CIDA and a KAIROS Scribbled NOT: They Oda know better

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Sean in Ottawa

JKR-- thank you! -- clearly you get it.

It is terrifying how many do not.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

National Post editorial board: Bev Oda should resign ... or be fired

excerpt:

 

For now, Mr. Harper is sticking by Ms. Oda: He has responded to the controversy by airily declaring "It is the minister's responsibility to ensure that humanitarian aid objectives are met with the efficient use of taxpayer's dollars." But she has another responsibility, too: to act ethically and tell the truth. Her failure in this regard means she is no longer fit for Cabinet.

 

Sean in Ottawa

This is what the election should be fought over-- this is where the Cons are at their weakest.

Is it also where the opposition is at its stupidest? We'll see if they have the guts but the vote should be forced on this no waiting for a Con budget with a preplanned wall of propaganda

Life, the unive...

I don't disagree with you Sean, but I am not convinced the average person will care enough to get off their duff and actually think about why they are voting and really for whom.  When I see what Egyptians were willing to do to try to democratize their county and then see how politically lazy most people in Canada are I wonder if we don't deserve/need a Harper majority to wake up.  I don't wish for it, but I despair at how little we seem to care about such things.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Walkom: Oda's attempt to mislead is part of Tory strategy

excerpt:

From crime to KAIROS, Canada's Conservative government has developed a novel method for dealing with inconvenient reality: If the facts don't fit, invent new ones.

excerpt:

The reality in her case is that the government decided to eliminate about $7 million in funding for KAIROS because of the church-run charity's alleged support for attempts to boycott Israel. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney let that cat out of the bag in 2009.

In fact, Kenney's allegation wasn't true. So the Conservatives invented a new reason: KAIROS's actions no longer fit the priorities of the government's Canadian International Development Agency.

Yet here, too, reality intervened. Agency head, Margaret Biggs had already recommended, in writing, that KAIROS get $7 million. Had Oda simply overruled her, the minister might have had to explain why.

So Oda had the documentation doctored to imply that CIDA had suggested the cuts - and then fibbed about it to a parliamentary committee. What else was she to do? When the facts don't fit your needs, change the facts. That's the rule.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

When all the major papers - left, right, and centre - are calling for your resignation, it truly is time to go.

NDPP

Memo Fix Bears PMO's Prints - by John Ivison

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Memo+bears+prints/4291632...

"In her apology to the House, Ms Oda still failed to clear up why she didn't know who had written 'No' on the Kairos document. One suspects this is because the decision to deny KAIROS funding was taken neither by CIDA bureaucracies nor the minister.

This one has the imprimatur of the PMO all over it."

Sean in Ottawa

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

I don't disagree with you Sean, but I am not convinced the average person will care enough to get off their duff and actually think about why they are voting and really for whom.  When I see what Egyptians were willing to do to try to democratize their county and then see how politically lazy most people in Canada are I wonder if we don't deserve/need a Harper majority to wake up.  I don't wish for it, but I despair at how little we seem to care about such things.

At least an election on this is off the propaganda script the Cons are surely planning. Going with their planned script is not better.

And we are not talking about the average person who votes like a robot or does not vote. We are talking about that 10-15% of Canadians that actually are capable of switching parties. That is a target audience that does pay attention to ethics.

People understand being lied to -- we can all relate to that even if some can't to right and left and budgets. No, there always will be lazy people-- and the near 40% of them don't matter because they don't vote or vote how they are told the same way each time. I am interested in the ones that bother to go out and actually mark a ballot right now.

If we are chicken to have an election on this it is time to strike the tent and stop pretending because it won't get better and the Cons are close enough to a majority that if they control the agenda they might get one or at least return with what they have. This is a potential game changer if properly managed-- not properly managed it will be forgotten by the end of next week.This could have legs but it needs to be addressed-- if the opposition say it is not a big deal it will go away and the population will take that as a message that everyone is crooked and this is all ok.

