Let he who is without fallibility - Macleans.ca

Let he who is without fallibility


Some enterprising filmographer has spliced together a video of Jason Kenney both lamenting that anyone would call a member of a minister’s staff to testify at a Parliamentary committee and, years earlier, listing all the aides and staff members he hopes to hear from at an upcoming Parliamentary committee.

For the record, the minister was asked about the video after QP yesterday and said he had not seen it yet. After having it described to him, he acknowledged that he “was probably wrong.” He then admitted he was “infallible,” before correcting himself to say he was in fact  “fallible”—a mistake, he said, proved his fallibility.


Let he who is without fallibility

  1. Politicians always say silly things on the air as part of their hyperbole. Good on Kenny for not trying to spin his way out of his erroneous statement. Lord knows we've seen enough politicians who would try and say it was "different when I did it".

    • That's, um….generous.

    • As long as he's holding on to his overall point – that it's somehow wrong for certain people (political staffers) to be called to account – Kenney deserves nothing but the scorn he's receiving.

  2. I imagine since he claims he just made a mistake it's all over, but it's interesting.

    Isn't this kinda like claiming you've never, ever filed a TPS report, then being shown that one time when you stood up in an office meeting and screamed at everyone about all the TPS reports you'd had to file? Is it really credible to just forget about that?

    • What's a TPS report?

      • Oh Office Space – your usefulness will never die…!

  3. Kenney is a victim of the government's 24/7 spin operation. No policy. Just spin. Lies building upon lies. Risible talking points trying to cover up incompetence.

    Luckily for Harper, his opposition is Iggy.

  4. "He then admitted he was “infallible,”"

    Between the cup and the lip… a Freudian slip ;-)

  5. Maybe Kenny should put "fallible" in giant lettering on his next campaign signs

    • Of course, he'd have to misspell "fallible" to drive the point home. Perhaps he could replace "ble" with a "c"?

      • I think that qualifies as a triple-entendre. Nicely done.

    • He would actually have to show up and campaign in his riding to do that.

  6. I appreciate Kenney's willingness to admit mistakes – of all the cabinet ministers, he seems like one of the few who has his own ideas and is allowed to articulate him, so it's good to see him admit fault rather than force ahead with hypocrisy by trying to justify both positions.

    Unfortunately, Kenney's admission of fault is about the wrong statement. He was right to be eager to hear from aides and staff members – the mistake was backtracking on that stance. Ministers may be the ones who should be held accountable (a laughable concept from the Harper government, where staff members have been blamed for numerous issues to shield Ministers like Lisa Raitt), but that doesn't mean we can't at least hear from the staff. Ministers aren't omnipotent, so there very well could be things occurring in their office they don't know about in full. Furthermore, if a Minister has done something incorrect, are we really counting on them to be open and honest with that? Questioning aides and staff members provides perspective and allows committees to get the full picture of things, not just the picture Ministers want to present.

    Oh yeah, and that whole legal thing, where the committees have every right to call staff members…

  7. Is Dimitri Soudas really only in his twenties?

    • He'll be 31 in July.

      • Just a kid, then.

        • It's part of joining Harper's duplicitous cult. The keys to Mordar, a blue-velvet replica of Dorian Grey playing cards with some schnauzers, and all the lies that Belzabub can churn out for the cause… Pierre Poupon, Kenney, Dmitri et al are older than cheese.

  8. Is it too much to ask that politicians not be cravenly duplicitious regarding simple matters of rules and procedure?

  9. cravenly duplicitous
    cmon, this is one of the most prominent bullet points on a Tory resume – but they have to prove it is all encompassing – rules & procedure stuff is just to cut their teeth

  10. Maybe 'some enterprising filmographer has spliced together a video'
    of all the times Dippers and Libs have howled about a Minister being responsible, don't blame the staffer!

    Start with Iffy:
    ''..But that prompted outrage from opposition MPs, who accused the government of making the 26-year-old aide a scapegoat while Raitt, who represents the GTA riding of Halton, ducked her responsibility.

    "When she blames her employee, it's despicable. What will the government do about this minister who will not assume responsibility," Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said.

    • If she had taken responsibility she would have resigned. Too witless to understand that wilson, or do your Harperite employers pay you for lying on the Internet?

      • Has it never occurred to you that not all people in Canada think exactly like you do. I wish that all commentators would accept that others may look at things differently without resorting to name calling. While it may be true that there are paid commentators on all sides, I actually believe that most are expressing their personal views. I certainly am. Let's just be civil about it. Is that too much to ask? OK?

        • Yeah, let's all agree to show wilson the respect he has earned here.

          Oh… wait…

          • My point was that you don't have to agree with someone. You just don't need to make your point by calling them names. Leave that for the sandbox.

          • Seconded. Being civil costs nothing and could actually have an upside. And being civil certainly doesn't mean that you necessarily agree with the viewpoint or respect the tactics.

