President of Quebec sovereignty group to get federal job back

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Mar 12 17:18:32 UTC 2006

>>From the Toronto Globe and Mail,

President of Quebec sovereignty group to get federal job back


OTTAWA -- The president of a Quebec sovereignty organization has been
reinstated two years after being fired from her job in the Department of
Canadian Heritage. In a ruling this week, an adjudicator with the Public
Service Staff Relations Board agreed with the department that Edith
Gendron was in a perceived conflict of interest, but said that terminating
her employment was an "excessive disciplinary measure."

Ms. Gendron worked in the department's official-languages section, where
she was responsible for meeting with provincial counterparts on language
policy. Though she revealed her sovereigntist views when she joined the
public service, it was her decision to become president of a group known
as Le Qubec, un pays! (Quebec, one country!) that drew the attention of
senior managers in her department. She was fired in April of 2004 after
refusing to resign from the separatist group.

Ms. Gendron said she is pleased with the ruling, which calls for her to
receive salary for the past two years and an equivalent public-service job
that does not create a perception of conflict of interest. "I am very
proud to have had that battle for all public servants," she said,
describing her case as an "insane situation." Ms. Gendron said she only
says positive things about Quebec sovereignty in her volunteer position
and never criticizes the federal government's national-unity policies.

That fact was acknowledged by adjudicator Sylvie Matteau as influencing
her ruling. Ms. Gendron suggested she was singled out by public servants
with ties to the Liberal Party. "I cannot deny the political views or
involvement of some supervisors, because we have to say some of them are
political nominations from, at that time, the Liberal Party," she said. Ed
Cashman, vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said he
is pleased with the ruling for Ms. Gendron and because it provides greater
clarity for public servants about acceptable political activities.

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