Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Conservative Culture of Deceit...

The Conservative Culture of Deceit... Another great piece by Ralph Goodale:


I don’t imagine many Canadians had even heard of “Bev Oda” – until two weeks ago. She’s an Ontario Conservative M.P. that Stephen Harper appointed to his cabinet as minister responsible for foreign aid.

Fifteen months ago, on Mr. Harper’s orders, Bev Oda terminated federal funding for a much-respected Canadian aid organization known as KAIROS.

Formed by the Catholic, Anglican, United, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian and Quaker churches – hardly a bunch of wild-eyed radicals – KAIROS had an excellent 30-year track record of helping the “poorest of the poor” around the world.

But somehow, the churches offended the touchy Mr. Harper. It was probably their passionate defence of human rights. In any event, to shut them up he cut them off, and sent the hapless Ms. Oda to do his dirty work.

Her departmental officials clearly recommended continuing support for KAIROS. When the formal government document arrived on her desk saying just that, she had it doctored – so it appeared the officials had actually recommended against KAIROS when, in fact, the opposite was true.

Ms. Oda first claimed she had no idea how that document got falsified, but a couple of weeks ago she finally had to admit it was on her explicit orders.

Tampering with documents. Misrepresenting officials. Stonewalling a Parliamentary committee. Misleading the House of Commons by failing to tell the truth. Ignoring the Speaker’s demands for an explanation.

Such behaviour is plainly dishonest. But Stephen Harper is defending Bev Oda to the hilt. Why? Because she was always just following his instructions!

Her reputation is now in tatters. She’ll never be trusted again, and needs to be gone.

But Canadians know the real culprit here. The architect of the Conservatives’ all-pervasive “culture of deceit” which condones such dishonesty is Mr. Harper himself.

If he didn’t like it, he would stop it.

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