Monday, December 17, 2012

Harper's Cabinet Barely Literate

Pos' secretary?  What in tarnation is that, Misser Harper?

 Just kidding.  I'm sure they can all read and write at some level but there's an interesting piece in The Tyee revealing how many Harper ministers have no post-secondary education whatsoever.   The names may surprise you.

Marjory Lebreton (leader of the government in the Senate)
Gerry Ritz (agriculture)
Denis Lebel (transport and infrastructure)
Leona Aglukkaq (health)
Peter Kent (environment)
Gail Shea (national revenue)
Julian Fantino (international cooperation)
Bernard Valcourt (minister of state for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
Lynn Yelich (minister of state for western economic diversification)
Ted Menzies (minister of state for finance)
Tim Uppal (minister of state for democratic reform)

Almost a third of the Harper cabinet have a high school education or less including such luminaries as Marjory Lebreton, Gerry Ritz (predictable), Leona Aglukkaq (ditto), Peter Kent (OMG!) and Julian Fantino.   And then there's this bunch:

 Five of Harper's cabinet are post-secondary dropouts or non-completers. Jason Kenney (immigration) dropped out of the University of San Francisco, and James Moore (heritage and languages) did a couple of years at Douglas College here in Vancouver. Keith Ashfield (fisheries and oceans) had two years of business courses at the University of New Brunswick.

Peter Penashue (intergovernmental affairs) studied at Memorial University of Newfoundland but seems not to have completed. And Gary Goodyear (science and technology) dropped out of Waterloo before completing his schooling at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

Of course this knock on Harper's blockheads draws the inevitable backlash shouting "elitism."   And, to their credit, they can point to the past two Liberal leaders, both of them professors.  But really, should Canada have a health minister, an agriculture (and food safety) minister, and an environment minister whose last exposure to science was in a high school chem lab?   Then again I guess Harper can't justify 16 tourism ministers.


Rural said...

I am not sure that university (or indeed even a high school diploma)education makes any difference as to the suitability for a ministerial position. But then one cannot teach common sense, and I am not sure ethics and honesty is something one can learn at school or university either. Apparently there is a school somewhere that teaches spin, lies and coverup though!

The Mound of Sound said...

There are many qualities that are nurtured and honed out of school. That said, education does make a difference generally to the suitability for ministerial responsibilities. Ever notice that the great prime ministers of Canada have almost all been lawyers? There's a reason for that. I know what it is, do you?

Anonymous said...

"Apparently there is a school somewhere that teaches spin, lies and coverup though!"

Yes there is. It goes by the Orwellian name of the "Manning Centre for Building Democracy".

Owen Gray said...

This news is not surprising, Mound. It does, however, help to explain why so many of the Harper cabinet seem incapable of sustained thought.

The Mound of Sound said...

But imagine, Owen, if this is Harper's cabinet material, what lurks in his back benches?

Anonymous said...

I knew about Ritz, the failed Ostrich farmer and car salesman, and Shea, from the tourist trinket small business empire in the backwater of PEI,(2 months per year) but didn't know about the rest. I did have strong suspicions however based on performance.

Then there's Lisa Rait and her background at the Toronto Port Authority to consider. Although she does have a degree, she performs the same function for the CPC as the the above mentioned, a compliant rubber stamp. Frankly, I think Harper does the same thing, and that's why his modus operandi is about control. No interviews or questions without strict control of what is asked. Simply put, he doesn't have answers, the boil on Canada's neck only has a script.

Anyong said...

Now we know why Harper is able to dominate his government.

Anonymous said...

What makes Canadian politics such a disaster now once was the pity of a naive Europe.

'Our God-bestowed Prince is guided by a vanguard of brilliant scholars! Surely such noble creatures, the epitome of knowledge and virtue, would never stoop to simply emulating the King's Courts mindless parrots. Never!'

But since material advantage trumps dishonour among the ambitious – never became always.

To expect better today is naive. Too many of our academic & economic priesthood continue to cite party propaganda like budgies.

When career risks can be so easily manipulated: where is the disincentive?

Go ahead: Choose. Obscurity or Power. Tenure denial, withheld or cancelled grants, or that "I've-got-mine" assurance that accompanies profitable self-censorship.

For centuries the manipulation of expected rewards has inspired conformity and betrayal in the learned and ignorant.

What can be done about it? No one knows.