University of Toronto
3 min

Shelly Glover – weapon of mass distraction

As the Public Safety Committee returned to Ottawa to take on the moral panic of veiled travellers, Conservative MP Shelly Glover – Canada’s Most Intellectually Bankrupt MP – insisted that people were afraid to travel during the summer season because of this threat. Err, except that it’s nothing more than a distraction and theatre anyway. Sorry, no, you haven’t managed to convince me.

Small surprise, then, that the committee descended into procedural chaos as the Conservatives ensured that their committee chair didn’t turn up, so that in the numbers game, if co-chair Mark Holland took the gavel, the Conservatives would have enough votes to have their way. Which Holland wasn’t having any of, and it all went down in flames from there.

And then on her way out, Glover, bless her, decided to launch this volley to the press:

“Today, Michael Ignatieff's hand-picked public-safety spokesman has crossed the line, by trying to play religious politics with the issue of air security.
Moments after Liberal MP Mark Holland unilaterally shut down a parliamentary review of media reports that some air passengers are not required to show their face, he said that the Conservatives would have to find another way to “take a run at the Muslim community" (QMI, August, 10th, 2010).
This is a shameless attempt to play religion-baiting with what should be a non-partisan security issue. Even Muslim leaders have said that passengers wearing the niqab should allow confirmation of facial identity — a fact that the Ignatieff Liberals ignore in their shameless attempt to play politics with this issue.
This is a security issue, period. Not a religious issue.
Michael Ignatieff must drop his so-called "public safety critic" and replace him with someone who won't play politics with such an important issue.”

Um, no. This is not the Liberals religion baiting. This is you playing moral entrepreneur to stir up a xenophobic panic about veiled travellers (exactly the way your party tried with veiled voters a couple of years ago) to try and shift the focus away from your government’s utter failure to deal with the census issue after they’ve been called out on it time and again. Sorry, but this is a non-story (as Joe Volpe proved after distributing the regulations that the Transport committee is studying around). And I’m sure she’s going to try to accuse Holland of bullying female members of the committee next, as is consistent with her MO. Stop trying to change the channel.

Speaking of the census, all kinds of access to information documents have come out about the way the Conservatives a) came to the decision, and b) tried to spin it to put the ball in Statistics Canada’s court. Sorry, but this is evil, and it breaks pretty much every sacred contract that exists between the politicians and the civil service. But hey, it’s just elites and bureaucrats that care about this kind of stuff, right?

Gilles Duceppe, by the way, thinks that instead of threats of jail, the government should simply stop providing government services to those who don’t complete their census forms. The database costs alone to make that happen would be an expensive privacy nightmare, but it is an idea. And Marc Garneau, writing in the National Post, says that this is one of the very few civic duties the government asks of Canadians – it’s not like we have something like compulsory military service in this country after all – so Canadians shouldn’t be so wound up about answering a few simple questions that really aren’t that invasive in their proper context. As he says, it’s the least we can do.

Under attack from all sides, where else does Harper turn to try and change the channel (other than the veiled traveller issue)? Senate reform, of course. Even though his plans are unconstitutional and unworkable, it’s always a sure hit with the base. Right?
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