Public Eye Online

by Yule Heibel on May 21, 2004

Public Eye, an insider scoop newsletter focussed on British Columbia politics as played out in the (back)halls of power, till now only available in pdf format via email subscription, is now available online. If you’re in BC, whip your mouse to this link, Public Eye Online, and read about BC politics via leaked email memos, insider gossip, and cold clear policy analysis. And comment! Yes, it’s a blog. Say something back.

The driving, prying, writing force behind Public Eye is Sean Holman; see this about page for more information on Holman and his two colleagues, George Gibault and Andres Kahar.

Even if you don’t live in BC, the sometimes Orwellian machinations of government here might interest you for their uncanny resemblance to shapeshifting demons the world over. Look, for example, at this entry, Staffer works to make communications …er …clearer. It’s about a Children and Family Development Ministry directive to ban certain words from all official speech, including speech outside the Ministry. Can I just add that I really stumbled over that last bit: outside the Ministry? What kind of ban is this? No, they’re not banning 4-letter words, even though it’s the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The list includes service redesign, service transformation, core service, strategic shift, budget target, voluntary initiatives, budget reference group, framework and governance (as a stand alone word). Does it mean that Mrs. Minister will never be able to say to Mr./Ms. Lover, “Oh honey, can you do that strategic shift thing again?” Or does the ban not extend so far outside Ministry speech as to reach bedrooms? Do bureaucrats have an inflated sense of self and of their power?

Sean Holman asked the Ministry aide in question why these words are now banned.

The response: “To make sure our communication is something people can understand publicly. It’s that simple. Those words are not words regular people use in everyday life. So why put them in a press release? No one knows what we mean.”

Holman’s conclusion?

After all, British Columbians just don’t get it when the minister says she hasn’t met her budget targets.


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