In fairness, how many of us remember Paul Martin?

by Aaron Wherry

The government begins to detail its side of the Suaad Hagi Mohamud story.

The documents allege she lacked knowledge about Toronto, where she had lived for 10 years. She couldn’t name Lake Ontario, and even though she took public transit to work, she had trouble explaining the acronym TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission.

She didn’t know that the acronym for her Toronto workplace, ATS, stood for Andlauer Transportation Services. She also couldn’t name the current or previous prime minister and was unable to describe in any detail how she obtained her driver’s licence.




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In fairness, how many of us remember Paul Martin?

  1. There are simply way too many inconsistencies and were I the customs officsial I would have been derleict in my duty to allow this one to pass. There is something else going on with this story deep down – the part about when first interviewed her sister may have been what started all of this – an investigative journalist needs to dig into this story as I have a funny feeling that there is way more going on here than what lays on the surface!

    • You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. People arriving at borders who have lived in Canada for years very often give inconsistent stories and are not able to provide details. Partially it is because they live in ethnic ghettos, partially it's because they don't take an interest, partially it's because they aren't necessarily as educated or literate as the rest of us. That doesn't mean they should be refused entry. Canadians have the absolute constitutional right to enter Canada. Officials who are determining immigration matters need to concentrate on what is important – whether the person they have in front of them is Canadian or not. If the story is confused, whoever is making that determination must take every available avenue to ensure that the person is proved Canadian or not. The embassy staff totally screwed up. You don't refuse people entry because their lips appear a different size on a photograph. Don't even think about slandering Suaad Hagi Mohamud, worm. She's Canadian – full stop. You need to apologize.

      • What about the Sudanese sister that was pretending to be her? Does she deserve to enter Canada? What about the rest of the Sudanese people that would really like to be Canadian?

        • What about them ? Canadians have the absolute right to enter Canada. Or are some Canadians more equal than others, Dakota ?

          • I get not knowing landmarks and Prime Ministers,
            but your own childs birthdate, where he was born, and the date on your marriage certificate, and how/where you got your drivers licence……? Highly suspicious.

          • You weren't there to see the conditions under which she was questioned and neither was I. If she was in fear she could well have tried to hide that information to ensure that nobody tried to get at her kid. Also, you are assuming that the government's version of events is correct. The government has already been caught out completely screwing up, so they have a lot of incentive to try to paint Suaad Hagi Mohamud as the cause of her own misfortunes, which is exactly what they are doing with this partial disclosure at trial which has been propagated in the media. Just like the Conservative Party does. Just like you do, Wilson.

            She only had a problem because a Kenyan official tried to solicit a bribe from her, and she refused. Then she was turned over to the 'tender mercies' of the Canadian officials in Nairobi, who, instead of helping her, sealed her fate with the Kenyans. It's disgusting that Conservatives like you are trying to defend the indefensible. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

          • Given the stories of rendition, torture, and mistreatment…she was perhaps…ummm…nervous? As in, scared to death, anxiety ridden, unable to answer anything nervous?

            Just a thought.

          • Not to mention that she is Somali. She knows first hand what can go on in Africa.

    • only the truly dim could not have sorted through these 'inconsistencies' in a day or two tops if one had the inclination to do so… the lack of inclination is the problem here, not Suaad Hagi Mohamud.

  2. Why is it that s_c_f as a commenter in a previous blog post, covers this material so much better than Wherry?

  3. Why is it that s_c_f as a commenter in a previous blog post, covers this material so much better than Wherry? I think not knowing details on your own marriage and being much shorter than your documentation would be more shocking than not knowing some key acronyms.

  4. This story does seem a little bit odd. Could this have been an attempt at the ol' switcheroo gone wrong? I just hope that we get the truth out of this ordeal, and not some undisclosed settlement.

  5. This whole thing is very bizarre. How can someone live in TO for ten years and not know the name of Lake Ontario? My first thought was that she couldn't speak English well, but apparently she can. Obviously, this doesn't bode well for her lawsuit.

    • What basis do we have right now to assume that the government's claims are even true?

      She actually doesn't speak English well at all, by the way.

      • Well, if the government's claims are false, then it's a much bigger scandal than it originally seemed. However, I think it's extremely unlikely that the government is lying about these claims, no matter how evil or stupid you imagine them to be.

      • Her English is better than Dion's.