ALL the polls and ALL the pundits say it is Harper's autocratic tendencies that are his weak point not the economy. This issue speaks to that. Way better than on a budget which, like it or not, is Harper's home territory with a lot of media to cheer lead-- even the right wing media is not cheer leading for him on this.

Yes, I am pressing because this just might be the only chance to defeat Harper in the next election.

Election campaigns have a life of their own but the trigger can be very significant if it speaks to an underlying concern in the population which this does. It is more likely that other similar issues get attached to this and the tone continue than the Cons get to yank it back to what they can control if it starts on this. Otherwise-- the Cons likely already have the ads shot and ready to go and will outspend us 4-1. The only way this works is a channel changer to be the kick-off so the massive advantage the Cons have be on things not relevant to the election.

If the ballot question is anything other than ethics, fairness and trust the next election is already over. Too many Canadians with that off the table actually think they are better off with Con policies it is only when this stuff comes out that they reconsider.

Le T Le T's picture

Slight drift...

Did I read somewhere that Peter McKay was quoted as saying something like "if this isn't a reason to resign then I don't know what is"? I think that I read this quote before Harper came out in full defence of Oda. Could this be another indication that McKay and Harper have it in for each other? No doubt (as some have pointed out here before) McKay is looking at becoming Leader and Harper ain't happy.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Le T wrote:

Slight drift...

Did I read somewhere that Peter McKay was quoted as saying something like "if this isn't a reason to resign then I don't know what is"? I think that I read this quote before Harper came out in full defence of Oda. Could this be another indication that McKay and Harper have it in for each other? No doubt (as some have pointed out here before) McKay is looking at becoming Leader and Harper ain't happy.

No, it was Liberal John McKay - I posted it somewhere. I'm sure I saw Peter McKay get up in QP yesterday and join the chorus of Con MPs defending Oda.  John McKay is on the committee investigating Oda.

ETA: Found it - you were referring to this (post #16 above):

 

Bev Oda's admission fuels howls of secrecy against Harper government

 

"If it's not a resignation offence, I'm not sure what is," Mr. McKay said after the meeting.

 

Le T Le T's picture

Thanks Boom Boom. That makes a little more sense. Otherwise it would be a fairly public coup.

Life, the unive...

Sean thanks - great post.  I agree this could be about as good a trigger as we can get.  After more than 60 years on this planet though I despair for what we have become as a nation.  A nation more concerned about the size of our TV screens than we are about the cornerstones of democracy.  I hope I am proven wrong, but I suspect most people, even in the 'left universe' will say so what politicians lie all the time about everything whats the big whoopdeedoo.  We have become a nation of politically lazy reality tv addicts.

On an equally sad note, I noticed there is still nothing about this issue on the NDP website.   Time to take off the kid gloves folks.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Le T wrote:

Thanks Boom Boom. That makes a little more sense. Otherwise it would be a fairly public coup.

It's a good reason to read and reason carefully - because errors like yours, confusing John and Peter McKay, can lead to full fledged gossip, innuendo, speculation, rumours, and ultimately, wars.  LaughingLaughingLaughingLaughing

NDPP

I agree with Sean. They should strike while the iron's hot.  This is about as perfect a trigger as you can get, the numbers are all good, and it's an iconic example of everything that's bad about Harper et al. This, the perimeter agreement, Afghanistan, corporate tax cuts and the F-35 fiasco are more than enough to win on. What the hell are they waiting for? Go now!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The temperature is definitely rising - strike now while the iron is hot. There may never be a better opportunity.

Slumberjack

I should think at this point, an announcement that this current government's existence can no longer be tolerated, and that its days of running roughshod over the vast majority of citizens must be brought to a swift conclusion at the earliest opportunity, or words to that effect, would be greeted with applause.

Caissa

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda "has got to go" for misleading Canadians over an altered document that denied funding to a church-backed aid group.

