Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dear Larry: No to Latulippe

Dear Larry,

Please get a clue on behalf of the Canadian people and provide us with good government. Is that too much to ask from you people?



The eloquent version (fave paragraph emphasized):
Dear Minister Cannon:

I am writing in reply to your consultation letter of February 22, 2010 informing me of your government’s intention to appoint Mr. Gérard Latulippe as the President of Rights & Democracy (the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development).

I regret to inform you that I am unable to support your proposal to appoint Mr. Latulippe as I believe he is not suitable for this role at this critical time for this particular organization.

Rights & Democracy has had a proud and renowned international reputation - a reputation that has been seriously damaged by the current chaos that has befallen the organization. It seems clear that the best road forward would be to end all attempts to politicize this organization and restore it to its proud tradition of transcending partisanship. In this regard it seems counterproductive, to say the least, to appoint as its president an individual like Mr. Latulippe who has such strong ties to the government and its Ministers.

The curriculum vitae you provided for Mr.Latulippe appears to omit many of the more partisan aspects of his career. I note that in 2000 Mr. Latulippe was a candidate for the Canadian Alliance, one of the political parties that merged to create the current Conservative Party of Canada. I note that he was also the Co-Chair in Quebec for the party during the 2000 election campaign and prior to that was a key advisor and leadership campaign chair in Quebec for Stockwell Day, the current President of the Treasury Board.

There many other issues regarding this candidate. The CV you provided includes as part of Mr. Latulippe’s professional experience the following: “1985-1989 Solicitor General (Minister of Public Security) and Member of Parliament”. This could be seen as an overstatement since we all recall that Mr. Latulippe was forced to resign as Quebec‘s Solicitor General in 1987 due to conflict of interest allegations. Neither does his CV mention his public declaration in support of Quebec’s separation in 1994.

I further note that some of Mr. Latulippe’s publicly stated views on immigration and gay rights call into question whether he is the right person to head up an organization where tolerance and openness should not be optional.

These stated views and Mr. Latulippe’s political career path raises legitimate questions about his capacity to be a principled president for Rights & Democracy.

I strongly believe that given the ongoing scandal the government should nominate a president for Rights and Democracy who does not have obvious ties to any political party. I am confident that there are many distinguished Canadians who could meet this standard and who also could bring considerable experience in the field of human rights and democratization.

Mr. Cannon, your government has demonstrated time and again that it aims to impose on our country's independent institutions the most extreme views espoused within your own political party. This is not only contrary to the wishes of Canadians, it is contrary to the political traditions of our country. And when this approach is applied to an independent organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democracy, it is particularly offensive.

I therefore respectfully request that the government reconsider the appointment of Mr. Latulippe and instead urge the government to put forward a nominee who clearly transcends political partisanship and whose only agenda is restoring the good work and reputation of Rights & Democracy.

Yours truly,

Michael Ignatieff
Leader of the Opposition