Posted in Canada, Community, family, government, Life, news, politics, Toronto

Breaking News: Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown Resigns!

I almost fell off my chair when I heard a couple beside me telling me that Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown resigned early this morning over allegations of sexual assault dating back many, many years.

I have spoken to some so-called party insiders who felt that Brown would not be able to defeat Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government in the upcoming election.  I got the feeling that they really wanted him out and that removing him was more important than beating Wynne.

I also know several people who know Brown personally who say that he is absolutely lovely.  Bright, articulate, passionate, and a real family man who speaks of the influence that his sisters had on him, and that these allegations seem very unusual and come at a very “strategic” time.

It’s all really confusing.

Nonetheless, if these allegations are true – and right now there is no reason to believe they are not – I feel bad for the victims.

But this could be a good thing for the Ontario PC’s – not the reasons for Brown resigning – but in the aftermath.  The actions by Brown to step down amid the allegations was swift and should reinforce the PC’s position on sexual assault.  It also provides the PC’s an opportunity to get into the race to replace Wynne by putting a strong candidate to lead the party, and there are many, many strong candidates who I feel would fit the bill.

News reports have put forward the names, Caroline Mulroney, and Lisa MacLeoud, and while I respect these women, I feel there are a few others who would do what the PC’s and Ontarians need.

First off, Christine Elliott, the wife of the late Jim Flaherty (former Federal Finance Minister), who has served as an Ontario legislator for nine years and who lost the PC leadership to Brown, would be a great Premier, as would Rona Ambrose, who led the Federal Conservative party up until she stepped down so that the new leader Andrew Shneer could assume the role.

I think right away these 2 candidates give the PC’s a known commodity, with strong leadership and vision and could re-energize the election race and stop the Liberals from continuing to ruin our province.

I felt Brown’s platform was fantastic and that if it got more press, Ontarians would see how badly we need a change of government in Ontario.

Hopefully going forward all of the issues can be resolved and we can begin the process to move forward.


Posted in Life, politics

Michael Ignatief’s fall-back job.

While trying to become Prime Minister of Canada, by any means necessary (election, coalition, sell your mother) Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatief is at his best in front of the cameras, talking out of both sides of his mouth, kissing babies all the while playing down how the Conservatives are kicking his ass.

Away from the camera, Ignatief – who will never be Prime Minister – has his fall back gig already in play.

I saw it myself, with my own eyes…

Here is Ignatief (or Iggy as his friends call him) on the campaign trail.

And here is Iggy as I know (and still dislike him) as the new mascot for the Toronto Rock Lacrosse club.  

 Which Iggy do you like better?  Both have swelled heads and both appear to be very strong.  But I suspect of you check inside both heads, you will be disappointed by what you find.

Posted in government, Life

Looking Back at 10 Years of Federal Government Bullsh*t

Want to work for the Federal Government?

Last night I was cleaning out some of my files in my home office and I came across a file I titled “Government Bullsh*t”.

I opened it up and began to toss out some of the paperwork I had accumulated during my 10 years there. I had information on the mentoring program that I helped start for the office and ended up running after a couple years. But I kept that stuff as it might be useful going forward. The mentoring program was a wonderful experience for me, working with motivated staff in my area (the first couple years) and then as the prgram expanded to be an office-wide, working with key staff from all program areas. That first group flew up through the ranks in the government (not easy getting through all that red tape) and getting to know everyone was what made this experience so worthwhile.

I also found a bunch of documents on the conference I helped set up with a manager for our region. We organized a 3 day conference about 2 hours north of the city and had some giveaways and guest speakers, sponsors… It was a wonderful experience. Key staff came from all over Southern Toronto to share best practices and talk about successes.

