Canadian scientist put on leave for protest song

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #1


    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harperman-tony-turner-scientist-investigation-1.3207390

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harperman-tony-turner-scientist-investigation-1.3207390
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #2
    I'd like to know a few more details, but on first glance this is an abuse of power.

    Artistic expression outside the workplace should enjoy a great deal of tolerance and latitude.

    It appears to me that his employer has overreacted.
     
  3. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    #3
    I would say that Turner thinks he's in America, except for the fact that American freedoms of speech are under constant attack in the present administration-inspired tyranny.

    It was former President Reagan who presciently said:

    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
     
  4. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #4
    If I decided to "express myself artistically" by posting vulgar poems abut my boss on Facebook, I'd be fired and rightfully so. Canada may be different, though.

    In general, it's amusing when the same people who use speech codes, trigger words and micro-aggressions to punish virtually any speech or expression they find undesirable, suddenly complain that their right to free speed is being oppressed.
     
  5. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Who are you talking about here? Some vague "they"? "Some people"?
     
  6. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #6
    It's me, Zen. I'm the one going around and getting people fired and/or passive-aggressively harassing people over their use of patriarchy enabling, cis-gendered pandering, thoughtless semi-conscious automatic hate speech.

    It's zhey, by the way. Not "they". I've reported you to the moderators for your offense.

    Also I'm a Marxist apparently.
     
  7. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #7
    A quick glance over Environment Canada's Values & Ethics Code would tend to suggest the scientist in question crossed several lines in writing and performing this song. The Code specifically warns about social media exposure:

    especially when it comes to "political activities":

    I'm generally in favor of free speech. But when you hold a paying position with a highly visible Government agency - your obligation to uphold the essential non-partisan nature of professional Government service trumps your rights as an individual to make political speech. Even in your off hours.
     
  8. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #8
    Oh, the irony of quoting Saint Ronnie about freedom when he did more with his drug war and the beginnings of police militarization to erode the freedoms of Americans more than any President in the last 50 years.
     
  9. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Thanks for the post and link. I likewise took a look at it. It the code frames the social media exposure under the term conflict of interest, which is defined in the previous section. I understand conflict of interest when it comes to handing out contracts of friends, family or supporters, or setting policy that will profit someone in the future. But I have a harder time seeing political reputation as a conflict of interest.

    Here are the ways conflict of interest is defined ...
    1. taking all reasonable steps to recognize, prevent, report and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between our official responsibilities and our private affairs;
    2. refraining from having private interests that could be affected by government decisions and actions in which we participate;
    3. not knowingly taking advantage of or benefiting from information that is obtained in the course of our official duties and that is not available to the public;
    4. refraining from the direct or indirect use of, or allowing the direct or indirect use of, federal government property, including property leased to the government, for anything other than officially approved activities;
    5. not assisting private entities or persons in their dealings with the government, where this would result in preferential treatment of the entities or persons;
    6. not interfering in the dealings of private entities or persons with the government in order to inappropriately influence the outcome; and
    7. maintaining the impartiality of the public service and not engaging in any outside activity that impairs or could be seen to impair our ability to perform our duties in an objective manner.
    Only #1 (and perhaps #7) seems to apply here.

    But I still don't sufficiently see his how his public duty of studying migratory birds is affected by this protest song. According to the this CBC story, he was a 20-year employee who was planning to retire in a month. It's somewhat unfathomable to me that a protest song outweighs 20 years of service.

    He is, btw, protected by a union. Considering his length of service and the tenuous link to a real conflict of interest, I doubt he'd be terminated over this and that it would stand up in court. It just seems like an over-reaction to me. If it's true that he's going to retire in a month anyway, they just made a mountain out of a molehill.
     
  10. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #10
    Glad you cleared that up. When underlings publicly challenge their bosses, they can expect to be fired. Rightfully.
     
  11. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #11


    To have ignored this case would have created a precedent that essentially would have made the code of ethics null and void. Agencies have to strive to be as consistent as possible.

    As you say, due to the contractual nature of his employment, it seems unlikely that he will suffer any serious financial ramifications.

    As I noted earlier, I'm a very strong believer in the right to free speech. But that is not absolute. It can't be, especially when it comes to people making that speech in a manner that would tend to reflect back on their Government employer.

    There are - and should be - any number of artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and ordinary people who loudly and enthusiastically criticize the actions of Prime Minister Harper, and any other public figure involved in controversy. But Government employees should not be among them - beyond the channels designated for "whistle-blowing" etc.
     
  12. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #12
  13. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Perhaps. But I'm still unclear of where the conflict of interest lies here.

    I suspect that as this case progresses, identifying that conflict will be more and more problematic.

    But let's see where it goes.
     
  14. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    #14
    To use that example, say you're managing a dozen employees, and one posts a song bashing you. Would really want that employee working for you?
     
  15. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Harper doesn't manage the employee. He's just the elected head of government who will be gone as Prime Minister in a matter of years. Bureaucrats can have careers that span the terms of numerous leaders.

    In private business, the boss is the constant. In government, the bureaucrat is really the more entrenched entity.
     
  16. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    #16
    I realize that, and it's far more than a dozen employees, but I was going with aaronvan's example that he replied to.
     
  17. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #17
    Yeah, the program that started funneling old military equipment to local police departments started in 1990. But it was all rooted in Nancy and Ronnie's drug war.

    It was also a scam by the politicians and defense contractors to make themselves more money. Take perfectly good military equipment and "donate" it to local/state police agencies so you can then buy tons of new stuff for the military and keep the money flowing into the defense contractors pockets. The military industrial complex is killing this country.
     
  18. cfedu Suspended

    cfedu

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    #18

    I agree with you but Harper has made direct confrontation with all parts of government in Canada. Every person has the right to make their opinions known even government employes. The code of conduct would most likely be struct down in a court if there was a charter challenge to it in this case.

    http://ottawacitizen.com/news/natio...er-for-his-treatment-of-supreme-court-justice

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/..._part_of_a_pattern_for_harper_government.html
     
  19. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #19
    This can be rather tricky, but, in the U.S., civil servants generally do have some degree of right to free speech in their off hours. (A major exception to that would be the Hatch Act, which restricts most civil servants from actively campaigning.) Another exception is when the subject is essentially internal management decisions and the employee is carrying out his official duties. See this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/30/washington/30cnd-scotus.html

    I'm uncertain in this case whether, by Canadian law, Tony Turner would be seen as campaigning against Stephen Harper, and, whether or not there are restrictions. I think the election is on October 19th, isn't it?
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    I think this song would be considered inappropriate here.
     
  21. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #21
    One of the first things that tyrants do is go after people who mock them.
     
  22. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #22
    He's not protesting against the person, but against the policies, like any citizen should have the right to.

    Edit: It's a catchy song...
     
  23. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #23


    The rules are a little different in Canada; which - along with Britain, Australia, etc. - does not have a law guaranteeing free speech, similar to the US' First Amendment. Canada's national charter, for example. allows the Government to ban speech so long as the limits are "reasonable" and "can be justified."

    Thats pretty vague. But its a standard that I think is present in Environment Canada's Code of Conduct.
     
  24. Solomani macrumors 68040

    Solomani

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    #24
    I'm a Marx Brothers fan myself. Which makes me a Marxist.
     
  25. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #25
    The conservative leader of the canadian government is hardly "his boss"

    In the same way that david cameron is not my boss.
     

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