02 March 2009

Cabinet Minister Blows His Top

Poor form, Mr. Goodyear, very poor form.

Canada's Minister of Science and Technology engaged in conduct unbecoming his position in a meeting between himself and two representatives of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Bookended by policy advisor Wesley Moore and a civil servant who was there to take notes, Goodyear soon began insulting and shouting at his guests.
CAUT, a lobby group that represents 65,000 staff at 121 colleges and universities, had planned to raise concerns over the government's handling of research funding. But within moments, it became clear they wouldn't get very far.

“The minister was very angry,” said David Robinson, associate executive director of CAUT. “He was raising his voice and pointing his finger … He said everyone loves their [federal budget] and we said, ‘A lot of our members don't love it'… and he said, ‘That's because you're lying to them, misleading them.'”

The talks, Mr. Robinson said, went from bad to worse. In 15 years on the job, he “never had a meeting like that.”


When CAUT staff said the Conservatives have a spotty record on science and noted they abolished the office of the national science adviser, Mr. Robinson said, the minister's assistant screamed at them to shut up.

“Then the minister said, ‘You've burned all your bridges with us!' and they stormed out.

“In all the meetings I've been in like this, I've never been shouted at and told to shut up,” Mr. Robinson said. The civil servant who escorted them to the elevator suggested it would not even be a good idea to return to the minister's office to collect their coats, he said. Instead, she retrieved them.

Maybe my 58 years doesn't make me old enough to remember another public official blowing up at representatives of a constituency, but this kind of scene is new to me. And I'm disgusted by it.

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