Then I came across a nasty letter that I recieved from my former Team Leader who was trying to convince our section manager that I was “in direct negligance of my duties and should be disciplined immediately”. I read the letter and it all came back to me…

In the area I worked, there were 4 levels you could get to within the group.
Entry level
Entry level with the ability to leave the office and travel to visit clients
Resource officer – where you help the staff with technical interpretation of the tax act, help them resolve issues, coach, mentor, provide back-up team leader duties, and manage really complex crappy accounts
Team leader.

In all my time at the government I never received a substantial temporary promotion (just days mainly, and a week here and there but only once I started complaining). That meant the only way I would be moving up in the organization was on my own merit, so by writing and passing all the exams and interviews once an need was identified and a posting made. After 5 years and much frustration, I found myself at the Resource Officer level and with all my extra duties, I was VERY busy each and every day. I had multiple inventories, and mentoring, projects, school (CGA Courses) and kids, so I was really exhausted at the end of the day.

After getting flack one day by my “acting” team leader, for the handling on one account – in light of the fact that I was managing 7 inventories in addition to my duties – I asked to be moved to a developmental team to assist in the developing of future resource staff. This move was not met with great applause as the very senior, by the book, technical gurus were offended with me being there and the group that were training were surprised that I would want to be working with them to help them develop.

Frankly, I was fed up with being denied promotion and thought this fresh start would assist me in finally moving forward.

During the first week of the program, the trainees were taught how to properly summarize accounts and asked to submit their information and their timesheet to the team leader by that Friday.

I joined this team on the Wednesday, in the afternoon, as I was winding up some of my duties (the rest of the account followed me to this unit) and I was not present at any of the meetings in which this Team Leader identifed his requirements.

On the following Monday morning he emailed me asking for the information that was due on the Friday. I responded that I was not aware of this requirement and within a few hours he had all the information on his desk.

He followed up with the letter that I found in my file…

He asked me to come with him to meet the Section Manager to discuss how “disappointing I was to him, in just the first week of the program”.

In front of this manager, he explained how he outlined the program, the requirements, the importance of learning this information and the fact that I was being disrectful by making him follow up. He felt I should be reprimanded. He openly questioned my reasoning for being in the program, the lack of my technical knowledge and the fact that I should be knocked back a level if I cannot even submit time sheets on time.

I sat still looking at the manager quite stunned and very offended. I could feel my skin getting hot, as I was burning inside listening to this TL act completely inappropriately.

One he finished, she looked at me and asked for my response.

I told her I was here voluntarily to assist the staff and that, after joining the team midway through the week, this team leader did not bring me up to speed on any requirements and that after hearing from the staff this was required, that on my own, I started wotking on it. In addition to the fact that I was already at that level – for 2 years – and this Team Leader was the chairperson on the hiring board that I moved up on so he should have known this. I also mentioned that we are talking about timesheets, for g-d sakes, and that I was chosen, that year, as the employee of the year, for the entire region – covering 14,000 employees for all my efforts at the job, through volunteer work, and in personal development through courses I had taken and for my technical work on key accounts. I think he picked a fight with the wrong person…

She was livid.

She apologized to me and asked me to leave.

I stood outside the door and listened to her rip him out. She told him that there was no way I could go from being chosen the regions “MVP” by senior management to being “Incompetant and should be disciplined” in a mere 6 months.

I knew from that moment that this team leader was going to be a thorn in my side, and boy was I right. Every opportunity he had to overlook me or praise someone else, he did. Right up to my last day in this program – I was leaving my 9 months of paternity leave – I overheard him commenting to my colleague on how he didn’t think anyone was going to finish all the requirements for this program within the one year, let alone me who had only been with the group for 6 months.

Not one minute after those words left his lips did I peek my head into his cubicle and ask him to sign off on my last requirement for the program.

I was finished. The program itself was great, the team leader, really needed to develop his managerial skills. He was very disappointing and petty.

What got me the most was not even one day after I had left to begin my leave I received an email from a colleague thanking me for all the help I had given them (I kept that email too) and telling me that this Team Leader was trashing me to the group saying that I didn’t do any of the work – none of it was on time – and that they should move on and forget I was even there.

