Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prime Ministerially Sanctioned Lies

With Prime Minister Harper doggedly defending Bev Oda's lying to Canadians by trying to deflect the KAIROS issue as a matter of ministerial privilege, we might want to take a look at what it says about this government.

First of all, let me be abundantly clear - the issue is not the minister's decision with respect to KAIROS. That may be one of the more thick-headed decisions from the HarperCon$, but it's far from a the root of this issue. I might want the government to be more transparent about why it axed the funding beyond simply refusing it considering that CEDA's recommendation was so clear, but the minister absolutely has the right to make that final call.

The issue is that Bev Oda has repeatedly changed her story about the penned in "Not" in the document we've all seen. One day she knows nothing about it, another day she admits that it was added on her instructions. In any world I'm familiar with that makes one of the two statements an outright lie. In a parliamentary democracy, lying to parliament, whether in the House of Commons or one of its committees, is lying to the Canadian public.

Along comes the Prime Minister trying to bludgeon the opposition by claiming ministerial privilege to make a decision. Hmmm...a convenient attempt at deflection which I think deserves some additional consideration here. The political head of government is now essentially endorsing lying to the Canadian people - and not even a lie that they haven't been caught out in, but a blatant lie that has been exposed for what it is.

Cynically, one might look and say that all politicians lie, what's the big deal? True enough, except that I think there's more here than just the lie itself. We have a minister who would have been compelled to resign long ago by other Prime Ministers - generally speaking getting caught in a blatant lie is pretty fatal to one's cabinet post.

But, let's think back a bit to another member of Harper's Cabinet whose career has hit a brick wall. Remember Diane Ablonczy? Yeah - she was the Minister of State who had the gumption to provide funding to Toronto's Gay Pride celebrations and was promptly muzzled and demoted for offending "The Base". (Anyone else noticed that her profile since has been positively subterranean when it comes to announcements and the like?)

What's the difference here? Ablonczy did something that damaged the HarperCon$ credentials with the wingnut base that has been supporting them in hopes of getting some or all of their Theocracy dreams realized. Bev Oda didn't. In fact, what she did no doubt enhanced Harper's credibility with "The Base" since KAIROS is mostly run by the moderate church organizations - you know the same ones who aren't up arms over GLBT rights.

What we have here is a Prime Minister defending a minister who LIED to Canada's people because her actions support the unstated goals of Harper and his backers who desperately want a majority in Parliament. The fact that Harper is so clearly NOT bothered by his ministers lying to Canadians should terrify all of us, because it calls into question the veracity of every statement or promise that he's ever made.

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