Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Weird Case of Bev Oda. . . . . .

There is something distinctly bizarre about this situation with Minister Bev Oda. Now we know that there was significant wrongdoing here because Minister Oda has essentially admitted that she misled the house (a nice euphemism for lying), and she did so for a considerable length of time. And this is clearly enough to not only sanction Minister Oda but there should be other, more sever consequences for someone lying to the House of Commons.

But despite the fact that Minister Oda has done wrong and refuses to admit the significance of this act as well as refuse to tell us who altered the document, there are very strange questions here. For example, why did the minister suddenly admit wrongdoing after all this time? Without her admission there would never have been any way of proving that she had done something wrong. And if she had a sudden attack of conscience, why stop at simply admitting that she had the document altered? Why not explain who altered it and where the orders came from?

Another question that is very strange is how do we know the document was altered after it was signed? The media keeps reporting the events this way, but I have never heard an explanation as to why we know this. Could Minister Oda not have simply inserted the now famous "Not" and then signed the document? I don't know, but something is weird about this.

Despite these questions, what seems clear to me is that the decision to stop funding for KAIROS came directly from the Prime Minister and he has known for a long time that the document was altered and he is clearly culpable in this rather grand, though apparently unnecessary, deception. And herein lies the rub. When a Prime Minister has made it clear from the beginning that all the decisions of his government come from him, then it follows that this decision must also have come from him. And thus it also follows that if the alteration was illegal or unethical, then Harper is directly implicated.  And if there was an ongoing deception concerning the alteration, then Harper is guilty of being involved in a genuine cover-up.

This is what is weird about the whole thing; no one needed to alter documents or cover anything up. As people have correctly pointed out, right or wrong the government had the right to cut funding to KAIROS regardless of what recommendations they received. So why cover up the real issues?  I suppose this is much like the long-form census situation in which the government wanted to create the illusion that their decision conformed to the  recommendations of various levels of civil servants, thus keeping them at arm's length from decisions that are actually made because the Prime Minister is eaten up by ideology. Everyone knows that the Prime Minister cut the long-form census because he wants to avoid pesky facts that might contradict his ideologically driven policies. Presumably the same thing is at issue here. Harper wanted to take away funding from a group which is (rightly) critical of Israeli policies but he wanted that decision to appear NOT to be driven by his dispensationalism. Thus an altered document and a cover-up ensued. But presumably everyone knew that this document would become public and therefore people would know that the Government had once again ignored the recommendations of civil servants, so why not just admit it from the very beginning? Is it just like the long-form census, in that this government is just so arrogant that they no one will ever call them on anything? After all, they really believed that Munir Sheikh, a man who had committed himself to the importance and relevance of statistics, would just go along with the lie that he had recommended the abolition of the long-form census. It just seems that, like so many narcissists, Harper and Baird think that they can do anything that they want and no one will ever contradict them.


doconnor said...

She admitted to it just minutes before a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting that was going to debate a breach of privilege motion on her refusal to say who did it. That's explains the timing.

The document was signed first by two CIDA officials who testified the NOT wasn't there when they signed it. It's not clear if the NOT was added before or after Oda signed (or rather the signature was stamped on it) several weeks later.

They didn't admit to it up front because they thought they could get away with it. It's a normal human weakness.

kirbycairo said...

Thanks doconnor, I knew that the FAC was going to talk about it but she still could have kept denying it, which seems to be their normal strategy.

But I din't know that the CIDA officials had about the signing, though that still doesn't seem to be a breach unless Oda claimed publicly that CIDA was against the funding. (Maybe she did I don't know). I think in the end the real problem is that Harper had to have been in on the deception.

Anyway thanks for that doconnor.

Owen Gray said...

Oda was also ensnared by Jason Kenny's previous claim that KAIROS was essentially anti-Semitic.

Oda is not a particularly bright bulb. But she is carrying water for even bigger fools.