told Yahoo Canada News that Turner was sent home on paid leave and is now under investigation for breaching the public service ethics code

She said the union would support Turner and called it a highly unusual handling of an administrative leave. 

“Usually if an employee is going to be sent home it’s because there’s a high risk if they stay in the workplace and usually it is without pay,” she said. “This is a slightly different handing, sending him home with pay on administrative leave while they conduct their investigation. We believe strongly that there is no case to be had here, which is perhaps why they’re handling it this way. [We wonder] if what they’re really after is simply to intimidate or discourage other public servants from exercising their rights.”

She added that while there are some reasonable restrictions on how public servants can participate in politics, “within those restrictions we’re allowed to participate in a federal election just like any other Canadian citizen and that’s a right upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991.”

Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson said in an email that it would be inappropriate to discusses the specifics of any individual case. 

“Compliance with the requirements of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector is a condition of employment for every public servant in the federal public sector, regardless of their level or position,” he wrote.

The ethics code requires that public servants be: “Acting at all times with integrity and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law.” 

It also requires: “Taking all possible steps to prevent and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their official responsibilities and their private affairs in favour of the public interest.” And “acting in such a way as to maintain their employer’s trust.”

When contacted Turner declined to be interviewed while under investigation.

  • Martin B

    Let’s say you work in the private sector – janitor, VP, whatever – and you make a video of yourself singing about what a #$%$ your boss is and how it’s time for him to go and put it on YouTube. How long before your boss tells you it’s time for you to go?

    Hey Tony, bird-watching is a hobby most people do for free!

    • Exactly.

      • simus1

        Birds migrate twice a year with minimal government assistance. It sounds like this person “works” in one of the many expensive do nothing civil service outposts that no one would miss if they were promptly shut down tomorrow and the scientists involved sent on their way.

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        • disqusW6sf

          There are many of those in Ottawa. Under a Conservative government Canada is a difficult country to govern with those in real power, i.e.bureaucrats.

        • If he think he will get funding from Harper, he’s going about it all wrong.

  • mauser 98

    a slap on the wrist.. suspended with pay then a promotion

    • terrence

      A paid vacation, then the promotion

      • mauser 98

        then an early retirement bonus package, hired back as private contractor twice the wage …double dip

        • Shebel

          It is the new Normal.

        • David Murrell

          He’ll get all of the above once the Mulcsir-Trudeau coalition take power thus October.

    • Alain

      Exactly since I recall how under the Liberals (Trudeau in fact) a civil servant was fired for writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper criticising going metric and another civil servant also under the Liberals was fired for speaking out outside of work against imposed official bilingualism. The first case, not sure about the second one, actually went to court and the judges ruled in favour of the Liberals. Today the same judge if still around would likely rule against the Conservatives.

  • El Martyachi

    “Civil servants” should not be eligible to vote.

    • T.C.

      If someone takes money from government – job, contract, grants, subsidies, welfare – that person should be disqualified from voting during the calendar year they received payment. It should be treated as conflict of interest. The beneficiary of taxpayer largess can decide which is more important -sufferage or government bondage.

      • El Martyachi

        … with exception for military. If they’re willing to die they get a vote.

    • mauser 98

      great idea

  • Shebel

    Typical of the Leftist mindset. They have absolutely No problem draining any chance of making a profit for a small business.
    Vote NDP or Liberal and then piss us of enough so that we no longer bother to collect the taxes that you survive on.
    You bloody Lefties are shooting yourselves in the right foot.

    WE can do without YOU.
    YOU can’t do without US.