Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday...

- Yes, the story behind the Cons' KAIROS funding forgery is far from over. And while the media and opposition will undoubtedly want to get to the bottom of the matter, Paul Dewar rightly notes that somebody else should be very interested to figure out who doctored an official document to mean the opposite of its original text:
NDP MP Paul Dewar wants Oda to appear again before the foreign affairs committee to face questions. He raised the prospect of a police probe if opposition MPs can't find out who “doctored” the document.
- Meanwhile, Murray Dobbin notes how the KAIROS forgery fits into the Cons' general style of governance:
Shocked hardly describes it. This is political thuggery worthy of a dictatorship. It clearly originated in the PMO, but Bev Oda, the hapless minister of International Cooperation, was assigned the role of Official Stonewaller. Oda's answers to questions put to her by a parliamentary committee reveal an arrogance of power that is identical in its mentality to the dozens of autocracies around the world. Oda stated she didn't know who doctored the documents she signed, but said: "I know that the decision ultimately reflects the decision I would support."

That is almost impossible to believe. Almost surely, the only reason the not was inserted into the document was that it had already been signed by Oda -- indicating she accepted the recommendation by CIDA officials. Had Oda not signed, authorizing payment of the grant, there would have been no need to doctor the document to reverse its intent. She could simply have declined to sign it and announced that KAIROS would not be getting a grant. The vulgar method used to circumvent the law demonstrates just how little this government cares about the rule of law. They couldn't even be bothered to make it credible.
- But if there's any good news to be found in the Cons' constant cover-ups, it's that they may be setting up their own government's demise. Here's John Ibbitson:
(N)ot only do the Conservatives give tax cuts to fat cats and waste billions on toys for the military and prisons that turn scared kids into hardened criminals, but they also erode democratic freedoms by keeping Parliament and the rest of us in the dark about their plans.

Only you don’t have to camp out at Liberation Square to bring this government down. You only need to cast a ballot.

None of this may matter. The Conservatives think they can win the next election on the ballot question of competence and leadership, and the polls suggest they’re right.

But don’t be surprised if you see a Liberal attack ad that shows Parliament with the doors chained shut. And the Conservatives will have only themselves to blame.
- Finally, the Star points out the dishonesty in the Cons' attempt to play to prejudice by attacking veiled voters:
No fewer than 253,069 voters cast mail-in ballots in 2008. Elections officials had no way of checking their faces. Other voters turned up at the polls with two pieces of acceptable non-photo ID, such as a hydro bill, a government cheque or an insurance policy. Still others with no valid ID at all just swore an oath and had a neighbour or roommate (with valid ID) vouch for them.

In a crunch, a veiled Muslim woman can either show her face in private to an official, or swear an oath that she is qualified to vote, and present two pieces of ID.

Given all these factors, it is absurd, as the Star has argued before, to think of veiled Muslim women as posing a threat to the integrity of our electoral system. Laws that in effect single out Muslim women send an ugly message that if minorities want to exercise their rights as Canadian citizens, they should behave and look more like the “mainstream,” whatever that might be.

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