Monday, February 14, 2011

Bev, Bev, Bev

Update (Tues. 8:15 a.m.) below.

Today in the House of Commons, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda made quite an admission:
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda has admitted that she ordered a document to be altered to deny funding to the church-backed aid group Karois.

“The 'not' was inserted at my direction,” Ms. Oda said in the House of Commons Monday. “Given the way the document was formatted allowing only for concurrence this was the only way to reflect my decision.”

Documents that emerged last December show CIDA’s top officials signed a memorandum recommending new funding for Kairos before someone – until Monday the government wouldn’t say who – inserted the word “not,” overruling the recommendation.

Ms. Oda told the Commons foreign affairs committee in December she did not know who inserted the word “not” into the documents. Then, last week, Speaker Peter Milliken rebuked the minister for the incident, calling it a “very troubling” matter.
Her full statement to the House of Commons is here.

Oda's Committee testimony, where she was thoroughly questioned on who inserted the handwritten "not" into the Kairos funding recommendation document was not forthcoming at all. The word of the Minister is in question, to say the least.

A breach of privilege report is now moving from the Foreign Affairs Committee to the House of Commons, based on this afternoon's meeting. Looks like the Speaker will actually get the chance to rule on the question now. His preliminary ruling does not bode well for the Minister and the government should take note:
Any reasonable person confronted withwhat appears to have transpired would necessarily be extremely concerned, if not shocked, and might well begin to doubt theintegrity of certain decision-making processes. In particular, the senior CIDA officials concerned must be deeply disturbed by the doctored document they have been made to appear to have signed.
What Oda's fate will be, firing, resignation, hanging in there to await a Speaker's ruling...who knows. She really should resign, if there were any modicum of respect for the institution of Parliament on the part of these Conservatives.

Update (Tues. 8:15 a.m.): Stephen Harper misses the correct leadership decision once again:
So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is standing behind his minister, CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reports.

"A senior official said Harper will not throw (Oda) under the bus for an isolated incident and he think she's doing a good job as minister and she's apologized," Fife said.
It's not a tough one either.