Saturday, July 24, 2010

Who will do the right thing?

Tony Clement is reported to have said in one interview this week that "There’s not a micron of difference of opinion between myself and the prime minister on this."

Now it appears from some reports that Clement actually argued, in Cabinet, against the change but was overruled by His Harpiness. After tugging at his forelock he then went out into the wider, more intelligent, real world and tried to sell what was essentially unsellable, using all the tools so readily at hand for the Reform-a-Tories – lies, obfuscation, denial, blame, misdirection, fear.

By all accounts Tony Clement is not a stupid man, and one whom I assume went into politics with honourable intent. But where is the honour when he so clearly checks his integrity at the Cabinet doors?  (And that’s not to pick on Clement. Think Poilievre, Baird, LeBreton, Day, and on, and on, and on – well some of them really are stupid, but you get the point.)

I’ve blogged on this before (, and like I said then, I just don’t understand how smart people can let themselves be manipulated and abused by a tin-pot dictator day in and day out without screaming “enough” and trying to salvage at least a small amount of their pride. I know many others who have quit more lucrative jobs (myself included) for far less reason, so what is their excuse?

I know some would say it’s easier to effect change from within, and that’s true to a point, but I would also suggest that when your boss tells you to lie in public it’s time to take a stand, and I for one, would hope that at least one or two of the principled people in whom we entrust the management of our country would stand up and be counted.

But sadly, in Canadian politics today, I can’t think of a single Member of Parliament that I would trust to do the right thing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tony Clement – hoisted on his own petard

The news yesterday that the head of Statistics Canada has resigned over the long-form census debacle brought this bit of Tony Clement disingenuity into focus.

Speaking to Susan Lunn on CBC’s The House Saturday, Clement offered this gem:

... if you’re critics of the government you're not going to necessarily trust a member of the government and his point of view on this, but if you don't trust Tony Clement you can certainly trust Stats Can.

Now would he be possibly be referring to Mr. Munir Sheikh, the Chief Statistician, who resigned over Clement’s incompetent handling of this file?

As also quoted in the same Globe and Mail news item:

“With Dr. Sheikh’s resignation, Statistics Canada, and indeed the nation’s statistical system, has lost the committed services of a man of integrity and honour,” Mr. McKinnon said.

Of course Messrs. Clement, Harper, et al wouldn’t know “integrity and honour” if it hit them in the face, and in fact appear to have now mounted an attack campaign criticizing Dr. Sheikh.

This one’s a long way from over folks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

So explain to me again who’s winning the war on terror.

One doesn’t have to look too far these days to see that while the “terrorists” may not be winning militarily, they have still managed to inflict a flurry of body blows on the west. Whether it’s the economic impact on business caused by enhanced border security and air travel restrictions, the increased financial burdens for security (the billion dollar boondoggle in Toronto being just the most recent egregious example), or the curtailment of the most basic of human rights (ditto billion dollar boondoggle), western governments are now dancing to their tune.

And here is the latest example of stupidity on this file.

The federal agency in charge of airline security admits its staff were wrong to force the head of a non-profit agency off a plane at a B.C. airport and then detain her because they believed she was carrying too much money.

Wendy Toyer of the ALS Society of B.C. was carrying cash and cheques donated at the ALS Walk in Kamloops as she boarded a plane at the city’s airport last Saturday.

Wendy ToyerSo here’s a woman who hardly matches the profile of a terrorist, yet she was forced off a plane and detained because someone “believed she was carrying too much money.”

CATSA of course is all apologetic, as they should be, but only for forcing her off the plane in Kamloops. Instead they should be apologizing to her for breaching her privacy by reporting her to the RCMP in the first place. But here again individual rights are being tossed out the window under the guise of fighting terrorism and it’s poorer cousin, crime. 

Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Quentin Smith said CATSA shares information with the police under the Privacy Act where proceeds of crime and terrorism are concerned.

CATSA staff are asked to contact RCMP if someone is travelling with a large amount of cash although there is no law against doing so. (emphasis mine)

Read the full story here: