Harper admits his error

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He should have appointed a bilingual

The most unusual thing that could ever happen in Ottawa would be Stephen Harper admitting he made a mistake.

But he did exactly that to his caucus behind closed doors earlier this month.

He told them he should never have appointed a unilingual Anglophone, Michael Ferguson of New Brunswick, as the new auditor general last year.

But it's too late. Ferguson is appointed for five years, and he's been doing a good job of it although unfortunately he can only do it in English.

Earlier this month Ferguson was unable to journalists' questions in French after he had presented his report to Parliament.

Instead of Ferguson, they could have approached a bilingual choice, Renaud Lachance, a noted Quebec expert in accounting and auditing, who is now Deputy Commissioner to the Commission Charbonneau.

But Lachance apparently wanted nothing to do with Ottawa. Who wants to dive into the boiling Ottawa cauldron?

Not surprisingly Harper chose to criticize Ferguson rather than one of the other unilingual Anglophones that he has appointed.

Ferguson has often criticized Harper and the many blunders of his ministers, leading us to wonder if Harper regrets appointing Ferguson for other than linguistic reasons.

Harper will have the chance to correct his "error" when the NDP Opposition MP Alexandrine Latendresse, backed by her colleague Yvon Godin, a proud Acadian, introduces legislation to require that in the future, only bilinguals be appointed to the top 10 parliamentary jobs, including that of Auditor-General.

But everybody has their own definition of "error." Two of the five judges of the Supreme Court appointed by Harper are unilingual English. The judicial appointments somehow didn't make his "errors" list. Only Ferguson, who criticizes him, made the list.

Can the Harper government which is already so unpopular in Quebec, risk voting down the NDP legislation, especially with Quebec electing a sovereigntist government that would be quick to use another Harper gaffe to further the cause of Quebec independence.



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