          • And my point was that wilson doesn't have a great record of respectful debate here.

            Calling him witless doesn't help anything, but it's understandable that people might be frustrated with him.

          • but it was, as usual for conbot:wilson, a witless comment

            The committees right to questions staffers (the same right that the earlier Kenny advocated) has nothing to do with who is accountable.

            are they all really that thick or just relentlessly disingenuous?

          • And the Steyn section.

          • Someone would have to pay me to pretend to respect wilson.

    • But the Cons are arguing Ministerial Responsibility, wilson – that's they're whole argument for forbidding the questioning of their staffers. The Raitt example is of course what they do in reality – sacrfice the staffer to protect the Minister.

    • So, by pulling all their staffers from their obligation to testify when they are summoned, ministers are being responsible?

      That's a good one. I nearly shot milk out my nose.

  11. When government policy is always 20 minutes fresh, it's hard to keep everything straight in your head.

    Given how quickly the Tories change their minds these days, I'm impressed that Kenney's even still conscious, what with all the spinning.

    • He picked up some spinning lessons from Kang. Or was it Kodos?

    • The eagerness to disseminate talking points, and the lack of connection to the past, reminds me of the central character in Arthur Koestler's Darkness At Noon. All his life, he followed Soviet talking points; now, he finds himself in a jail cell because the party doesn't need him any more.

      Many of the current Conservatives would have fit right in (not ideologically, but temperamentally) in Enver Hoxha's Albania. I can imagine the PMO issuing press releases describing workers spontaneously erupting with joy to celebrate the overfulfillment of the latest Five Year Plan. The PMO spin doctors' talents are almost wasted in a democracy.

  12. Kenny's on a roll. Maybe he's still observing Australia's National Sorry day which was on the 26th. Here's his latest breaking apology:

  13. "Let he who is without fallibility" … cast the first stone.

    Seems lots of people here are without fallibility.

    • heh, well if you're going to be all literal, the axiom applies to the first stone, not subsequent ones.

    • There is a difference between casting a few stones and lying your ass off.

    • This wasn't a simple mistake. It was a ridiculous stance to take in the first place, and I'm sure Kenney knew perfectly well that staffers are sometimes called before Parliamentary committees.

      I'm not going to shed a tear for somebody who trips up while defending the indefensible.

    • "Another Rabbi. Another city. He goes to her and stops the mob as in the other story and says, 'Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.'

      The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. ‘Someday,' they think, ‘I may be like this woman. And I'll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her as I wish to be treated.'

      As they opened their hands and let their stones fall to the ground, the Rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman's head and throws it straight down with all his might it crushes her skull and dashes her brain among the cobblestones. ‘Nor am I without sins,' he says to the people, ‘but if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead – and our city with it.'"

      — Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card

      • use to love orson
        he hasn't written a decent book in years and has gone wacko-right-wing

  14. I never expect the latest Conservative talking points to be consistent with anything they have said in the past. And I don't think we're supposed to, either.

    All Conservative statements are, seemingly, designed to maximize short-term gain, and are revised or discarded as needed. It's not that they're lying – it's more that they're making it up as they go along.

    • Their principles are very situation specific.

    • That depends.. if you consider lying as "not meaning what you say", then they never stop.

  15. In all honesty, though, did the Harper Government forget about the Lisa Raitt thing? Did they think the public would forget?

    Minister in hot water – blame the political staffer.

    Staffer in hot water – let the minister take the blame.

    Is no one else concerned with this pattern? It's the shifting blame-game! In the Raitt incident, the PMO was more than happy to pillorize Jasmine MacDonnell for leaving behind "SECRET" classified documents at a news/media agency. They almost jammed her down our throats for committee hearings so we'd hear how it was all her fault.

    • All to save a minister who described the situation involving isotopes and nuclear security as "sexy".

      Now, we find out that political staffers might be tampering with the "Access to Information" process? Well, we better start tossing around John Baird! We'll never get a minister close enough to a staffer at this rate. Staffer of Defense? They'll send in Rona Ambrose. Questions about Flaherty's staff? We'll probably get Deepak Obhrai.

  16. ooooooooooooo.

    I bet they release "The Pollievre" on us all.

    • Almost, but not quite; the bulk of those funds went to city infrastructure, not "security".

    • The hilarity continues. Apparently a fair amount of money has been spent down in Tony Clement's riding sprucing the place up…no doubt hidden in the stimulus package.

  17. 1 point for a smooth segue from Kenney's bald-faced lying.
    1 point for cleverly lying by implying that the Liberals want staffers to testify so that Ministers can avoid responsibility, and are therefore contradicting themselves.
    But minus 5 for reminding readers how Conservative ministers avoid responsibility by blaming staffers.
    Good thing we've got you on commision.

  18. infallible eh… betcha he was at the recent opus dei meeting on the hill.