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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Raj Sherman - Hero or Zero? Stay Tuned

I had coffee with Raj on Friday and talked about a wide range of topics from political to professional to ethics.  He is going to table documents on Monday March 7th that he says will begin to back up his dramatic allegation in the Legislature last week.  Raj says he does not play Poker but he knows he is "all in" over these issues, allegations and public policy concerns.

This very thorough and comprehensive feature article by Sheila Pratt of the Edmonton Journal will provide the background and context for anyone wanting to catch up and follow this very important set of events and allegations.

I am going to be as interested as any other thoughtful citizen of Alberta in what Raj will table as he starts to provide the evidence to back up his dramatic assertions.

If you want clearer and cleaner politics along with better government and governance you have to be monitoring the Raj Sherman story.  Tomorrow promises to be very interesting.  Stay tuned.

14 comments:

  1. Chuck4:27 pm

    There is nothing about clearer and cleaner politics in any of this. Even if Sherman has evidence, he has demeaned Alberta politics through his grandstanding approach to this - naming non-political figures in a way that was calculated to be sensationalistic while hiding behind privilege. For the good of Alberta, I hope this turns out to be "zero", but even if there is fire here, he has done the system no favours. The whole thing has been disgusting from beginning to end.

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  2. I can only imagine that Raj has been bombarded with all kinds of communication on what is wrong with Government, by many with real or imagined grievances. The trick is to always to get clarity on what you are being told and to classify them properly which can't be an easy thing to do as an independent.

    There are all kinds of "non disclosure" agreements that Government makes in the course of its business. The difficulty is the agenda served by such agreements are not always the Government's alone.

    Having said this there is absolutely no guidance in any form that protects the the "public interest" and the use, or misuse of non disclosure agreements-money or no money involved.

    I wish Raj all the best in the coming week. We do however need to find ways to bring issues of the "public interest" to light.

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  3. Anonymous4:33 pm

    Sherman is a courageous man regardless of what the PC's want to say. Without Sherman, these guys would continue to get away with screwing over Albertans. You think Horner, Morton, Redford or Griffiths are any different? Not by a long shot, they're all part of the problem. Sherman continues to stand up to this government and many Albertans including me are behind him.

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  4. Anon at 4:33 - why do you feel the need to be anonymous? We have seen and heard lots of examples of coercion and intimidation by governments who forget who works for whom in this democracy? That is why many people feel the need to be anonymous if they are going to speak their minds. Are you one? If not why not add your name to you comment?

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  5. There is a bit of an irony in regard to the comments, thus far - not unlike most of the ones I've read across a variety of sources.

    The irony is that many of us are making the same sort of broad statements or offering opinions, or even alleging certain practices without providing any proof, rational, or factual/logical arguments for our statements. Instead, relying on others sharing or having an appreciation for our own perceptions - in order to give them validity.

    For example:

    - "We have seen and heard lots of examples of coercion and intimidation by governments who forget who works for whom in this democracy?" (Ken Chapman)

    - "That is why many people feel the need to be anonymous if they are going to speak their minds." (Ken Chapman)

    - "Without Sherman, these guys would continue to get away with screwing over Albertans." (Anonymous @ 4:33pm)

    - "You think Horner, Morton, Redford or Griffiths are any different? Not by a long shot, they're all part of the problem." (Anonymous @ 4:33pm)

    - "There are all kinds of "non disclosure" agreements that Government makes in the course of its business." (NLAR)

    - "The difficulty is the agenda served by such agreements are not always the Government's alone." (NLAR)

    It seems to me that Dr. Sherman has provided the same sort of argument and level of "proof" that many of us should expect based on our own statements. Unfortunately, just because we don't always expect evidence as "proof" in our own conversations, doesn't mean that our legal system and the Assembly that writes our laws should not be far more demanding for facts-based, evidence as the rationale for their actions.

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  6. Chuck9:28 pm

    Due respect, Ken, but it is a huge stretch to confuse the use of web-based anonymity with "coercion and intimidation by governments". Since you write carefully, I have to assume that this was deliberate rhetoric on your part, and a smear on the current government was intended.

    In fact, for those who are not active in the political games as you are, the anonymity afforded by the web allows them to express themselves in ways that do not require personal responsibility, just as I am doing now. I have my own reasons - and the government is the least of those, since there is literally nothing that they can hold over me to either coerce or intimidate.

    Anonymous participation may not work for those of you involved in the partisan process and with political ambition, but it actually works pretty well for some of us.

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  7. Thx for the comment Chuck. I have personal experience in this government using intimidation and bullying. I also know of friends and associates who have be subjected to enforced compliance with these tactics.