If there was one thing I learned while working in the Federal government it was that if you wanted to move ahead in the organization, you had to keep your nose clean, do as you are told and do not challenge the old boys network. I did none of the above and still managed to move up and eventually out.

While it made for a tough battle day-in-day-out, I worked on my accounting and eventually got my MBA before I left (and no they did not pay for it), but the remaining legacy of my time there is not the programs I created and ran to develop and support staff, or the committees I was asked to join and help out with, or the processes I suggested to improve employee morale, but rather the message that a couple managers chose to spin about my work ethic being poor, or my lack of attention to detail.

Not too long ago, I decided to ask for access to records kept in the government which included my name and I got to select from a variety of people, and of the 900 pages I received, there were a good 200 pages in which conversations between several managers occurred for the purpose of getting the story straight on how they were going to avoid having to promote me and what they were going to tell the staff.

The effort they went to to smear me looks to be far greater than the amount of time they spent doing things like managing their teams and improving morale.

I’m just glad I have it in writing…

I’m tired of having to “set the record straight”.

Can’t wait to see what else is in that folder. 🙂

Posted in family, Life

Thursday Thirteen

It came to me last night during a conversation with a friend that a lot of people may not know much about me other than the tidbits I choose to share.

Case in point… This friend thought I was “left wing” (shudder). 

I tried explaining my views.  Then I thought about the image I have been portraying through my posts.

So I thought this Thursday Thirteen could discuss a little about me.

1) I’m right-wing conservative.  Always have been, always will be.  Not radical / extremist as I hate extremists.  They ruin everything.  I’m for big business and capitalism.  I believe that people have choices to make in their lives and they should live by those choices.  If you decide to skip school as a kid and not graduate then you stand a much greater chance of being a drain on the system.  Your choice.  Don’t make me pay more for your welfare because you thought smoking up and drinking were more important than school.  I chose to trudge through school and fight and claw to 2 other degrees, graduate and post-graduate.  I don’t need, nor do I want the government to prop me up.

2) I am environmental to the core.  Don’t like pollution, waste or what is happening to the planet.  I’ll hold “garbage” which can be recycled with me until I can.  I feel bad for birds covered in oil from toxic spills and I have boycotted companies for polluting.  Geez. I drive a hybrid.

3) I love sports.  Prefer playing them, but like watching them too.  Hockey, Baseball, basketball and lacrosse.  Love them all.  Also fiercely patriotic, so that ties in sports-wise. 

4) A good time to me involves my family.  If I’m doing something I want them with me. 

5) I have never taken or been offered drugs and in a sheltered sort of way I judge people who do.  Sorry.  I just do.

6) I’m ok with my lack of hair but my expanding physique really bugs me to the point that the stress causes me to eat.  Stupid, eh?  Nothing relaxes me more than a great sweaty workout.  I recently hired a personal trainer to help me get through this difficult issue I have with my body.

7) I hate conflict.  But if I have to  will fight to win in the most ruthless manner.  My morals go out the window if I’ve been wronged.

8) I love loud aggressive music.  Saliva, STP, Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, Disturbed, Theory of a Deadman… The louder the better.  But I cannot listen to anything that sounds like my kids banging on pots and pans, nor rap.  That shit makes me sick.  And no, rap and that horrible lip syncing stuff is not music.  Real music dies when sampling begins.

9) I am educated and continue to expand my knowledge on a daily basis.  Looking at courses right now.

10) I love gardening.  Love it!  Also like painting (houses, but not the taping part), enjoyed running (until injured).

11) Hate stupidity.  My patience over the years has declined and while I can still hold back I try. 

12) I have a wicked temper.  I seem to have less and less control of it when it comes to the stupidity of others.  I believe it is called speaking up.

