The Government as the Bully Archetype

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

This is a very famous quote so much so it does not demand citation. However, I should like to say that it was Edmund Burke, an English philosopher who originated this quote that now has various ways of being expressed. It signifies the warning of the encroachment of government and warns that government does not do enough.

How apropos to initiate dialogue on the issue of the systemic problem of bullying and misuse of power with mention to it!

The quote certainly speaks to the evil that envelops the issue. Serving as a warning begets the dangerousness of the situation. That the warning was both for the encroachment of government and that government does not do enough acknowledges both the government’s misuse of power by exceeding its proper limits, as well as not being responsible and doing what it should.

How very appropriate to use this quote for introduction of The Brutal Truth, a very feisty non-fiction book dealing with the misuse of power and bullying issue. The subtitle A personal exposé of the corrupt and abusive Canadian Government and its legal system gives good warning and indication to what the book is about.

As the subtitle implies the book includes the author’s personal experiences from childhood and adulthood with much focus on workplace harassment issues. There is reference to the author’s positions as a financial advisor and licensed financial advisor assistant and particular focus on events as a correctional officer for young offenders. There are elements of conspiracy, faulty investigation, and terribly underhanded dealings with incompetent and corrupt lawyers and judges and their unethical legal system. Underlying these events is the battle to recover from the compounded post traumatic stress disorder –the brain damage- the authorities caused. The government authorities are easily seen as the bully that they are.

It also includes extensive analysis of the systemic problem.

The work is very much solution-based and poses the question on the front cover – “Do you want to be part of the solution?” The Brutal Truth addresses solutions.

Whether one is speaking about the bully in the school yard, the bully involved in the workplace harassment, or the bully judge or the bully lawyer; they are all bullies. The situation is much the same.

It is really most important to understand that whether one is talking of bullying among children in the school yard, among adults via workplace harassment or by the misuse of power by judges or lawyers, or other wise, it is all much the same thing, stemming from and perpetuated by the government and its legal system with its faulty laws and social norms.

If we are going to find the solutions and bring about change we must identify the problem at the root of the entire problem and address it at that level.

There are some obvious differences of course between the kinds of abuses that occur such as age, the extent of violence, and the degree of variance of power between the victim and the perpetrator.

There are however many aspects that are consistent among the issues. If you can see how the young child being bullied in the school yard by a number of classmates excessively and the handling of the situation is the same as a worker being harassed in the workplace and the handling of the situation, as the same as the misuse of power in the legal system with the judges and the lawyers and the other positions of authority and the handling of the situation, one can see them as the same problem.

The way the issue is handled is the problem. There is a societal concept to be quiet about it – not to snitch or to just take it – “ignore it” or sympathize with the abuser. The problem is not putting focus on the bully but on the victim and having the victim-blaming mentality. This ideology is nurtured by the bully authority whether they are aware of it or not. The government is the bully that perpetuates the problem with its faulty laws and social norms

Misuse of power and bullying is a complex and compound issue and is threatening the well-being of society and requires serious address.

So good men and good women I ask you, “Do you do nothing and let evil prevail?”

It does not need to be like this, indeed it cannot. Life cannot sustain itself on the path it is on. Get involved. You make a difference.

  1. Thank you to you Marilyn and to others who are taking an interest and a stance in this serious matter. By banding together with others who have survived bullying and with others who just have the good conscience and integrity to see how evil it is, there is hope that abuse of authority for personal gain or for personal gratification or for whatever factor it may be that motivates bullying in the workplace, we can make it as unacceptable as the lip-service laws, policies and mental-health-week workshop events promoted by the perpetrators, make pretense that it is. The danger of these laws and policies and workshops is that they lull potential targets into a false sense of security. Until it actually happens to you, you think it can’t happen believing that the laws and policies are in place to genuinely protect workers. When a target takes the initiative to engage in a fromal complaint process to address the problems, all too often it seems the result is intensified bullying and mobbing of the target with the objective of wearing them down and impairing their performance so that they either abandon the complaint or succumb to the pressures and become too emotionally and physically drained to carry on — to the point of irreparable harm to career and work ethic, or even more tragic ends. Before it’s too late for somebody who matters, let’s band together for strength and integrity to ensure that truth and justice and fair treatment for everyone will prevail. Thanks to the courage of Marilyn Garshowitz, Zabia Chamberlain, and others who have spoken up through Julie Ireton’s recent CBC radio series on abuse in Government, now is the time to band together and speak up against bullying in the workplace. Take care.

  2. Thank you for commenting and sharing your strength of passion and knowledge on this subject. You have voiced many important aspects of the problem. I like that you focused on the pretense within the bodies of government that lull victims into a false sense of security. It is a good part of how the victim is revictimized. Thank you for mentioning others who are also working on this. There are many. There is a shift happening! There is hope! Stay strong!

  3. FAIR is correct: the federal and TBS policies and laws on harassment, safety, violence and accommodation are clear and best among jurisdictions in Canada.

    3 years ago when the Zabia Chamberlain asked the responsible ADMs to help her, they should have immediately moved the her to an equivalent position in any one of the several buildings and branches that existed all over Ottawa Hull. This was required by safety, accommodation and harassment policies and guidelines.

    Instead senior Execs produced a TBS Harassment finding, ignoring TBS published procedure, which confirmed aggressive, profane, sexually-improper physical and verbal harassment by JA, but still offered no policy-based help to the victim.

    In their “report”, they wrote they were satisfied with their corrective measures with JA, and blamed the victim for refusing to follow his order to hire more staff, for asking asked him too much to curb his physical behaviour. It was at this point that the reckless mobbing began by Senior Executives.

    Federal HRDC and TBS officials started threatening her compensation and benefits — from early 2009 until now — if she does not sign a form falsely stating the harasser is a ‘third-party’ (thus absolving them of responsibility).

    And throughout 2009 to 2010 various others continued to threaten her, insult her, frighten her, phone her house repeatedly. The department also clawed back all her salary, apply a debt to the crown (with her needing to give back her pay and holiday credits) and issued her a Record Of Employment in Spring 2010 as if she had been fired — but without telling her so. And throughout the first half of 2010, TBS and HRDC continued to write insisting she sign the false ‘third party’ declaration.

    Unbelievably, TBS also wrote in 2010 that “indeed Mrs Chamberlain was the victim of harassment, that she raised discrimination and unfair treatment under the TBS harassment and accommodation policies”, that “the Employer is satisfied with the corrective measures, that “there was no misconduct on the part of the victim and that she was not disciplined in any way.”

    All of this misconduct was carried blatantly in plain view: the evidence is a matter of public record, on file with the PSLRB and the Federal Court. It is shocking that such mobbing and the flagrant breaches of federal policies should be orchestrated by senior HRDC executives and federal TBS.

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