While I haven’t been blogging it, I have been following the story of Edith Gendron, who was fired yesterday by her employer, Heritage Canada, for being the president of a separatist group called “Le Québec, Un Pays.” (CBC News archives.) Surprisingly, in a town that went collectively bonkers when David Levine was hired to run hospitals, the opposition is united behind her, and her union is challenging the dismissal. I think she’ll win.
The issue is whether being the head of a separatist group represents a conflict of interest. Her job is to administer official languages grants in Atlantic Canada — decidedly mid-level. Her group is so obscure I wasn’t able to find its web site — I found something with the title “Le Québec, Un Pays”, but it was really badly done, and not necessarily the site of an organization.
It’s not, in other words, as though Raymond Villeneuve was working for the Canada Information Office. As far as I can tell, there’s no direct conflict here. Either people have the right to associate freely, and to believe whatever they like, or they don’t. Belief and association are not in themselves a conflict of interest; while it may seem strange for the president of a separatist organization, however minor, to work for the federal government, the government has no business imposing a set of beliefs as a job requirement. There’s a whiff of a witch-hunt going on here.
As advertised, iTunes 4.5 plays nice with fast user switching. It used to get confused when one user launched iTunes while another user’s iPod was still attached. That’s been resolved. And, if both users have iTunes running, you can share your music libraries as though you were on two separate computers on the same network. (Not that I tried this before, so for all I know this was the case in earlier versions.)