Dr. Dawg


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The word “bureaucrat,” to me, doesn’t mean hard-working people in offices. Rather, it means people ruling from them—unelected, unaccountable, overweening power-trippers deliberately placing themselves in the way of sense and reason.

Here are two ripe examples that have cropped up in Ottawa in a single week:

Hearings at the CRTC:

Last I was aware, “hearings” means an opportunity to be heard, and to have one’s views considered.

But the CRTC is doing things differently these days.

Under pressure from Internet providers, the CRTC is considering usage-based Internet costs. Representatives of a group opposing metered Internet, Open Media—whose public advocacy had led to the hearing sin the first place—barely got a word out before the hectoring began:

“I am a disabled father of seven and (a) metered Internet is unfair for parents of multiple children of school age,” Steve Anderson, executive director of activist group Open Media, had read from a letter he said the group received from Vince Dwyer. “I have seven children and get a disability cheque of $1,300 a month. I’m barely scraping by as it is. Please stop the metered Internet from happening, as lower income families will suffer and our children will suffer.”

Sounding frustrated, CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein immediately reminded Mr. Anderson that the scope of the hearing does not extend to Internet access for low-income Canadians.

Len Katz, the agency’s vice-chair for telecommunications, began quizzing Mr. Anderson about Open Media’s “non-partisan” status in light of its links to union groups listed on its website. He also asked how many members it had, and who was funding it.

The vice-chair of broadcasting, Tom Pentefountas, quoted Open Media as saying in the past that Bell’s position in the hearing is “self-serving,” and noted bluntly: “Your interest is just as self-serving, is it not?”

We can be sure that Open Media’s presentation was given what the ‘crats like to call “due consideration” from this trio of Harper appointees.

The sanctity of trees and lampposts:

Moving on, the National Capital Commission has decreed that henceforward, artists may not use trees as part of installation art.

If this were fiction, the following would appear stupidly contrived:

The art installation planned for Confederation Park was supposed to celebrate, most positively, the connections between art, nature and bureaucracy.

Designed by Ottawa artist Jennifer Macklem, the installation was to be on view during the annual Rideau Canal Festival July 28 to Aug. 1, and was to be titled The rapture coming to transfigure bureaucracy.

But there was a problem. The bureaucracy - specifically the bureaucrats at the National Capital Commission - were not enraptured with Macklem’s creation and gave it a thumbs down.

Why? The art would have touched a tree.

This has not been a consideration in the past, and no damage has ever been caused, but an NCC spokesperson said that officials thought it best to ban the practice anyway.

What dreadful thing was planned? To attach some strips of plastic to a high branch, and fan them towards the ground like sunbeams, “to encircle a desk and chair placed on the grass.”

Were the ‘crats afraid they were being sent up? Check this out:

Macklem had offered to use a lamppost on the nearby Mackenzie King Bridge instead of a tree, with the plastic strips pointed toward a spot on the grass of Confederation Park. The NCC killed that idea too.

One senses a rapid shifting of goal lampposts, as the ‘crats make up one excuse after another to prevent artistic expression in “their” parkland.

How does one describe the purveyors of such witless arrogance? I would suggest that my title offers the necessary neologism.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on July 13, 2011 3:55 PM.

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