        • And like Dion, she also did the same interview more than once, with similar bizarre results.

      • Well, if the government's claims are false, then it's a much bigger scandal than it originally seemed. However, I think it's extremely unlikely that the government is lying about these claims, no matter how evil or stupid you imagine the government to be.

        • What's "likely" is not what interests me. What interests me is the presumption of guilt until innocence is proved that seems to be the default position these days.

          I imagine that stems from an absence of critical reasoning.

          • What interests me is the presumption of guilt until innocence is proved that seems to be the default position these days.

            Suaad Hagi Mohamud hasn't been charged with anything, so there is no "presumption of guilt until innocence is proved". Quite the opposite – she's the plaintiff and the government is the defendant. The burden is on her and her lawyers to prove that she is entitled to millions in damages.

          • "Suaad Hagi Mohamud hasn't been charged with anything, so there is no "presumption of guilt until innocence is proved"

            You know what I meant.

          • uhmm, yes she was CR. while she is currently not charged and notwithstanding the dismissal of those charges these allegations suggest that she actually was guilty of the original alleged crime.

          • I haven't made any allegations at all. I think the simplest explanation is that Ms. Mohamud was totally clueless, and consular officials made an honest mistake in assuming that her ignorance and contradictory responses to basic questions were evidence that she was lying about who she really was.

          • sorry CR i was not suggesting you made allegations i was referring to the government's allegations. but

            you and i agree fully on the most likely diagnosis (although I would add she was also likely feeling the effects of considerable duress).

          • I think it is required, when reasoning critically, that you seek credible information from different sides of the story. That is what I see CR doing here. I don't see a call for committal or a presumption of guilt.

    • Sadly, I think many Canadians are pretty ignorant about their own country. I know a few people with university degrees that can't name the current Prime Minister, and, when driving on the highway near Newmarket thought they were in some far north, uninhabited forest.

      Maybe Rick Mercer should try a sequel… talking to Canadians.

      • I certainly agree that it's possible that she lived in a bubble of total ignorance about her surroundings and her adopted country.

        These people you know with university degrees that can't name the current PM and have no grasp of basic geography – what are their degrees in, exactly? And from which university?

      • Newmarket is a northern uninhabited forest.

      • Heck, there's people who believe we vote for the prime ministerial candidates directly, instead of voting for our member of parliament

    • I don't see why the Lake Ontario thing is so strange. You could easily live in Toronto for 10 years and never SEE Lake Ontario, so I don't see why it would be shocking to not know the name of a lake you've never seen. It's a big lake, but it's a big city too.

      I don't think her not knowing the name of Lake Ontario is any worse than the Governor General not knowing the name of the Coastal Mountains.

      • never SEE Lake Ontario

        Easily?

        That would mean that somebody had never been on the Gardiner expressway, had never been to Ontario Place, or the islands, or the beaches, or inside the CN tower, or on the VIA rail line or commuter rail line. In 10 years.

  6. Well, one possibility is that she latched onto the Khadr affair to concoct an elaborate scenario of her own. Of course, to believe this you'd also have to believe that the Kenyan authorities, KLM officials, and the Canadian embassy were either duped and/or complicit in her case. A lot to believe there.

  7. Seriously, is your obsession with Wherry based on something rational?

    • Yes, a desire to read competent journalism.

      • This is not journalism. It's blogging.

        • ZING! Game, set and match.

  8. Would they also not know their son's birthday and details on their own marriage?

    • Or "was unable to describe in any detail how she obtained her driver's licence." I mean, these are things that take time, and paperwork, and are memorable moments in most people's lives. Has this woman's lawyers filed a doctors note saying she has Alzheimers?

    • not remembering or making a mistake under duress does not equate to not knowing…. while none of this looks good it is one side of the story. if it proves accurate it is devastating for the case i suspect, but you are doing exactly what you accused wherry of doing: taking one side of the story and running with it like it is hard fact…

      • I don't see how suggesting that only one side of the story was presented earlier equates to only looking at one side of the story.

        • i don't know either Ed. and to be clear you and i agree that only one side of the story had been presented to date. (although to be fair there was only side available to report). but, that is not all you are doing in your comments. you are also arguing the government's position suggesting it is more credible than alternatives and taking up the government's premises ("Would they also not know their son's birthday and details on their own marriage?").

          and that is fine of course Ed, but it is not the same as being the arbitrator of objectivity.

