More ado about Oda

Andrew Coyne responds to Colby Cosh’s defence of Bev Oda


Colleague Cosh has written perhaps the best defense possible of Bev Oda’s actions in the “Oda ado” (history’s first palindromic scandal?). He acquits her, by my estimate, of two-and-a-half of the three charges against her:

– that she lied to Parliament, when she said the decision to defund Kairos was CIDA’s, or at least on CIDA’s advice, rather than, as we later learned, in contradiction of it;

– that she altered the document in which CIDA officials recommended continuing funding to make it appear as if they had recommended it be discontinued — or rather, since she now admits to having altered it, that such alteration of a signed legal document was improper at best, a forgery at worst;

– and that she lied to the Commons foreign affairs committee when she claimed she did not alter it, or know who did.

Some thoughts on his thoughts, taking the charges in reverse order.

1. Did she mislead the foreign affairs committee? Yes, of course she did: at least, if you think she’s telling the truth now. Tory members of the committee are attempting to maintain that although the minister told the commitee she did not alter the document, this was not inconsistent with her later statement that she directed that it be altered. Not even Colby is buying that. It is simply nonsense to pretend that, when she told them she did not alter the document, they should have understood her to mean she did tell someone else to do it — or that when she said she did not know who did it, that should have been understood to mean that she told someone to do it, but does not know who actually carried out her order. (Colby says he does not find it remarkable “at all” that Oda would be unable to say who wrote the “not.” That’s not the point. The point is not whether she was lying in suggesting she did not know who it was; the point is what her listeners would reasonably read into that statement, in the context in which it was made.) Any reasonable person, hearing her testimony, would have understood her to mean she had nothing to do with it, period.

2. Is the document a forgery? Not exactly. Or not as we usually understand it. A forgery is usually intended to look like what it is not, to pass one thing off as another. Had the “not” been inserted in such a way as to conceal the addition, that is in the same typescript as the original, that would be a forgery: the amended document passing as the original, and the signatures affixed conveying a very different meaning than had been intended by those who put them there. But there is no way that anyone looking at that hand-scrawled addition would think it was part of the original document, and no way that any would-be forger could imagine they would.

Still: the document must have been altered for some reason. Colby finds it “at least possible” that this reason was perfectly innocent: that Oda’s signature was to the amended document, the other signatures were to the unamended document, and everyone should just be able to tell what each signature meant, at the time it was affixed. Possible, maybe. But I do not find it plausible.

Oda’s explanation, that she ordered the insertion of the word “not” in the document in order that she could then reject its recommendation by signing it, makes no earthly sense. If she had wanted to reject the recommendation, all she had to do was refuse to sign it. The fact that the document does bear her signature suggests she signed it before the document was altered: that is, that she initially accepted the recommendation, approved the funding, then changed her mind — or had it changed for her.

But even then: why add the ‘not’? No, it was not a conventional forgery – but whoever did id might still have had deception in mind: namely, to suggest that not only was the minister okay with the document as amended, but so were the bureaucrats. The document, in this scenario, would have been altered not after they had signed it, but before, ie with their approval. Perhaps the word “not” was inadvertently left out, and the handwritten addition was meant to correct it. Oops. In other words, we would be led to understand, the bureaucrats really had meant to recommend eliminating Kairos’s funding, as the minister’s public statements had suggested, not continuing it. The alteration was meant not to twist their views into conformity with the minister’s, but to make the document conform to theirs.

Except that’s not true. The document, those same bureaucrats have testified, was altered after their signed, not before. If the point of the alteration was to suggest the bureaucrats had knowingly signed off on the document as amended, it was as much a forgery as if the alternation had been concealed from us altogether.

Perhaps you think that’s a stretch. But supposing I’m right, and the minister was prevailed upon to revoke her earlier decision, and discontinue funding. The story the government wants told at the time is that “it was CIDA’s decision.” But you’ve got a document on your hands with her signature on it, along with those of the CIDA officials, urging continued funding. Sooner or later that document is going to come to light, exposing the government’s story as a lie. Destroying the document is out of the question, as is out-and-out forgery: that way prison lies. But marking up the document in this way does just enough to muddy the waters, and make it hard to pin down just who signed what when.

And even if there were no such fraudulent intent: it’s a hell of a way to carry on. You simply don’t alter signed documents in this way. Or if you do, you have the parties initial the changes, to show they approved of them. Colby sets great stock in the public testimony of the CIDA president, at the same foreign affairs committee hearing as her boss, that the alteration of the document after she had signed it, without her initials, was “normal.” No other civil servant that I am aware of, past or present, has offered the same view: that it is “normal” for a minister to reject a recommendation by adding a “not” to it. Or perhaps she meant it was “normal” for this minister. Very well: if the minister has any other documents she has altered in this way, let’s see them.

