Canadian federal Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, was in the news recently for taking a position that directly contradicts what his departmental officials had advised in a briefing note. That’s not really news, in my opinion: it’s both a minister’s right and their habit to disregard advice. The civil service proposed something … the minister decided something else. Dog bites man.
What will be of more interest to readers of this blog is that the story, reported by CBC News’s Power & Politics, includes an undated briefing note written for the Minister on this issue, acquired through an access to information request. Sections of the briefing note have been censored, but you can get a sense of the formatting and style which I would characterize as “old school” in its wordiness. Note that the Deputy Minister who approved this (not, we would note, authored it) was William Baker, former Deputy Minister of Public Safety who retired from the Public Service of Canada in July 2012 after a 33 year career.