Monday, December 6, 2004

Premature Ejection

Media release:

Premature Ejection: Tory's Demand for Sorbara to Step Down a Disservice to
the Public says Fp Leader, McKeever

December 6, 2004 - Oshawa, Ontario

With Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader, John Tory, saying that Finance Minister Greg Sorbara should step down over the alleged accidental release of Social Insurance Numbers, Freedom Party of Ontario leader, Paul McKeever, is expressing concern:

"Like Mr. Tory, I am a political party leader who is not a member of the provincial Legislature. A peer in that sense, I would ask Mr. Tory to reconsider his recent demand that Finance Minister Greg Sorbara step-down. There is a time for such demands, but judgment must be exercised. A knee-jerk call to step-down is a sign of poor judgment.

"When a Minister is accused of engaging intentionally in wrongdoing of such gravity as to remove him or her from Ministerial office, it may very well be appropriate to demand that the Minister step down during the course of an investigation. However, unintentional errors are a different matter.

"If an error is so obviously grave as to prove a Minister's incompetence, the call should be for resignation, not for a temporary stepping-down. In contrast, if - as in the present case - an error is not one that brings the Minister's competence into question, the appropriate response of the opposition is to demand an examination of how the error occurred and a
report on steps taken to prevent its recurrence. There is always time later to demand a stepping-down if a grave error, or wrongdoing, is eventually discovered.

"To demand that a Minister step down over errors that do not cast doubt on his or her competence is a mistake in judgment, and a disservice to the public. If reports about the discovery of a grave error or wrongful act is attract the public's attention - as it should - calls for a Minister to step down or resign must be reserved for such occurrences. Failing to restrain oneself in that way, especially to win a cheap political point of questionable effectiveness, will in the long run desensitize the public to
essential distinctions: all such calls eventually come to be seen as mere theatre by the opposition. As a result, government ends up with even greater ability to abuse its power without paying the full political price."

Paul McKeever - Leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario