Friday, March 18, 2011

PROC part 3

Today is the unofficial roast of Bev Oda; this committee is brought to you by the word "Stipulate" and the number "0", which is precisely how many straight answers we garnered. I can't help but feel that if we had a much less patient chair, this would be much faster. Joe Preston is great, very fair it seems (Edit: had been prior to today), but also has a slightly disinterested air, as though answers are not that integral.

We have at least seen the face of the physical addition of the NOT, but she is now sitting with a different office. There are some pretty heavy questions about whether the decision to cut funding was provoked by a speech given by Jason Kenney that called KAIROS "anti-semitic", but Oda denies it and further proof is hard to come by.
I actually really hate the Bloc's line of questioning about why KAIROS was denied funding - whether she had the right to deny it's funding and the method she chose to indicate her denial are the issues at stake, her judgement, if it is her call to exercise it, should be examined in a separate committee. Either she has the right to determine it, or she does not; the nature of it's viability should not be in question.
When asked, she has no answer as to why she did not initial the NOT, which would have eliminated a lot of confusion.
Beverly Oda refuses to offer a suggestion about how often the auto-pen is used, i.e. if it is common practice to use it.The pen itself is stored in a small office where it is apparently locked and only two authorized public servants are able to use it, but the time limit interrupts the explanation of how it's use is put into practice.

There is some discussion about whether she misled the opposition through omission or commission, and Pat Martin raises and excellent point that she has "knee-capped" her senior officials, which is truly the case if she has taken the whole privilege of decision on herself. One would wonder why the requirements for funding should not be more strict, perhaps reducing these problems to an issue of "valid or not".

She closes by insisting that she has answered everything truthfully. She twiddles her fingers habitually.

Biggs from CIDA confirms at a question from Terence Young that the type of paper being discussed is often considered a memo for approval from the minister. He lobs her an easy question about what would happen if she approved every application- which no one really cares about, but this smells like a fillibuster. This idea was pretty well confirmed when someone raises a point of order that there is no time for additional questions with the time being taken up for conservative questions. Scott Armstrong follows the questions with some random flirting about how polite he is and how he plans on giving her ample time to answer - read, "Regurgitate the garbage you've been spewing". Bev Oda says her ministers are good but, "the buck stops here", indicating herself. You hear that, world? She is the DECIDER.
Armstrong: "Things are so hard for you, aren't they?"
Oda: "So hard!" *plaintive look*
She follows this up with the reasoning that there is no point to build a school in Haiti because it will just be destroyed anyway. I like when she later suggests that the government is made up of committees like a transformer.

Marcel Proulx says the chair is unfairly favoring the conservative. Preston seems to have been saved by the clock, since he was being pretty pointedly questioned about fairness, etc. Someone has objected that he was treating all the opposing parties like one big party, and I am inclined to agree with them. They gratefully break for an hour lunch.

Upon returning Mary Corkery, head of KAIROS, is being interviewed; Although I would rather if KAIROS was funded, no one cares that they have been funded in the past, or that they have a good relationship with CIDA. They have no obligation to fund them. It was a little heartless that KAIROS was informed over the phone that they were not being funded - they were cited that they did not meet CIDA priorities - but there are more gentile ways of breaking up with organizations.
KAIROS is made up of a gathering of smaller 'grassroots' organizations, but a minister wondered why the individual groups don't apply for funding; Mary's answer outlined that they are too small (lacking the administrative clout) to independently apply for funding. The committee noted how odd it was that they had only a few hours notice that they had been cut from funding, with no transition funding or such, but I am not sure if that is supposed to have higher ramifications or such.

A large amount of arguing about contempt and intention follows here, with the highlight being, in my opinion, that those who love and support parliament could never support diluting the word "contempt" with frivolous findings of such.
Pat Martin wonders if we should hold ministers to a higher level of truthfulness.
John McKay suggests that Bev Oda could have saved herself a lot of grief by holding herself to a higher standard and fully answering the questions, which just proves he hasn't read the rules of the game.

Harold Albrecht: received an apology from David McGuinty who was referencing Wikipedia for his information about Mr. Albrecht's relationships with members of churches.
Tom Lukiwski objects to yesterday's motion about the two page conclusion with no evidence. 

At the end they have carried the motion, a two-page draft report regarding the conclusion of the committee. Tommorrow shall see the decision about whether it will be made in camera or not, which if the report does not contain any evidence, as it is outlined to, will mean we, the people, get to open our mouths and shovel in whatever finding the committee horks up. 


Anonymous said...

Good heavens. Slogging through all that and still coherent at the end of it! You are amazing.
lol, mapa

Miss Ernst said...

I wish I could pretend it was harder, but it was so hilarious, I was darn-near riveted; politicians are a wacky bunch!