3. Did the minister misrepresent her bureaucrats’ advice prior to this, in statements in Parliament? Yes. And not only her. For months after the November 2009 decision to eliminate Kairos’s funding, every statement out of the Harper government — save one, the Jason Kenney indiscretion — carried the same clear, consistent message: that the decision was CIDA’s. Here are three commonly cited examples:

Jean-Luc Benoit, the minister’s spokesman, Dec 3, 2009: “After completing due diligence, it was detemined that the organization’s project does not meet CIDA’s current priorities.”

Jim Abbott, the minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, in the Commons, March 12, 2010: “CIDA thoroughly analyzed Kairos’s program proposal, and determined, with regreat, that it did not meet the agency’s current priorities.” (Abbott has since apologized to the House for this statement, conceding it was false but insisting he did not intend to mislead.)

Oda herself, in answer to an order paper question, April 23, 2010: “The CIDA decision not to continue funding Kairos was based on the overall assessment of the proposal, not on any single criterion.”

Now, it’s true, as Colby says, that she “didn’t come right out and say that CIDA staff had no problem with Kairos’s application.” And it’s true, as Colby says, in a “narrow technical sense,” that “a minister’s final word becomes a ‘CIDA decision’ as soon as it is made.” It would be one thing, as Colby says, if “this slippery answer” had been given in response to a direct question, say, did you overrule your officials, in which  casse “she would certainly be guilty of deceit.” But as it was “I cannot feel that it is a clear-cut case of contempt of Parliament” — even if this seems a “crabbed, narrowly technical defence.” One senses a certain embarrassment by now at the many layers of qualification and apology that were necessary to get this far.

Let’s clear away the clutter. It is certainly possible, with a thesaurus, a slide rule, and a cryptographer, to find a set of facts with which the minister’s statement was in conformity. But the sense that any reasonable listener would take away from the words “CIDA’s decision” was that it was CIDA’s decision, especially in the context of everything else the government had been saying about it.  Indeed, that was the sense that her listeners took away from it: that’s why the Embassy magazine story later that year, again quoting Colby, “that the Kairos funding decision was taken against agency advice,” landed with such force. Else what was there to report?

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More ado about Oda

  1. "Save the Jason Kenney indiscretion."

    Or rather more accurately, the Jason Kenney discretion. Even if all of the absurd defences of Oda's individual actions were fair (and they aren't), this whole incident is still a stain on the Conservative government for its cowardly inability to explain its decisions, its philosophy and its goals openly and honestly. If Kairos was worth defunding because it's a waste of money, why only Kairos? And why not brag about efforts to save money in a time of supposed fiscal restraint and recession? That's what the Conservatives claim they're there to do, and yet, they couldn't even be forthright here.

    And yes, I know some Conservative bot will chime in to rebut my conservative view, and say "hey the Liberals suck too." But I didn't vote for the Conservatives because they'd suck just as much as the Liberals. I voted for better. I voted for candor, openness, frugality, decisiveness, firmness and earnestness. We got a few of those things, until 2008. Now, we're getting none of them, save for the occasional moment of wisdom from Max Bernier.

    Coyne wants to know what Ignatieff will do next. Personally, I'd love to know what voters like *me* are supposed to do next.

    • Vote the bums out.

    • It would be nice if the Coynes of this world were as diligent dumping on his Liberal buddies as, god knows, they are equally scummy. All pieces like this do is convince me I am correct in my transformation to a libertarian. I no longer trust any of the mainstream, old hack parties and I alm now a firm believer we should have far, far less government and much less taxation. It is for these reasons my voting days are over. Were I forced to vote, I would vote I would cast my ballot for the absolute lousiest of choices for the very reason if we are ultimately heading for collapse, let's do it now rather than force our grandchildren to deal with our incompetence. They don't deserve anarchy–we do.

      • I grew up in a household where my father ruled the roost, and was a staunch Conservative. I don't think he was a "social" conservative, but rather a fiscal conservative. Debate was not welcome, and initially I toed the party line. Inevitably, this lead to my hopping aboard the opposite train in order to exert my independence.
        Eventually, the issues came to the fore and this tended to direct my vote. I also began to really analyse the nature of "party" voting, and decided that pledging allegiance to one party was not for me.
        Next, the conduct and lying of the parties began to gnaw at me.
        I initially liked Chretien, but the whole 180 turn on the GST left me bitter. I knew why they backed off of the promise to eliminate it, but the cavalier way they went about it really rubbed me the wrong way. I feel the same way about how Stephen Harper's Conservatives conduct their affairs.
        At this point in my life, I am following politics more closely than ever before – and I am finding that the closer I follow it, the less satisfying any of the options become; choosing the lesser of two evils, if you will. The future of the society my grandchildren will grow up in greatly concerns me, so I try to stay focused on "the system" itself. If the parties continue on this trajectory of continually centralizing power and spinning accountability, then I feel that hope will be lost. I hated when the conservatives were decimated after Mulroney, and I hate that the Liberals collapsed after Chretien. We need strong parties to keep one another "honest".
        The point of this long ramble is that, although I am not by nature libertarian, I can foresee a time when I get so fed up that I too will want to walk away – but those damned "grandchildren" keep me hanging in.
        Are you sure you want to hang up your vote? Voter turnout is declining. Doesn't that fact alone make you want to show up at the polls? While I agree that our grandchildren will not deserve anarchy, I am uncertain how our not voting will spare them.