          • I have mentioned in another thread weeks ago that there is great difficulty in handling foreign affairs stories, and the potential for them to be mishandled is extreme, especially by irresponsible journalists. There is typically far too much sensitive unpublished information in these stories, to make any reasonable conclusions. People who are now crying for even handling of the issue are coming late to the game and should maybe focus on that uneven treatment when the next story breaks.

          • in principle Ed but what remedy do you suggest in these cases? sitting on a story until the government decides to play ball and provide info (or more accurately in this case can no longer avoid providing information)?

            and to be clear, I was not saying that you were doing anything wrong. you were arguing a position in this case. the only point i was making was that while you were accusing wherry of bias you were demonstrating your own.

          • Ed, again to quibble, in both of those links it is not Wherry or Petrou actually making the allegation; they are reporting allegations made by peers. While I am not a big fan of this meta-/3Rs (as to me it does reduce coverage and the range of perspectives available in the end) approach to journalism, that is different making the allegations themselves.

            Indeed my reading of the Wherry post you link to is that he implicitly refutes Baglows' allegation re the explanatory power of racism in this equation. Wherry points to one individual who was a visible minority and received 'positive' treatment by the government, and two other individuals who were not visible minorities (i.e., they were white) and did not receive their preferred treatment. Again, implicitly if not explicitly indicating it is a more ideological response.

          • You honestly feel that the implication of his posts are not made perfectly clear in the bright bold neon headlines he chooses? Come on.

            While Wherry does not usually want to use his own words, lest he have to defend them, his message is clear enough and suggesting it isn't is hogwash.

          • Upon reading the racist post again, I agree with you that the full message of that post was not Wherry asserting racism, but only drawing attention to the complaint. That said, there is plenty of entries that suggest Wherry has been uneven in his handling of the issue.

          • Upon reading the racist post again, I agree with you that the full message of that post was not Wherry asserting racism, but only drawing attention to the complaint. That said, there are plenty of entries that suggest Wherry has been uneven in his handling of the issue.

          • i'd go even further Ed I can't explain the other examples he raises (as opposed to the Baglows story) in any other way but Wherry refuting the idea of racism playing a role. While I can't say that Wherry has not been uneven in his treatment of this or any other story, I do find an elusive read at times where I am left trying to figure out what his point is as was the case with the racism story.

          • Agreed

          • Perhaps that is why the govt asked for her to sign off on her privacy rights,
            they COULDN'T tell their side of the story, until she gave the ok.

          • perhaps, but as far as i know she still hasn't and the suit has been filed for weeks now – they could have filed sooner. and no doubt they could have made a general statement that said the statement that her account was not fully accurate/comprehensive.

          • perhaps, but as far as i know she still hasn't and the suit has been filed for weeks now – they could have filed sooner. and no doubt they could have made a general statement that said the statement that her account was not fully accurate/comprehensive.

            to me there still seems to be some kind of significant disjuncture. if they actually believed she was trying to sneak her sister in or that she was otherwise breaching the law why did they negotiate her unconditional return? at one point did they change their mind? and if she was fully cooperative why did it take so long to clear it up? incompetence still seems most convenient, but it still seems odd.

          • perhaps, but as far as i know she still hasn't and the suit has been filed for weeks now – they could have filed sooner. and no doubt they could have made a general statement that said the statement that her account was not fully accurate/comprehensive.

            to me there still seems to be some kind of significant disjuncture. if they actually believed she was trying to sneak her sister in or that she was otherwise breaching the law why did they negotiate her unconditional return? at one point did they change their mind? and if she was fully cooperative why did it take so long to clear it up? incompetence still seems most convenient, but it still seems odd.

          • perhaps, but as far as i know she still hasn't and the suit has been filed for weeks now – they could have filed sooner. and no doubt they could have made a general statement that said the statement that her account was not fully accurate/comprehensive. (e.g., Notiwthstanding Ms. Mohamud's cooperation based on our robust investigation we felt their were still reasons to proceed cautiously etc etc)

          • actually they could have told the story. department lackey's getting bad advice, methinks. claiming privacy rights would prevent disclosure to parliamentary committees (or that a waiver would be necessary) is constitutionally illogical.