"You can't have democracy if a minister of the Crown fails to tell the truth to the people who have been elected to get at the truth," Ignatieff told reporters on Wednesday.

"This is not about her personally or Mr. Harper. It's about the integrity of the democratic system. Of course, she has to go."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2011/02/16/oda-kairos-ignatieff.html#ixzz1E9AfXWWD

Enduro Man Enduro Man's picture

You know what?  Harper has run a pretty scandal free ship for the last few years but sooner or later something sticky and stinky was going to ooze out.  This is definitely that sticky and stinky stuff.

And boy!  Does it stink!

We'll see how sticky it will be in the next few days.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The Cons are stonewalling in QP again.

 

ETA: BQ leader Duceppe just accused both Oda and the Prime Minister of telling the opposite of the truth! Laughing

Layton: "The minister (Oda) is unworthy of her office, ......and the PM is guilty of misleading this House."

Meanwhile, the PM continues to obfuscate and deny, deny, deny.  Reminds me of Richard Nixon.

Stockholm

Bev Oda in all her glory!

Oda sneaking out for a smoke

http://twitpic.com/40i53v

Lens Solution

It makes me furious that the Prime Minister and the Government are allowed to substitute another minister (eg. Baird) in place of Oda and prevent the opposition from being able to ask her questions directly.

Parliamentary rules should prevent this type of thing from occuring.  Ministers should have to answer questions on their files before the public, not be protected from doing so by someone else.

Lens Solution

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

I don't disagree with you Sean, but I am not convinced the average person will care enough to get off their duff and actually think about why they are voting and really for whom.  When I see what Egyptians were willing to do to try to democratize their county and then see how politically lazy most people in Canada are I wonder if we don't deserve/need a Harper majority to wake up.  I don't wish for it, but I despair at how little we seem to care about such things.

Yes, I worry about it too.  I know a lot of people on this thread are saying that the government should be brought down over this and that it should be the issue in the election, but I fear a lot of commentators will say Canadians don't care about controversies like this one, and are only interested in the economy.

Stockholm

In 2006 apparently Canadians cared about the possibility that Ralph Goodale leaked info. to some investors about changes to income trust.

Life, the unive...

That was on the heels of the sponsorship scandal and the dithering of Martin.  I just don't think we are there yet with this government.  Plus Canadians have become so deeply cynical about politics - thanks in no large part to Harper - it will probably take something epic to shake them out of their stupor.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Layton was just on P&P and was absolutely scathing on the Bev Oda case.

Lens Solution

Good. 

Didn't get to see P&P today, but perhaps I'll check out the re-broadcast at the website.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I think it is important to build the case that this is not an isolated instance. 

  • The stacking of the Senate
  • The use of the Senate to defeat the will of parliament
  • The proroguing of parliament
  • The committee abuses (codified into a book I believe)
  • The dumbing down of advisory committees (replacing brains with partisans)

NorthReport

The odds are not very good this is going anywhere.

I'm more interested in what policies the NDP are promoting, rather than some pathetic scandal

 Analysis: Oda defence classic Harper strategy

 

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/politics/Analysis+defence+classi...

 

Slumberjack

Of course it's not terminal.  The new normal, which appears to be undergoing revision every day, consists of a level of plutocratic corruption that is so widespread these days as to render this latest obscenity as a scout deed by comparison.

Unionist

Anyone who thinks this will terminally damage Harper should reflect back on the Clean Air Act (death of Kyoto), the $100 a month joke (death of national child care), prorogation (death of the coalition), Afghan detainees (death of the notion of "contempt of Parliament"), the omnibus crime bill (death of all resistance to neo-con "tough on crime" policy), September 2009 EI bill (death of EI reform), and every other situation where his brazen defiance and tactical brilliance has made fools of the opposition.

Unless, of course, the opposition changes its approach, which would be highly desirable.

