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Political Decision

March 12, 2019

You’ve probably heard about Jody Wilson-Raybold and the SNC Lavalin affair.  It was in the news recently.  As Attorney General, she had to choose between a political decision and a legal one.  She was under considerable pressure to choose a political decision, but instead she chose a legal decision.  As a result, she was demoted from her cabinet post.  This is an example of something that happens frequently to government ministers.

There’s a better example.  It has to do with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, regarding the east coast fisheries.  I heard about this one on the radio, several years ago.  The minister had to choose between a scientific decision and a political one.  They had always chosen the political decision, disregarding the recommendations of their own scientists.  The department always decided to keep the fishery open.  This decision meant that the fishermen could keep fishing until all the fish were gone.

I don’t recall the fish species, but the scientists recommended closing the fishery to save the fish stocks.  Doing this would drive the companies out of business, putting the fishermen and fish plant workers out of jobs.  It is a difficult choice to make.

Political choices like these are made in response to regional or local conditions.  They are unpopular in the rest of the country.  That explains why these type of deliberations are generally held in secret and concealed from the public.  The other reason, of course, is that politicians from the region or local area want to win the next election; they are forced to recommend a political decision.


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