(OTTAWA) A former director general of the Quebec Bar, now a senior official in the Ministry of Justice, brought an action against the federal government because it allowed him to be a candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) in the next election.
Claude Provencher, who occupies a position of Regional Director and General Counsel with Justice Canada since 2014, wanted to be a nomination contestant for the PLC in the new federal riding of Vimy in Laval. Mr. Provencher was general manager of the Quebec Bar from 2010 to 2013.
In an application for judicial review filed in the Federal Court there two weeks, he asks to reverse the decision of the Commission of the Public Service of Canada and to declare unconstitutional some articles of the Employment Act in the public service .
“I feel personally and seriously bullied in my constitutional rights to participate in the democratic life of Canada, freedom of expression and freedom of association,” said the plaintiff in legal proceedings against the Attorney General of Canada.
The law provides that the employee may engage in political activities’ unless they are or appear to impair their ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner. ”
Application for leave
As required by law, Claude Provencher presented in March a request for leave without pay to the Public Service Commission. This request, which does not specify the training for which he wishes to be a candidate, he was denied in April. Three Commissioners found that “Mr. Provencher’s ability to exercise its activities politically impartial manner could seem attainable by being candidate or try to become.”
The decision mentions several times the reservations expressed by senior management of the Ministry: “In the course of his political activities, the employee will comment publicly and possibly negatively on policies, programs and services of the Government of Canada” may reads a document produced by senior management. She also said she would not be able to reinstate him in his office or elsewhere if he lost his election.
Note that the immediate superior of Mr. Provencher, Francisco Couto, had meanwhile expressed no reservations with respect to operational impacts posed by his candidacy.
At the office of Justice Minister Peter MacKay, we declined to say if the politician or its employees were involved in this position.
The appeal could however make figure Battle principle if a decision is not made within a few weeks: federal elections are scheduled for October 19 and the parties will select their final nominees soon.