Should public servants be paid to work on re-election campaigns?

A friend of mine (who reads the SDMB but can’t post this right now) was doing some research on government travel expenditures (Canadian government, but I imagine the waste is as bad in the US), and he noticed something. It seems there are public servants, who are by mandate supposed to be impartial in their work, who are being flown around the country to work on the Liberal’s re-election campaign, and being paid public dollars. This link shows a list of a few of them.

So the question is, should the incumbent government be allowed to use the public service as support for their own election campaigns? This seems to me to be both unethical and unfair to the challenging parties, and I am unaware of the full election rules, but we were wondering what others would think.

In a very tangental way, this is already going on with the recent happenings in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Incumbent* vice president Dick Cheney went to Lincoln to drum up campaign contributions for fellow republican Fortenberry. The mayor, a democrat, has sent Cheney a bill for the expenses needed to secure his visit which was not necessarily related to his position as vice president but as a private citizen working on a campaign.

Should the local taxpayers of Lincoln, NE have to front the costs for a vice presidential visit when its purpose is to solely behoove a campaign run? No. In my opinion, all amounts spent during a campaign should come directly out of the candidate’s (or party’s) coffers and no public funds should be used.

*Since it’s been rumored that Bush may pick another running mate.

In the U.S., think it’s safe to say that a lot of federal employees are working hard to get Bush re-elected – including the entire White House Staff, even if their activities are not directly related to campaigning. And when a member of Congress is running for re-election, his or her staffers get drafted into campaign work, directly or indirectly. Even the guy who sends out form letters in response to letters from constituents is helping build the congresscritter’s image for re-election purposes. It’s something we just accept as one of the advantages of incumbency. Maybe we could get it out of the system, but I don’t see how.

There was just a big scandal in Ireland about this. I didn’t follow the details too closely (manwithaplan can correct me if I get anything wrong) but the gist of it was that the Minister for Education ordered civil servants in his department to work on some kind of briefing document which was solely for distribution to local government candidates in the Minister’s party, Fianna Fáil. The Minister had to issue an apology in the Dáil (parliament) chamber and the party has to pay back the costs of the documents.

Knowing Fianna Fáil though it’s a safe bet that the only unusual thing here is that he was caught :rolleyes:

scule, all you’ve provided is a listing of the employees in the “Tour Support Section” of the Privy Council office, which provides administrative support for members of the Cabinet. The Tour Section presumably arranges for travel on official government business, such as the Prime Minister’s recent trips to the Normandy memorials and the G8 Meeting in the U.S.

You’ve not provided any information suggesting that those employees are currently providing assistance to the PM or Cabinet ministers in their campaign work. Normally, it’s the party which makes the arrangements for campaign travel, and picks up the cost. Do you have anything further to support your suggestion?

And by the way, if public servants are assisting in political campaign planning, they would appear to be in breach of section 33 of the Public Service Employment Act:

So, unless you’ve got something further that you’ve not posted, I don’t see anything to debate.

I’ll have to ask my friend to look into that issue, because he’s the one who brought this all up but he could not post the debate and asked me to do so in his stead. I’m thinking in future I may not post anything on behalf of someone else because I may not be sure of the depth of their research. So Mcott, if you read this, answer Northern Piper’s question please.

In any case, I guess the debate would be whether or not it is appropriate for civil servants to work on election campaigns, presumably while being paid through tax dollars. I have a feeling, though, that there won’t be much debate on the issue, since I imagine everyone will agree that it is not right.

Well, then. Being involved with government travel arrangements, when the PM’s office calls to book a trip for a campaign stop, for a government employee, being paid for with tax dollars, to do audio work, I tend to get suspicious. Thanks for posting the OP scule, but hey, cover’s blown now.

All info posted should be available if someone should want to do a FOIA request, but that’s on your dime.

ATI request. Wrong country.