    I respect your POV on anonymity. Just find it unfortunate folks are forced into it sometimes. If that is not your case - it is your choice. Nice to have the Internet so that can happen for you

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  8. Gary, read Rich Vivone: Ralph Klein Could Have Been a Superstar (2009) and you'll understand.

    As for my comments they are based on my observations and direct involvement in Government.

    After you read Vivone's book you will understand why I and many others don't use our real names.

    I certainty don't read blogs for proof, as much I do for ideas. My idea in what I wrote was how to do we bring bring issues of the 'public interest' to light? This conversation needs to happen for everyone's benefit.

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  9. Anonymous9:10 am

    @Ken, the internet is a human right. Recently even eastern block countries like Romania have deemed the internet a human right by law and it is legislated as such.

    I agree with Chuck, those not in the political limelight would rather offer their opinions without the focus being on their identity, for any reason that is reasonable to them.

    Having said that, there still comes a responsiblity of even anonymous bloggers to speak truthfully and respectfully. At the end of the day, Ken, its always about truth, human rights, transparency and democracy and upholding the rule of law.

    BTW, you are doing good work here, keep it up! You are facilitating the voice of Albertans to be heard, dont stop being your self!

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  10. Ken - I guess we now know the answer to your question - he is a zero. I have known Raj casually for a number of years now. Disappointment would not begin to express my disgust over how he has grandstanded through this, or for the deliberate damage he does while protected from taking responsibility for what he says because he has been careful to express his defamatory statements inside of the Leg. Utterly disgusting manipulation of our political system for his own, vain-glorious, ends.

    And the press - and yes bloggers as well - have fed his ego every step of the way, compounding the damage.

    While I respect your blogs, which is why I check here quite often, the issues on the internet are about more than anonymity - when you work to create a platform from which to criticize others, there should come with it a very deep sense of responsibility. Raj lacks that entirely, and while you are much more balanced, there are some lessons here. By giving him unwarranted credibility and "air play", the defamation he trumpeted under the protection of privilege was repeated, supported, and made credible through repetition, by people all too ready to throw the first stone.

    As I said in my first post, there is nothing for anyone to take credit from out of all of this - and we certainly have not moved closer to clean, clear or honest politics.

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  11. That the media and pundits seem to be all over the Raj Sherman story simply boils down to the media wanting to report conflict in a province perceived as generally unanimous in their support for the ruling party. The media threw out the bait (province-wide media attention = bait) and Raj bit. I feel for Raj as this is/was his moment in the limelight, his 15 minutes as it were. I'm not saying there aren't problems, indeed there are problems that need to be addressed and addressed soon. Tossing out allegations that cannot be substantiated by facts is not going to solve the problems. If he has proof, by all means bring it forward. If he cannot provide proof, then he's fallen to the sorry level of our sad Government of Canada (I refuse to utter the H word) that governs by casting aspersions and worse.

    Alas, the issue really comes down to people finally seeing some cracks in the PC armour and pouncing indiscriminately. From my vantage point, the media have been complicit in not bringing such matters to the foreground for years. They've been too cozy with the Government of Alberta and have allowed themselves to be private sector megaphones repeating the government's message un-critically for far too long. Remember, the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal were given exclusive access to government pronouncements for 24 hours IF they agreed to not include any opposition voices. Now that the media perceives change is in the air, they're finally looking at the contest without falling back to the default position of siding with the government. Given their historically "accurate" sel-serving prognostications that the PC Party would win when they were endorsed by the media election after election (sadly, not a particularly difficult prediction in this province), the media mistakenly thinks it's in the drivers seat and, as such, has generally been supportive of the Wildrose Alliance Party hoping to saddle up with the heir apparent.

    If the media in this province had been playing its critical role properly for the past several decades, perhaps these flash-in-the-pan allegations wouldn't gain so much credibility only to then fizzle out without so much as a blip on the radar a few weeks or months later.

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  12. Anonymous4:28 pm

    Raj had no evidence. He'd be sued for making such allegations if he wasn't in the legislature. His credibility is shot.

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  13. Oh look, maybe Raj Sherman knows what he is talking about. This looks like support for some of his statements at least:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2011/03/10/edmonton-mcnamee-documents.html

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  14. Dr Sherman may have overstated some of the allegations but this doesn't undermine his initial position that the doctors have been intimidated into staying quiet. This was confirmed by Dr Parks who said the doctors won't participate in the Alberta Health Services inquiry or the Health Quality Council inquiry--both of which report directly to the health minister--because they would be subject to retribution. Dr Parks has called for a public inquiry and a guarantee of immunity for any doctor who testifies. What does this say about the level of trust in the government and the healthcare administrators?

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