13) I am a blogger.  As I approach 500 posts on this blog and as I try to re-brand my professional tax blog I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy blogging – way more than “tweeting” – and I can see this expanding for me as more and more people become familiar with my writings (on the tax side, not this one).

There.  A little more about me.

Posted in government

Definition of Frustration: Earning a MBA while being told you are “Not Qualified to Manage!”

Not qualified to manage!!!

I look out from my desk into my work floor which holds about 80 employees, each of who should be spending the majority of their day, on the phone, resolving files, speaking to their clients, and to others within the organization, but what do I hear?


Well, not entirely true.

The guy beside me is rambling some nonsense on the phone to his client, who, if it was me, would have hung up 15 minutes ago.

But the rest of the floor?

Quiet. Silent. On break, sleeping, or worse.

How could this happen? Day after day. Doesn’t anyone care?  Where are the managers?  Is there any leadership in this place?

As far as I can tell there is one manager on the floor and all I hear is the clicking of his keyboard every now and then.  He must be either emailing his smoking buddy to arrange the next butt-trip, or he’s bored out of his mind and is working his team’s accounts.

Great job. No one motivates the staff to work, or promotes the team concept to work for each other and for the greater cause. But why should they? Budgets and targets are set by managers, and their managers, so guess who gets the rewards for making these targets? The managers. They get bonuses. The employees?  Nothing. Which is probably why I only hear 3 voices during an average day – mine, my clients and my team leader, when I go over to bug him about a clients and to get support, or update him on the discussions.

So what would it take to make people motivated?  In my honest opinion… Fire half of them. Or, ask staff where they want to be and put them there.  To motivate me?  Finally promote me to a manager, or group manager,  8 years ago I wanted to be a Team Leader.  5 years ago I was ready to manage.  Now… I think strategically and I am ready for more.  Sadly, I work in am environment – government – that rewards smoking buddies over brains.  I work in an environment where a warped perception of “employment equity” guidelines are taken a little too seriously.

Sure, the senior management team is predominantly older white males, but why then should every position under that be given to anyone and everyone EXCEPT white males?? I’m not asking for that senior a management position. If it’s such a problem, move some qualified people into senior positions. Don’t by pass qualified staff with unqualified people who are not suitable to manage. That’s what happens here and the long-term prognosis is not good at all, as the future management group will be diverse but certainly not good at what they do, not good at leading and motivating their staff.

As far as I am concerned, there is one almost-qualified manager in this division which boasts 14 managers.  This guy gets it. He knows when to put the pressure on, and he expects results from his staff.  I’d love to work for this guy.  My stats (already phenomenal) would go through the roof – which might be why we are not working together.

Now getting back to employment equity, I know there is a big discussion going on about the merit of this program, and I can make an argument for both sides of the debate, but in my specific work environment, I think they need to resort to the old street hockey mentality… Throw all the sticks in the middle of the street. Pick 2 captains and let them pull sticks at random to form their teams. There are some guys and gals here who are not at the level needed to be considered for managerial positions, but having dealt with them and witnessed their skills and abilities, they are way more qualified to manage here than 90% of the people that do manage here. Of all races, religions, colours and creeds. I say give them a shot and if they fail, give them time to learn and give them another shot. Staff know who would make good managers and who suck.

Those that tried and failed should be demoted.  Why keep someone there who is not qualified or good at the job.  Most staff are more concerned about the direction the organization is moving in then the current crop (crap) of team leaders anyways.

Sorry. If you don’t like it, you can quit. 🙂

As for senior managers, I strongly believe that there should be some strict criteria needed, possible a graduate degree in business.  No MBA’s, or real-world experience, then no managerial job. Leadership begins at the top, and goes down.

I believe some of the main reasons why I’m not managing are; I’m a great worker, my peers respect me, I think strategically, I don’t smoke, and I am a people person.

My employer tells me those qualities are not welcomed in a leader in the government!  Smoke break anyone?