Monday, May 08, 2006

Vellacott in the act

Both CBC News and the Dan Report have noted the latest nonsense spewing from the mouth of Maurice Vellacott. But a couple of important points seem to have been missed in the discussion.

First, both sources seem to give Vellacott too much credit in his response when called on his inaccuracy:
"As I'm not a member of the cabinet, I obviously do not speak for the government of Canada on these matters," he said in a statement Sunday.

"For my part, I appreciate the important role judges play in our justice system in ruling on the written laws and constitution of Canada. I respect the independence of our judges as a fundamental aspect of a free and democratic society."
CBC's headline considers this to reflect Vellacott "eating crow", while Dan describes it as Vellacott "swallowing his pride". But while the answer clearly reflects Vellacott being put in his place to some extent, it doesn't actually admit any error in the words Vellacott put in Chief Justice McLachlin's mouth. Instead, Vellacott merely tries to change the subject by talking about judges generally rather than about his original claim. And of course, Vellacott also tries to argue that any error on his part shouldn't reflect on his party.

Which leads nicely into the second problem with the coverage. In light of Vellacott's assertion that he doesn't "speak for the government", it's worth keeping in mind that Vellacott was hand-picked by Harper for his committee chairmanship. And having given such direct approval to Vellacott, Harper must also be taken to at least be willing to overlook Vellacott's wilful disregard for reality.

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