  9. Didn't Suuad Mohamud launch a lawsuit against the Harper government last week? Why is the government so happy to speak about this case before the courts, but in cases like Elections Canada and Cadman, they remain silent because the issues were before the courts?

    • The Canadian government hasn't said anything, they were sued and filed court documents.

        • She has privacy rights, what did she sign off on?

          • AFAIK, most court cases are not private. Just is publoic unless there is a compelling reason for privacy, such as the law that prevents naming a youth defendant or the very high profile cases where a judge is afraid of finding an impartial jury.

          • AFAIK, most court cases are not private. Justice is public unless there is a compelling reason for privacy, such as the law that prevents naming a youth defendant or the very high profile cases where a judge is afraid of finding an impartial jury.

        • The selectivity came from the CBC reporter.

  10. Another possible explanation is that the testimony is missing an important piece of information — perhaps they were peppering questions at her while she was crying and saying, repeatedly "I don't know what to do… I don't know… I don't know…"

    Not all that uncommon…

    • Perhaps, but if that was the case, I would think her lawyer's response today would be very different than it was.

    • Perhaps, but if that was the case, I would think her lawyers response today would be very different than it was.

    • Perhaps, but if that was the case, I would think her lawyer's response yesterday would be very different than it was.

  11. The idea that she was trying to get her sister out doesn't add up – if she had succeeded, the sister would have left with the passport, leaving Suad stuck in Kenya. If she was OK with that, she wouldn't have raised such a fuss when they seized the passport, would she?

    I think Scott M may be on the right track, but I guess that we'll all find out in the fullness of time.

    • Had her sister been successful, she could just mail the passport back to her .
      What I don't get is why the 'documents' were not produced immediately upon her refusal to board? Surely she had them on her, right?

  12. Let it go through court. Right now, this is just two sides of an argument being two sides of an argument. It's all just conjecture right now. Any physical evidence that exists will come out in the courtroom and if Suaad Hagi Mohamud does not have a credible case, there won't be any ramifications for the government agencies that were supposedly responsible for her detainment.

    I know, I know, Macleans commentators have to speculate about everything, regardless of whether there's enough data to make a reasonably informed opinion, but sometimes this gets a bit rediculous.

    • The Harper government was complicit in her detention. Min. Cannon called her a fraud, in and out of the House.

      • Do you have evidence that Min. Cannon didn't have adequate reason to believe she was a fraud? There's no evidence either way right now, but the government is presenting a case that they treated her fairly and came to a reasonable conclusion that she was an imposter based on information she gave in response to standard personal questions. Is there any coroborating testimony or evidence to back up your opinion?

        • Before 'Spiked' Cannon opened his mouth in the House, he should have done some checking with his own officials to make absolutely sure that they did the right thing, if only to stop this from blowing up in the government's face if they did something wrong. Even the most cursory check from Ottawa would have revealed that the local Canadian officials did not do their work properly. The next question is why they didn't bother. At the very least, it's incompetence.

          • Yeah, back to the exact same point – got any evidence to back up your claims? What did the local Canadian officials do improperly? Right now it's just her word against theirs' and that is simply not enough to demonstrate anything.

    • I agree with the sentiment, but I find it curious that you raise this issue now that there is at least some balance in the reporting rather than when the initially unbalanced story broke.

      • I said the same when the story broke. Besides, this isn't balance in reporting, it's just equality of imbalance. Just because both sides are providing conjecture instead of one doesn't change a thing – any commentator, without directly being involved or witnessing in her detention, is forming opinions based on ideology or gut instinct rather than hard data and it's all pointless.

      • Just like the Brenda Martin case, the media narrative …….
        Notice that the media have not gone gaga on the Abdelrazik sues Canada for $27-million,
        since he filed 31 pages in court, implicating the Libs………

        • Maybe, but who's in govt now and refused to bring him home? Lots of blame to go round here bud.

          • My point was that the media dropped the story once court docs named Liberals,
            not pointing blame.
            Just like Khadr, his mistreament took place under a Liberal government, but a repentant Lib opposition party tries to pin it on the Cons govertnment.
            I don't think Canadians are buying the meanie Harper thing, because under every rock is a Liberal.

    • Maybe it's conjecture, but that didn't stop our maclean's reporter Wherry from posting 7 blog posts on the topic a month ago.

  13. On the topic of past PMs, I miss Chrétien. At the very least, he'd have come up with some crazy story or comment about this issue if it happened on his watch. To the tune of: "For me, pepper, I put it on my plate."

