The conservative government's choice for auditor general, Michael Ferguson, does not speak French well. So what, what does it matter?
We hold it does matter for at least three reasons.
1- When you choose to play a game, you play by the rules or you go home. Else you screw things up for everybody. The Conservatives chose to get themselves elected. The AG's job requirements require French. Tough titty..
2- The Harper government, be it not forgotten, was elected on a platform of law and order, good / responsible government and transparency. This was in reaction to the waste, boondoggles and scams of former Liberal governments. This, we maintain, holds the Haperites to a higher standard than the discredited Liberals. Are they living up to the higher standards they set for themselves? It has, already, been remarked that the Harperites "break the rules when they feel like it", giving the unfortunate impression that they might actually consider themselves above the law. And this, of course, is exactly what they accused the Liberals of doing..
3- While this may appear to be hitting below the belt, we feel it is a legitimate concern for those interested in Canadian national unity. The Ferguson nomination is sure to rub Québécois nationalism the wrong way when there is already evidence of a growing rift between Québec and the ROC (rest of Canada: the fact that Québécois use this term fairly often these days is itself indicative of the rift). In addition, one suspects - fears - that the nomination is, if not a conscious, intentional play to populist, anti-French feelings in the ROC, at least a gaffe which, potentially, plays into the hands of such elements. At the very least, "it doesn't look good"..
There is, of course, nothing stopping the federal Conservatives from operating within the framework of parlementary procedure and working openly and above board to change the law regulating the AG's proficiencies. But would such a transparent procedure raise the ire of too many? Have the Harperites - once again - stooped to talking from both sides of their mouths at the same time: preaching fairplay and transparency while dealing the cards in a way to send a covert -and contrary - message to their populist core constituency? Once again, things are not clear but it does not look good..
And in this cynical era of political vacuity, appearance is indeed everything!