        • I find it fascinating that right now people in the Middle East are willing to die on the streets to get democracy while in Canada it seems we are becoming more apathetic about ours. I'm surprised most people just shrug at the G8/20 costing almost a billion dollars or that an extra 30 million will be spent to have a voluntary census with less reliability, but create a huge fuss about changing the words in the national anthem. Perhaps so many people live in a world of 140 characters they don't have time or interest to deal with more complex issues.
          I would be too ashamed not to vote while others are willing to take a bullet in the head for the right to do so, even if it means voting for the lesser of two evils.

    • I'm with you Brian, only I didn't vote for anyone because they all suck equally …

  2. Mr Cosh is a silver tongued devil's advocate. He's good at it and I think he enjoys it.
    But I think Mr Coyne is speaking to common sense.

  3. What most astounds is the non-reaction from the two signatories who testified that the "NOT" was not present during signing. Let's imagine you sign a document, and your boss or your banker or your lawyer amends this document after the fact. If it's me, I'm out for blood. What's going on here?

      • That's quite the employer.

          • Now you must really feel better right? Got that off your chest right? Would like to remind you that the Conservatives are 10 pts ahead of the Libs. I don't see the country too excised about a few bureaucrats getting their walking papers for various reasons.

          • "excised"? a quite revealing parapraxis: it means "taxing," which is what's most on Cons' mean-spirited brains, and which Hollinm is; when she tirelessly, er, exercises her right to free speech at all of our expense.

            Down with taxing Tory gasbags!

          • Yeah, because those poll numbers will stay exactly where they are if an election were called.

            November 28, 2005, when the writ was dropped for the 2006 election, Harris Decima had:

            36% Liberal
            28% Conservative
            19% NDP

            Two things to note:

            1) Harper won despite starting in 2nd place 8 points back.
            2) Flip the Tory and Liberal positions, and that's where today's polls are.

            Only a fool would think today's poll would actually predict an election result.

          • This isn't a hockey game, hollinm.

          • Ahhh, but in h's world it is a game.

          • If you're half as reasonable and principled as you generally claim to be, you have to see how terribly hollow these statements are.

        • Yup. Munir Sheikh had to resign to respectfully state his opposition to the elimination of the long form census.

    • If my banker or my lawyer did it I'd be getting ready to sue their pants off.

      If my BOSS did it though, I might just smile and nod.

      • Which is why we should take what they say, while testifying in public right next to their boss, with a grain of salt. No sane person who wants to keep their job could or would criticize their boss on the record.

    • I was thinking that too. That offiicial didn't have the guts of the Stats Can head who resigned because this rotten government lied about his professional advice, pretending they were acting on it when they weren't.

      He was a hero in my eyes.

  4. "…that such alteration of a signed legal document was improper at best"

    What, exactly, is a "signed legal document"? This was an inter-office memo, was it not?

    I'm with you that this is a hell of a way to go about doing business, particularly if we want to have records of what the bureaucrats recommended and what the government did. It creates confusion in that regard. This document though, as I understand things, had zero force until the Minister exercised whatever power she has to rain money on organizations. In what sense is it a "signed legal document"? It had no force of law.

    • A reasonable view to take – but don't miss the fact that the document WAS the exercise of the Minister's power.

      Hence the issue.

      • Well, that's not entirely clear either. Is there some sort of prima facie entitlement to the money once the CIDA bureaucrats agree? I mean, I would think, without really knowing, that some entitlement maybe arises once she says yes. If she says no, the document confers no rights or privileges. It's a memo.

        In all honesty, I don't think that this is a super important point. I just think that the document needs to be put into a little context for what it actually was – it reflected a decision that belonged to the minister and that she made. Or at least there's no evidence that that wasn't the case.

        Obviously, I disagree with your point about whether or not the explanations are fair but I think your point about what the unwillingness to explain their decisions says about the government is fair. The current crop of bastards is a secretive one. It's their default setting and (to me anyway) it seems to result in some self-inflicted wounds.

        • "Is there some sort of prima facie entitlement to the money once the CIDA bureaucrats agree?"
          No, the Agency recommended that the Minister approve a contribution, and the decision whether to make the contribution is the Minister's alone, and she is solely responsible for making and justifying that decision. But, the Minister cannot change what the CIDA recommendation was, or misrepresent it (c.f. when Minister Clement gave the impression that the Chief Statistician had recommended swapping the Mandatory Long Form Census for the National Household Survey, when the latter had done no such thing).