    • Chrétien's foreign affairs minister would be seeking her return through diplomacy.

      • Like he did with Papa Khadr in Pakistan and Bill Smason when he was tortured in Saudi…..ooops he only did that with Khadr, Bill Samson continued to get the crap beat out of him on a regular basis.

        The problem isn't the government stripe, there is a seious review needed within foreign affairs.. The wrong cases are being looked at and/or ignored. Consular affairs is probably the least sexy part of foreign affairs so I doubt it has the best or most ambitious staff…

        • Hey, the saudi's are our friends, remember? They have a justice system, (of a sort) which found Mr. Samson guilty. Takes a heck of a lot more wrangling to bring home somone convicted than someone merely "held".

          Love them or hate them, the Khadr's were never fould guilty by a court. Makes the two situations tremendously hard to compare.

      • Add to Sampson, baby Khadr and Mahar Arar and Abdelrazik , all stranded and left to rot under Liberal governments.

  14. She sounds like a typical Liberal voter.

    • Dimmer than a Dodge, Dakota

    • I can only assume that you're referring to me, and I was clearly going for the joke. Maybe that's what a typical Liberal voter would do. That said, I don't typically vote Liberal. So cram it with walnuts, ugly.

    • Imagine how many Harperites would fail if asked how parliament determines who gets to be Prime Minister?

      • I love posts like yours, where someone who thinks he is insulting stupid people reveals his own stupidity.

        Parliament does not determine who is prime minister.

        The GG appoints the prime minister, not parliament.

        • Thansk for the clarification. As for the insult, well, you''re just pure class.
          Of course the sovereign, represented in Canada by the GG, is a component of Parliament. But let's not split hairs. Your point is well taken nonetheless, and the next time a crass poltician like Harper tries to imply that Canadians directly chose him as prime minister, or his cheap Minister of Transport treis to invent rules whereby he can 'go over the head of the GG' , we'll leave it to you straighten them out.

          • The word "chosen" can mean all sorts of things, and I find it tiresome when people call Harper a liar if he says Canadians "chose" his party in the elections. Big deal.

            I think it is incumbent upon Canadians to understand how their vote works, and we don't need a disclaimer or a history lesson from the prime minister whenever he is arguing his points. I don't think it is incumbent for him to satisy people like you that think there are too many idiots in the populace. You believe there are too many idiots that don't understand how a Canadian election works and need you to enlighten them, as only an elitist can.

  15. Embarrassingly enough, when I read that bit about not being able to name the current or previous PM I thought "geez, she can't even name Harper or Chretien?" Martin didn't occur to me until I read this post.

    They say that the mind blanks out highly unpleasant memories…but if so why do I remember Chretien?

    • The mind blocks out unpleasant memories?

      In that case, the "lake Ontario" thing is easily explained. High summer, hot day, wind from the South.

      Seriously, though, there are kids who live up at Jane and Finch who have never seen the lake, and probably couldn't tell you what lake it is. There are people in this city spending so much time earning a living that they don't get to see more than a few blocks of the city. Some of them are my neighbours. They don't vote, they don't party, they don't have time to study local geography or history, and many couldn't tell what the factory they work at makes, cause they've never seen a finished profuct from their part of the line. They take the bus in the morning when it's dark, and come home the same way. They don't read blogs, they don't know what TTC stands for, because none of these things help in any way with their survival in Toronto.

      • Yeesh. Toronto sounds like hell. [ just kidding ]

        • I'm told hell is warmer. Other than that…

      • That may be true, but most people know when they were married and where their child was born.

  16. Um, I think he was referring to Suaad Hagi Mohamud .

  17. Um, I think he was referring to Suaad Hagi Mohamud . Just a thought.

    • Still, "cram it with walnuts, ugly" is a really good response to that commenter.

      • LOL. Again, just goin' for the joke.

    • You should explain the concept "thought" for Dakota. I don't believe he's acquainted with it.

  18. Either way, a less than palatable comment. It sounds like 'something stuck to my shoe.'

    • What is the part that is not palatable? The implication about Suaad? Or the implication about Liberal voters? Because from the story, one of the obvious conclusions about Suaad is that she is not very bright. And regarding the implication about Liberals, this blog exists to say the same about Conservatives, day in and day out.