Stockholm

I think that these outrages do have a cumulative effect...and timing matters as well. When Harper prorogued and when the news was full of stories about Guergis and Jaffer - Tory support fell and Harper's negatives went up...but then these things blow over and people forget. Now we are on the eve of an election campaign - the Tories need this like they need a hole in the head and this won't "blow over" because ven the rightwing press is putting out editorials demanding that Oda resign for being a liar and a forger. By the end of next week, the Speaker is almost certain to declare that she is in contempt of parliament in which case she will be forced to resign. Every little bit helps.

Think of how many outrages the Liberals committed under Chretien and Martin before the chickens finally came home to roost.

bekayne
Unionist

Excellent piece by Andrew Coyne (did I actually just say that?), especially the finale:

Quote:

BUT NOW we are beyond the minister, and beyond even this government. Because if this sort of conduct is allowed to stand — the minister’s first, and then the government’s in its backing of her — then it is not only this government that becomes a moral farce, but also Parliament, since it is Parliament’s job to police such things. And if the Parliament we elect can be so effortlessly mocked and defiled, then it is really us who have been as well.

So yes, Michael Ignatieff, this is a test of our democracy. I know what the minister should do. And I know what the government should do. The question is: what are you going to do?

And of course, his "alternate theory", which is the one I personally believe:

Quote:
But there is an alternate theory, that will strike many as much more plausible: that in fact she approved funding Kairos, that she accepted her bureaucrats’ advice, that she signed the document in its unadulterated form — and that it was someone higher up who ordered her, not only to alter her decision, but to pretend to have done so on CIDA’s advice, with whatever subsequent acts of deception were required — including taking the blame, undeservedly, for having altered the document, with the corollary necessity of admitting, falsely, to having lied to the committee. In other words, the only lie of which she is guilty may be the lie she is telling now.

Unionist

... of course, if Coyne's "alternate theory" is correct, that might be another reason why Harper is trying to brazen this out, rather than simply pretending to take the high moral ground and dumping her sorry ass:

1. She's blackmailing him: "Fire me and I'll tell all."

OR, less Hollywood and more likely:

2. Harper maintains robotic control over his cabinet slave-things by punishing them for original thoughts and rewarding them when they merely obey. She strikes me as an "obey" type. So he can't abandon her.

 

 

Slumberjack

Quote:
And if the Parliament we elect can be so effortlessly mocked and defiled...

The implication here is that we'll have to start taking a number.

Lens Solution

Pogo wrote:

I think it is important to build the case that this is not an isolated instance. 

  • The stacking of the Senate
  • The use of the Senate to defeat the will of parliament
  • The proroguing of parliament
  • The committee abuses (codified into a book I believe)
  • The dumbing down of advisory committees (replacing brains with partisans)

True.  The challenge is to build all of these incidents into a narrative about the whole way Harper has treated Parliament and its institutions over the past 5 years and make it into an election issue that Canadians care about.

But as other people keep saying, Canadians apparently only care about the economy and jobs and won't pay much attention to the importance of Parliamentary democracy.

Sean in Ottawa

If the opposition won't care the people will stop caring

Pogo Pogo's picture

On one level the priority is bread and butter issues.  However on another level people understand the importance of institutions and take very seriously real threats to them.  But they have to be convinced that this is serious.  I think there are enough talking heads taking up the cause that people will listen to the argument that Harper is a threat to our institutions.  The question is how many will agree (A- that he worked to erode our institutions and B - that it is serious enough that it becomes drop everything issue).

NDPP

There's never been an administration with more political liabilities to capitalize on then that of Stephen Harper's Cons. The problem is not that Harper is so effective or strong, but that his opponents are so spectacularly ineffectual and weak. If the Canadian people are uninspired, it is as much the fault of the latter as the former. Look at the kind of political energy generated by just one George Galloway, for example as contrasted with the insipid, watery gruel that passes for 'opposition' in the main, here. Pathetic.

