The exit of mandarins, those senior civil servants, whose appointments come from the government, is causing some ripples in the calm of the Rideau Canal this long hot summer.
Not getting along with your political masters is lesson one in a rather short list of imperatives for mandarins, unless and until the integrity of the post one holds is being sacrificed to the political agenda of those same political masters.
Ottawa has a history of depending on the mandarins; successive governments of all stripes have counted on their objectivity, their willingness to bring "truth to power" and their discretionary and confidential memo's to their respective cabinet ministers, and especially to the Prime Minister.
These are not the "nobodies" of parliament, as Trudeau once dubbed the members of the House of Commons, when they were one hundred miles from the "hill". These are the lynch-pins of the political system. It is the respect for and from these civil servants that has guided many governments through often turbulent waters, in the middle of the night, amid circling storms that could have brought those governments down.
Watching so many of their number become "ghosts" in the night is like watching the rats leave a sinking ship....and to mix our metaphors, while their leaving provides orchestral symphonic music to the ears of Liberal operatives. The silence of Ignatieff, while he munches on backyard hamburgers and sipps Molson Canadian, complete with the built-in maple leaf on the bottle (and can), has been seen by some evidence of his missing some golden political opportunities. One such view came from Haroon Siddiqui earlier this week in the Toronto Star over the census fiasco.
Maybe, just maybe, the Ignatieff advisors have got this one right: let the civil servants leave, under various clouds of disagreement with their political masters, the Conservatives, and particularly Stephen Harper, and let the chattering classes talk about the potential embarrassments to the goverment, while it continues to provide fodder for its own demise, and wait until the fall winds begin to blow when parliament returns and then use all the accumulated "evidence" for a massive attack, using the Conservatives own stupidity, arrogance, isolation and self-inflicted wounds to create a sizeable shift in public opinion away from the government and in favour of the (legitimate) alternative, under Ignatieff.
Who knows? It is certainly time for the Liberal Party of Canada to demonstrate that is has the smarts and the kohones to form a legitimate government in which Canadians can have trust and confidence...something the Conservatives are demonstrating every day they are losing, in poll numbers dropping like the rogue Jet-Blue flight-attendant, down the escape slide. And the analogy does not stop there: like him they started this fight, and like him they have been angry for a very long time, and are only now letting their true colours show to their own demise. And like him, when he asks for his job back, the employer, in this case the Canadian people, will not comply with his request.