  19. One of the reasons that we did not have both sides of the story before is that the government was previously not in a position to comment due to privacy laws. Now that the government is facing a suit it can comment.

    As more information has been made available the opposition parties have disappeared. Perhaps they, too, realize this is more complex than originally thought. I don't know the truth, but a wide ranging conspiracy by government officials to target non-white Canadians seems extremely far fetched, especially since it would require a large number of officials to be complicit.

    As for Paul Martin, I am sure that officials would have accepted the name of Chretien. Seriously, however, it sounds more like they were asking a range f questions to find out how familiar she is with Canada. She was almost certainly not expected to get 100 percent of the answers correct.

    • as mentioned already…actually they could have told the story. at least in the committee. department lackey's getting bad advice, methinks. claiming privacy rights would prevent disclosure to parliamentary committees (or that a waiver would be necessary) is constitutionally illogical. let's try to insert some understanding here.

  20. She couldn't name Lake Ontario. That makes her suspicious to say the least.
    If she got Georgian Bay wrong she could be promoted to a cabinet minister, however.

    • Or got the make of her car wrong, she could be a finance critic!

  21. Did anyone else note the difference in hieght which was a few inches – I don't know about anyone else but I think maybe what we have going on is the ol switcheroo as mentioned above as it would be easy -> – one person A gets passport and travels to foreign destination – then – gives passport to person B (sister): who then returns to Canada and mails passport back to person A: who then comes home – only this time person B got caught and who while wearing Hijab doesn't look exaclty like sister, was a few inches shorter and didn't memorize even the most basic of questions – now back in canada person B decides to avoid trouble by blaming gov't and what the hell a few million while their at it – who knows

    • That's too highly speculative for my liking. Although, when she decided to sue the government, I guess a different standard of public discourse can be expected.

    • This kind if deception will be easy to prove. Going for the millions in court is however a very risky gamble. The whole thing is bizarre.

  22. Why is it that s_c_f as a commenter in a previous blog post, covers this material so much better than Wherry? I think not knowing your son's birthday, details on your own marriage and being much shorter than your documentation would be more shocking than not knowing some key acronyms.

    I am sure Canadian consular staff find it highly ironic that Wherry leads with a headline on 'fairness'.

    • On what basis do you, or the previous commenter, judge that the government's claims at this moment are accurate or even true?

      • I would say the likelihood of the government's claims, filed as court documents, are at the very least, far more credible than statements that Wherry has posted previously.

        • There was a time I would have agreed with this. Not anymore.

      • Occam's razor. The alternative seems a bit of a conspiracy theory having a good portion of the Canadian consulate in Kenya and the High Commission in on it. I tend to distrust conspiracy theories because, frankly, most people have difficulty lying, so the more people it involved, the higher the odds against it. Of course, it doesn't mean that it isn't true, after all, there's significant motivation for the High Commission to paint itself in the best light.

        But an alternative theory emerges that it could be she was trying to get her sister out of the country to Canada, got caught, and took over herself.

        • you discount the possibility of plain old incompetence in treating the only plausible explanation as conspiracy theory. though i like the creativity in saying conspiracies are difficult then immediately pinning one on the sisters!

          • Sorry, I wasn't clear, I meant a conspiracy theory in that the High Commission and the Canadian consulate getting together with these stories of her not knowing Lake Ontario, where she was going to school, and hey, she even looked shorter in the interview..

            Basically I was saying that them attempting to cover up a mistake like this means that the cover up would have to spread through multiple offices now, and I find that unlikely. Or it may simply be me being naive enough to believe that even our government can't screw up that much.

          • never discount the bureacratic reflex of self defence……however, like you I tend toward the suspicious when there are grand conspiracies.

            So assuming these points are true, for the sake of argument, it explains the intial questioning, but the refusal by the embassy to investigate further or, better yet, faster….is the really the issue.

            But funny headline….

          • ok thanks for the clarification Thwim. and mostly i would tend to agree with you.

            the only thing that nags is the events of inquiry in the RCMP tasering of Dziekanski and his subsequent death. like in that case a real clear government story emerges that belies previous tellings/common assumptions held and more or less reduces the matter to an unknowable my word against yours scenario. and it does not take a lot of conspiratorial activity: the primary individuals involved simply stick to a talking point ardently enough regardless of what anyone else says.

            in both cases i am pretty cynical i guess.

