Public Servants Should Act In The Public Interest

Public servants were not acting in the public interest according to Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh who visited the Vancouver Airport Taser Inquiry.  Dosanjh was the B.C attorney general in 1999 and okayed the use of Tasers by police in the province.  He spoke as follows:.

Lawyers representing the federal government and the Mounties in the inquiry are not acting in the public interest at the inquiry. Throughout the proceedings, the federal lawyers have taken a position of undermining Dziekanski’s victimization and defending the role of the RCMP officers and the use of the Taser. 

They seem to be doing that because they want to limit the liability of the four officers in the RCMP and the federal government.  But what they are doing by pursuing that short-term interest is actually preventing the public interest in a larger sense from being served, and that is absolutely not appropriate.

Politicians and public servants so often seem to use their positions of power to avoid doing what is so clearly in the public interest.  Here are some other current instances in the UK.

The long drawn out Gurkha Justice Campaign seeks to allow Gurkhas who fought so nobly for the UK in the Second World War to have an equal right of residence there.  Now a motion with revised proposals that would ensure this has finally been passed in the House of Commons by 267 to 246. Nevertheless the campaigners are still waiting to hear the Government’s response to the vote.

Another long running case involving the Frozen UK State Pensions for Commonwealth pensioners has now moved to the 17-judge European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber. Although the facts are now showing that the present policy is against the UK’s economic interests, the government stalls.

In one case at least, common sense seems to be prevailing. Latest word is that Gordon Brown refuses to back ministers over expense claims.

Gordon Brown has stopped short of backing Cabinet members who submitted extravagant, unusual or erroneous claims on expenses by refusing to say they acted with integrity.

Asked whether MPs should learn to live in the “real world”, he said: “Absolutely. That is why the system has got to change.”

At least with the greater openness created through the Internet, it is now more difficult for public servants to keep their actions private, particularly when they do not serve the public interest.

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