Lens Solution

I agree, NDPP.  The biggest problem is the Liberal leader.  As long as he is such a loser, it makes it easy for Harper to keep winning - not because he is loved by Canadians, but because he is considered "capable and strong".

Look at how quickly voters in the UK are reacting against what David Cameron and the Cons have been doing.  They're 10 points behind in the polls right now.

 

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/3145

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

If the opposition won't care the people will stop caring

 

Exactly! Good point, Sean.

JKR

This is a litmus test for all Canadians. If we can condone this, then anything becomes possible. This isn't about Oda anymore, it's about the government's unacceptable behavior. The only right thing for MP's to do now is to hold both Oda and Harper in contempt of Paliament and bring down the government ASAP with a vote of non-confidence.

It's becoming clear that in all likelyhood Harper can't request Oda's resignation because his office or he personally ordered her to change her decision on KAIROS. As in Watergate, the rot eminates from the very top.

Opposition shifts its focus to Harper’s role in Oda affair

Quote:

Harper’s defence of Oda fuelled speculation among the opposition that the order to reverse CIDA’s recommendation of funding for KAIROS came directly from Harper’s office.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May said she suspects Oda was telling the truth last December when she told a Commons’ committee she didn’t know who penned the word “not” on the document to overturn the funding approval.

She said Oda likely endorsed the recommendation of CIDA officials to approve funding to Kairos, only to see that approval overruled by the Prime Minister’s office.

“No minister signs an approval for funding with which they don’t agree,” May said.

“The likely scenario is that she signed the approval (and) it was subsequently rejected,” she said.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

A lot of folks making good points here! I can't post much because I'm waiting to get to the hospital - spent last night at the cliinic.

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

The odds are not very good this is going anywhere.

I'm more interested in what policies the NDP are promoting, rather than some pathetic scandal

So Jack Layton and the federal NDP should drop this issue and allow Ignatieff, Duceppe, Mae, Coyne, and the rest of the media including the National Post lead the opposition against Conservative corruption?

It seems to me that you are interested in protecting the Conservatives out of fear that this issue might help the Liberals; but the NDP are the ones that will lose out if they leave the moral highground to the Liberals and others.

Enduro Man Enduro Man's picture

NDPP wrote:

There's never been an administration with more political liabilities to capitalize on then that of Stephen Harper's Cons. The problem is not that Harper is so effective or strong, but that his opponents are so spectacularly ineffectual and weak. If the Canadian people are uninspired, it is as much the fault of the latter as the former. Look at the kind of political energy generated by just one George Galloway, for example as contrasted with the insipid, watery gruel that passes for 'opposition' in the main, here. Pathetic.

So true.  Iggy and Layton do not inspire confidence.  Or very much else for that matter.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Enduro Man wrote:
So true.  Iggy and Layton do not inspire confidence.  Or very much else for that matter.

I think Layton is polling ahead of his party - at least that's what I see when I compare leadership and party polling.

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

A lot of folks making good points here! I can't post much because I'm waiting to get to the hospital - spent last night at the cliinic.

Hey Boom Boom, hope all is well - get back to the keyboard asap - you're Harper's worst nightmare!!

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I may be gone for a week, leaving at noon.

WFPD

I wonder if Oda would trash Harper if he stopped supporting her publicly? I wonder if she would tell the truth, which I assume means that the PMO instructed her to alter the document. Harper would probably just blame it on some staffer, but would anyone believe him?

Regardless, this scandal shines a bright light on Harper's absurd pro Israel stance. It should help to initiate a serious discussion on the matter of why this government is so steadfastly pro Israel, and if that is a good policy for Canada.

 

humanity4all

I have asked this question in other threads, but I received no response. I will ask it again, "Canada will support israel at any cost"

Why do canadians say this through their pm's mouth? Second question, what does this mean?  In practice, why is canada israel's embassy? Why does canada act as israel's embassy in caracas?

As a foreigner following politics in canada, I am quite confused...

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