      • judge that the government's claims at this moment are accurate or even true

        Firstly, I am not asserting they are true, I am simply pointing out there is another side to the story, and considering that Wherry posted 7 blog posts attacking the government over this, I think that their story should be heard.

        Secondly, I find it highly likely that they can corroborate their story, if it has been entered as evidence.

        Thirdly, I find it highly likely that when they decided to alert the Kenyan authorities, they had a reason to do so, one reason being their job description, perhaps.

    • "I am sure Canadian consular staff find it highly ironic that Wherry leads with a headline on 'fairness'."

      I'm sure many will consider a man who takes one word from the post's heading out of context in order to make his point, such that it is, the authority on 'fairness'.

      • Its the second word in the headline, it is reflective of the headline, how is it out of context, unless you mean that Wherry's headline is out of context?

        So do you also feel that Wherry's previous treatment of this issue was balanced?

        • You have this same go 'round with just about every one of Wherry's posts. You don't see things the same way as he does, so you see bias in his coverage where others, myself for example, don't.
          At first blush, I would have thought that you would appreciate the Paul Martin joke. Instead, you just go in for the all-too-familiar-at-this-point kvetching about Aaron Wherry, making him your focus instead of the item that, you must admit, he covers, in effect deeming 'fairness' as a word that should be off-limits to him. I think it's out of line, or, not particularly fair of you to do this. But I guess that's my perspective, just like yours is yours. Sorry. Please, by all means, continue.

          • It wouldn't be 'all-too-familiar' if Wherry could improve on his very poor standards of reporting. I have been extremely critical of Coyne, Wells, Potter and O'Malley as well, whenever I see it as merited. I notice you share your thoughts and opinions too.

          • It wouldn't be 'all-too-familiar' if Wherry could improve on his very poor standards of reporting. I have been extremely critical of Coyne, Wells, Potter and O'Malley as well, whenever I see it as merited. I notice you share your thoughts and opinions too. As for Wherry himself, I am sure he is probably a very likable guy. I have never commented on anything but the issues that he raises, and the typically uneven treatment that he pays to them.

          • Agreed.

            Aaron, you posted the parts of the story that are the least troublesome and easist to explain away by a lack of education or language skills. If you had cut and paste a few more lines, you would have included claims that she did not know the date, place, and circumstances of her son's birth, of her wedding, and that she was 6-7 inches shorter than her driver's license, and that her signature did not match that of the license. Why did these claims not pass through your cut and paste filter?

            This has clearly become a "narrative" story, where the narrative is "The Conservatives screw non-white Canadians that are in trouble overseas". Once a story becomes a narrative, anything that contributes to discredting the narrative gets buried. You can't even find this story on the CBC news landing page, unless you click on "Canada", then "Toronto" (they have this as a local story, if you can believe that). One wonders if it would ever have been posted here at all had scf not found it and dropped it into an off topic post.

          • Agreed.

            Aaron, you posted the parts of the story that are the least troublesome and easist to explain away by a lack of education or language skills. If you had cut and paste a few more lines, you would have included claims that she did not know the date, place, and circumstances of her son's birth, of her wedding, and that she was 6-7 inches shorter than her driver's license, and that her signature did not match that of the license. Why did these claims not pass through your cut and paste filter?

            This has clearly become a "narrative" story in the Canadian media, where the narrative is "The Conservatives screw non-white Canadians that are in trouble overseas". Once a story becomes a narrative, anything that contributes to discredting the narrative gets buried. You can't even find this story on the CBC news landing page, unless you click on "Canada", then "Toronto" (they have this as a local story, if you can believe that). One wonders if it would ever have been posted here at all had scf not found it and dropped it into an off topic post.

          • The idea is that you click on the link.

          • No…the idea is that when you cut and paste an excerpt from something, you might want to cut and paste the most important, relevant, eye catching parts of the story. Even if they happen to be the most inconvenient to the narrative you would prefer to follow.

            But I have to admit that even Wherry doesn't hold a candle to the Star when it comes to the evils of maintaining your narrative even at the expense of journalistic integrity.

          • 6-7 centimeters shorter I believe, for what it's worth.

