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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Banned by the Ombudsman

You are blocked from following @Ont_Ombudsman and viewing @Ont_Ombudsman's Tweets. 

So, I've been banned by the Office of th4 Ombudsman of Ontario.

Not by the person who occupies the position, mind you - the office account itself.  

For having the temerity to say this:

Rather disappointed to see Andre Marin campaigning + pitching for his job like a politician. Unbecoming of @Ont_Ombudsman post. #onpoli

Now, this is all just on Twitter - and it's not like "blocking" actually stops people from seeing content.  I can use one of the other accounts I manage, or look up the ombudsman account without being logged in (though whether that's known to the person managing the account, I don't know).

The issue here is that an officer of the Legislature - a position that is supposed to have an open ear to public concerns - is blocking people left, right and centre without just cause.  

What impression does that send?  How comfortable should we now feel, contacting that office with concerns?  How seriously should we feel our concerns will be taken by that office?

You can see where the problem lies.  There's enough public mistrust of government; the last thing we need is to feel even our ombudsmen are running their own agenda and dismissing complaints and people they don't like.

Worse, as I mentioned yesterday, Andre Marin has organized an active campaign to lobby for his job - an appointment by the Legislature.  He's not a lobby group, lobbying government; he's supposed to be a watchdog.  Yet now he's trying to demonstrate to the Legislature that he's got a constituency of his own and that therefore, has personal legitimacy in the way a politician might.

It's an uncomfortable precedent to set.  The ombudsman has a broad range of powers, a significant budget and easy access to the media; if the person who holds that office starts putting themselves and their interests above the neutrality of the office, we have a big problem.

It's what happens to governments at around the 10 year mark - they begin to think they are the office, rather than have the privilege and duty of occupying it for a time.

For the integrity of the office, out of respect for the public servants in that office who simply want to do their job, it's time for a change.

If Marin truly likes the idea of having a constituency to represent, there are actual elected offices he can run for.

Post Script:
  and 3 others retweeted a Tweet you were mentioned in
well u are in the minority, facts don't enter ur equation, I'll stop trying to entertain educate u

"I'll stop trying to entertain /educate you" retweets the Ombudsman. The latter is his job, so perhaps not the smartest retweet on record.

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