Politics of Canada
3 min

Heads will roll – but only the bureaucrats’

The issue of those veterans’ medical files being inappropriately breached by departmental bureaucrats exploded yesterday, with the privacy commissioner’s initial investigation uncovering massive failings, to which the minister threatened to make changes and see heads roll. Well, heads except for the minister’s, as might have happened in a government that actually adhered to ministerial responsibility. Also, the minister refuses to apologize – though he says it’s for legal reasons.

Just before Question Period, Bill Siksay made a statement about Imam Delic.

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to a great Canadian leader, Imam Zijad Delic.
Imam Delic is the former imam of the Masjid al-Salaam and Education Centre in Burnaby. He has taught at the B.C. Muslim School and earned a doctorate in education at Simon Fraser University. I was honoured to be present at his convocation. He has worked for the B.C. Muslim Association and currently works for the Canadian Islamic Congress.
Imam Delic is known here at home and internationally for his commitment to interfaith dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution. Like many people in Burnaby, I attended his Islam 101 lectures at the Burnaby mosque. Imam Delic has encouraged women and men, young people and recent immigrants in the Muslim community to take their place in Canadian society.
This week, the Minister of National Defence and the government tarnished the reputation of this good man. The minister must offer a full apology.
Imam Delic is known as “the people's imam”. I am proud to know him, to work with him and to call him “my imam”.

Neither Harper or Ignatieff were in the House yesterday, which meant that Ralph Goodale got to be first up for the Liberals to ask about home care, before he turned it over to Marcel Proulx to begin the day’s raking the government over the coals over those new corruption allegations with respect to the West Block restoration contracts. In response to Proulx, John Baird gave some non-answer about how great the Federal Accountability Act is, and Rona Ambrose gave a slightly modified version of her answers from the day before, about how no one in the government was involved in the investigation, since clever people parsed out some interesting questions from the wording the day before.

Gilles Duceppe and Diane Bourgeois kept up on those allegations, while Jack Layton instead called for a full public inquiry into the veterans' files issue. Geoff Regan returned to the corruption allegations, at which point John Baird pointed out that the people in question also donated to Denis Coderre, and lo and behold, Coderre was next up in line for questions. (Incidentally, the people at the centre of these allegations have said that Christian Paradis is “full of shit” when he says that he didn’t discuss ministerial business at the fundraising party he attended with them.)

From there, questions moved on to prison spending, the national securities regulator (again), the potential conflicts of interest of the incoming PMO chief of staff, the census, more questions on the corruption allegations, developing the St Lawrence seabed, the cancellation of EI pilot programs, the red sludge disaster in Hungary as compared to Canadian toxic waste (we are assured that we have higher standards in Canada), and increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Mario Silva for his very lovely pink tie with a white shirt decorated with berry-coloured striping, under a tailored grey suit. Also, Alexandra Mendes for her coffee-coloured dress with the chocolate jacket and a tasteful scarf. On the subject of scarves, style citations go out to Lynne Yelich for an overly loud pink floral scarf, badly tied, over a black jacket and cream top. Also, Judy Foote’s goldish-and-zebra-print jacket was a very poor cut (short jackets should be banned). And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a fantastic short black dress with knee-high grey boots. Not too bad!

Much as Jim Flaherty made an inappropriate partisan rant at the Economic Club of Canada, it seems that Lawrence Cannon was next up on the list for a similar rant given to overseas ambassadors, slamming Ignatieff for supposedly not supporting Canada’s bid for a seat on the Security Council. Of course, this was just an exercise in coming up with an excuse if we don’t win the bid, rather than realizing that maybe we didn’t get it on substance, like the fact that our foreign policy has retreated greatly since the Conservatives came to power.

What’s that? Even the prison guards are saying the government’s prison plans will make things more dangerous? You don’t say!

Even lifelong Conservatives are against the census changes. Who would have thought that people who believe in science and methodology wouldn’t set aside those convictions for blind partisanship?

And the government has restored sections on gay rights in the new citizenship guide (my story here).
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