Thursday, February 17, 2011

The lesson of Oda

The whole Bev Oda scandal could have been avoided if the Conservative Party simply had more confidence in conservatism.

Just imagine, for instance, if Oda had stood up in the House of Commons months ago and emphatically stated she was denying Kairos any government funds for one simple reason: it's wrong to use tax dollars to subsidize a private church group.

That's how a conservative would handle it.

Yes, denying Kairos funds in this manner would have triggered outrage from the Left, the media and the rest of the chattering classes.

But so what?

After all, that's what politics should be about -- debate.

And besides, the Conservatives could have easily won the PR battle on this. I doubt very much if the average Canadian voter wants to see his tax dollars funneled into some left-wing religious organization, especially given the country is burdened with a monstrous deficit.

But no, rather than taking an ideological stand the Conservatives tried to pass the buck by suggesting bureaucrats were against funding Kairos, even when that wasn't the case.

I guess they figured this would mute dissent.

If that's the case they sure miscalculated. The issue being debated now isn't about Kairos or about the wisdom of it receiving government funding, now the debate is all about the Tories blatantly undermining the integrity of the House of Commons.

That's a PR battle the Tories will lose.

And it all happened because for some reason the Conservatives don't want to be seen as too conservative or too ideological.

That's too bad.

Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true."

That's a lesson the Conservatives should take to heart.

Maybe it's time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to forget the PR gurus, forget the consultants and forget the spin doctors -- maybe it's time for Harper to simply act and govern like a true conservative.

 Harper should be Harper.


natasha said...

I think it's too late. I don't think Harper remembers anymore what he used to stand for.

Anonymous said...

Wow, who would have thought that a Tory blogger would agree with the opposition.

Harper must be in trouble over this Oda affair after all.

Anonymous said...

i absolutely agree with you on this gerry. i think people are not stupid and one needs to look no further than gov chris christie and how he handles the lefty lunatics. straight forward and unrelenting.
if only our leaders had that kind of chutzpah with the public, conservatives would get their majority, no problem.


maryT said...

Did anyone ask her in QP months ago, no, so how could she have stood and said that. Should she have made a members stmt. Why didn't anyone in the opposition ask her months ago. What were they waiting for. Kairos has not had funding agreed to since 2009. Long time for them to go to the opposition for help.
This was a deliberate attack, and a lot of us would like to know who used that electric pen and a date stamp while she was out of the country. CIDA and kairos knew funding was denied, she was against it, so who prepared a document assuming the funding was coming. At least she reads documents coming across her desk.
If anyone needs to be fired it is whoever prepared that document, either misleading that funding was coming, and deliberately ignoring the Ministers wishes.
However, this has backfired on the liberals and the media, they are both being pilloried outside of the beltway. And, people are paying attention.
And who is against female conservative ministers, who has piled on them, the liberals.

Fay said...

I am not surprised you would stoop to the level of the the Liberal Oppisition,

ward said...

Actually Gerry this whole thing would have been avoided if Oda was a Liberal minister in a Liberal govt.

A brief mention on page 17 on Friday.

There is a story here and Mary T has touched on it.

Why hasn't the media followed up on the some of the excellent questions that Mary brings up.

You might not think Harper is much of a conservative Gerry, but I don't think you are either.

wilson said...

the run down, maybe some dont know parts of this story

Minister Oda says she doesn't know 'who' wrote in the not.
Which is pretty reasonable, as she was not in Canada the day it was done.

fast forward 3 months and a week with 3 polls showing PMSH is in majority territory.....
the NOT is reborn

So Minister Oda clarifies,
(still not revealing Who) she tells us why the anon person wrote in the not,
it was her decision at her direction.

See, Committee couldn't grasp that
'it reflected the position of the government and the minister', meant she ordered the rejection.
So she clarified.

If you read the committee transcript, she was never asked why or who 'authorized' the NOT,
(only asked who held the pen )nor was she given a chance to even finish some of her sentences...

CIDA agreed that Minister Oda's rejection decision was about CIDA priorities, they said so, to KAIROS (it's on their website).

a CIDA official called KAIROS
Nov 30, 2009, sorry, your project does not meet CIDA's priorities.

When Minister Oda said the same thing 2 months later,
she's called a liar.

The scandal:
Of the hundreds of papers that cross Minister Oda's desk every week,
'Who' didn't initial the NOT, and that's a no no.

Ken S from Ramara said...

Stephen Harper won't have a bowl movement without 1st consulting his spin doctor's crystal ball to ensure this action won't negatively impact his core voter base!

maryT said...

Ken S, what has the PM's bowl got to do with anything. So what if he moves his cereal bowl off the table.
How does that make things better or worse, other than it is probably on the kitchen table, and that is Layton's domain.

Anonymous said...

You are correct Gerry, but that is in a world where the media doesn't hate your guts and scrutinize what you ate for breakfast. The important thing here is that they said NO to somebody and for a fairly understandable reason to conservatives and even a lot of onlookers. They rest, they will never get it anyways. (real conservative)

Anonymous said...

Further to comment that Oda changed her story

"During a committee appearance in December, Ms. Oda said she did not know who put in the word “not” on the Kairos funding proposal that had been approved by her officials. This week, she changed her story, saying that she had provided the direction for the insertion of the word."

Her answer was rather simple in that she didn't know the "who" by name which is understandable. She didn't didn't know who wrote in the word "not" - she wasn't present.
The question wasn't who was responsible for refusing the funding for Kairos because Liberals aren't smart enough to formulate a simple question and they want to run a country - forget it.
Maybe the Minister wouldn't be called "evasive" if they asked a proper question.

However to say she "changed her story" is a misrepresentation and can not stand the test of scrutiny, because back in December 2010 , at the same meeting that Oda testified at, Margaret Biggs President of CIDA told the committee, Oda was responsible for the change, and had every right to make the change, so it was established back in December Oda was responsible for rejecting the Kairos funding. Now in February her statement that "she had provided the direction for the insertion of the word" is only an acknowledgment of what was determined back in December, by the committee, and there is no change in the substance of the story or position that can be attributed to Oda.

Margaret Biggs testimony at December meeting before committee
“I think as the minister said, the agency did recommend the project to the minister. She has indicated that. But it was her decision, after due consideration, to not accept the department’s advice. This is quite normal, and I certainly was aware of her decision. The inclusion of the word “not” is just a simple reflection of what her decision was, and she has been clear. So that’s quite normal,” she told the foreign affairs committee.”

Anonymous said...

"However, this has backfired on the liberals and the media, they are both being pilloried outside of the beltway."-MaryT

{Citation needed}