It isn't easy being green
There's a new environment commissioner.
His name is Scott Vaughan, and we wish him the best of luck.
First of all, it's no easy task to be a so-called independent commissioner in Ottawa these days. Just ask Linda Keen, the former nuclear-safety commissioner, or Marc Mayrand, the current Elections Canada commissioner, or even Graham Fraser, the official languages commissioner. (a hat tip here to Inkless Wells)
Or maybe Vaughan might want to seek some guidance from his new comrade in arms, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser. She hit the news last week when she complained about prospective Privy Council interference in her job -- the same thing the other Fraser, Graham, was criticizing.
Or maybe Vaughan should just keep his own counsel.
Vaughan may be in a tighter spot than the other commissioners. Not only will he have to protect his independence from the government - he may have to watch himself with the Auditor-General too. There is a long-running dispute over whether the environment commissioner is really a separate entity or just a junior partner to the Auditor-General. That dispute was at the root of the departure of the last environment commissioner, Johanne Gelinas. Apparently Fraser thought Gelinas was too much of an "advocate" and not enough of an auditor.
Some people, correctly or incorrectly, said that this whole thing boiled down to jealousy of attention - an occupational hazard in the capital at the best of times.
Whatever, it probably means that Vaughan should lie low. That's what all sensible bureaucrats do in Ottawa these days.