            Not that this changes any of the other points, but just how accurate were they when they wrote your height on your drivers' license? (and, do you remember them ever changing it from the time you got it when you were 16?). I don't know about 6-7 centimeters, but I know for an absolute fact that I'm several centimeters shorter than my license says I am, and no one ever actually measured my height when I got it. I told them I was "about 6 feet" and so they wrote down "180 centimeters". I'm absolutely certain that if I'd said I was about 6 foot 2 the would have written down 180 centimeters.

          • Yes, it's plausible. But when added to the other facts, this was icing on the cake. The other items (lack of knowledge about her home, job, marriage, and so on) are all cases where she is clueless, and then you add on the fact that there are irregularities with her identification. Two different types of evidence.

          • I agree. And in my second comment I had posted 6 links to all of Wherry's blog posts about the subject, all 7 of them attacking the government either directly ot indirectly (indirectly by posting a selected quote from someone else, which is Aaron's specialty), over a period of two weeks.

            Here they are again:
            http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-

            “You would think they would bloody well have made sure their judgment was based on something more than thick lips…”

          • I agree. And in my second comment I had posted 7 links to all of Wherry's blog posts about the subject, all 7 of them attacking the government either directly ot indirectly (indirectly by posting a selected quote from someone else, which is Aaron's specialty), over a period of two weeks.

            Four of the links are gone now.

            Here they are again:
            <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-

            “You would think they would bloody well have made sure their judgment was based on something more than thick lips…”

          • I agree. And in my second comment I had posted 7 links to all of Wherry's blog posts about the subject, all 7 of them attacking the government either directly or indirectly (indirectly by posting a selected quote from someone else, which is Aaron's specialty), over a period of two weeks.

            Four of the links are gone now.

            Here they are again:
            <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-…” target=”_blank”>http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/12/what-the-heck-

            “You would think they would bloody well have made sure their judgment was based on something more than thick lips…”

          • Hmmm… someone or something is chopping my posts with the links. Maybe there is a limit to one link per comment.

    • I was thinking the same thing, thanks Ed.

  23. I'm confused. Didn't the DNA evidence prove, conclusively, that she was who she said she was?

    As for whether she is entitled to damages – well, that's up to the court to decide. But having the wrong height listed on a driver's license is not necessarily conclusive evidence of anything. (Mine was wrong for years until I finally got it corrected.)

    • It's a fine point, but it doesn't matter if she was who she says she was unless the Canadian officials had good reason to believe she was who she said she was. No, the wrong height on a driver's license isn't a concern and to be honest, I thought she looked like her passport photo. However, if upon questioning she was unable to properly answer basic questions about Canada, her home, her work and her family, as the government is now claiming, that's just cause to believe she was not who she says she was – if even she was.

      We can only blame the officials for acting improperly in light of the information they had available, or in light of information they should have been able to obtain. If the information they had was contradictory or misleading, they can't be faulted.

      • No. Canadian officials have a positive duty to protect Canadians abroad. It's tort, that's why she's suing.

  24. Another possibility is that she spends very little time in Canada. She did marry a Kenyan man in 2007. She also seems to know very little about her supposed home.

    • "Supposed home"?

      No, she's a real live Canadian. Just like you.

      • Like I said, if she spends very little time in Canada, then it's not her home. Being Canadian does not mean that Canada is your home. Lots of Canadians maintain their home elsewhere.

  25. that is my sense too. the police do it all the time using the right terminology (e.g., alleged).

  26. Not long ago, I called for senior Foreign Affairs management to go investigate and clean house in Nairobi.

    Such a cleaning may still be required, but I am reserving further judgment until we hear more. At BEST, this woman did little to help herself, and it seems there was more than reasonable cause to accuse this woman of being in unlawful possession of that passport.

    Ms. Mohamud may well regret the civil suit she started.

    • I see you too are jumping on the Conservative talking points and blaming the victim. Great work, myl. I'm sure all those communities that Kenney has been spending all that time an effort reaching out to will be very appreciative of your stance.

      • We would not be talking about this at all if it were not for the Liberal smear campaign, turning her story into a weapon to bludgeon the government.

      • Wow, Mulletaur. All I have confessed to is having a more open mind on the situation than I had a few weeks ago. That maybe I was too hasty in assuming either evil or incompetence on the part of a civil servant or two at our embassy in Nairobi.

        If you are suggesting that Canada's cultural communities should be pissed because I am unimpressed with a woman unable to provide details on her own family, then I fear you have a very dim view of your fellow Canadians.

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