    • you are correct, the memo to recommend funding isn't "the signed legal document", the contribution agreement for the funding is "the signed legal document"

      • Right – and in this case, no such contribution agreement was ever created, right? Because funding was refused?

        • exactly, contribution agreements are negotiated and signed by both parties once a Minister has approved a contribution in principle.

      • Sounds like an memo of understanding to me, and those are legal documents…

        • No these are memoranda to Ministers offering analysis and a recommendation, Memoranda of Understanding are different beasts. I don't think an MOU is a legal document either, since I don't believe they have any legal standing/legally bind the signatories to anything.

    • This document though, as I understand things, had zero force until the Minister exercised whatever power she has to rain money on organizations.

      The document was seeking the Minister's approval to do as such. CIDA is stating they've reviewed the program and are recommending they be given permission to proceed with funding it from the Minister. This is why it's a legal document; it's the official sign off on CIDA's decision that allows them to go forward.

      • Well I acknowledge I might be nitpicking here, but I have a hard time describing something as a "legal document" when it's not creating or defining any legal rights or created in order to comply with the requirements of some law.

        • It is created in order to comply with the requirements of a law. In particular, the governance codes involved in facilitating the mandated Ministerial oversight of the program in question and are enshrined in the act(s) that created CIDA in the first place.

          If Ministerial sign-off weren't required by law, CIDA could have funded the program regardless of what the Minister said. Heck, they wouldn't have needed even to ask.

          • If it wasn't a legal document, it would not require signatures. Since it appears to require signatures, it would appear to be a legal document.

          • I would hope that if it wasn't a legal document it wouldn't even exist.

            If it's not in any way a "legal document" then, as you suggest, having people sign it would be meaningless. If the piece of paper with the signatures on it isn't even needed, why wasn't this all handled through email. CIDA: We think you should give KAIROS funding. Minister: No.

            Problem solved.

          • There are plenty of documents that require signatures that aren't "legal documents". If the document in question were a legal document, we'd be reading about someone suing for breach of the terms, or for specific performance of the terms.

          • It's a statement of policy formally authorizing – or NOT authorizing – actions by civil servants.

            Maybe this makes it only casually legal, but it's still legal in the same way that any other written order in a government agency from one's legally authorized superior on a regulated matter or expenditure would be legal.

            Suppose the crats had gone on to negotiate an agreement w/ KAIROS anyhow, despite the "NOT." Would we be quibbling over the document's legal status then? No, we'd be listening to John Baird explain to the House in outrage that the civil service had defied a legal instruction and exceeded their authority, etc.

          • Not when the parties involved are functionally neutral to the outcome. CIDA has nothing to gain from suing the Minister who is within their rights to deny their suggestion. They just shrug and move on to the next one.

            Now, if the Minister had signed off on this document, CIDA had notified Kairos the funding was forthcoming on the basis of same, and then the Minister refused to sign off on the negotiated funding agreement between Kairos and CIDA when the time came (assuming of course, that her signature is even necessary once she's given CIDA prior permission to pursue the agreement as anything other than boilerplate), then you'd likely see the preverbal #2 hit the fan. Especially if Kairos had begun staging efforts for delivering what they promised and was already money out with a written notification that funding were to be forthcoming based on the original clearance from the Minister. I can guarantee you that, at that point, that document would become a very "legal document" if Kairos, or any other aid organization, were to raise the issue in court.

          • your scenario wouldn't play out that way, after signing such a memo to approve a recommended contribution, a letter would be sent from the Minister (or signing authority for a small contribution) to the recipient informing them of the details of this approval-in-principle and advising them that a contribution agreement must be negotiated and signed before any costs can be refunded. In most (but not all cases) the letter would also note any costs incurred before signing a contribution would be "lost", unless explicitly stated otherwise in the letter.

            Such letters are form driven to ensure that the number 2 never hits the fan. the government negotiates thousands of contributions each year, there are systems in place to ensure that they go smoothly, when approved, and to protect the taxpayer from legal risk if they do not go smoothly.

            None of the above applies if the Minister chooses to reject a recommended contribution, which is always within her right.

          • As noted by someone else down the thread, it has happened in the past.

            The Quebec Minister for Health (at the time), supported and financed The Mount Sinai Hospital Center to operate outside the bounds of their license through the Ministry in question. This would eventually include allowing them to move to a new facility in Montreal designed to operate within those extended bounds with the explicit promise that their license would be updated to match the reality of how they were currently being allowed to operate with the full knowledge of the Ministry.

            Then, when the facility was to open and the modified license was applied for, the Minister refused to actually follow through. <insert court case here> or, more accurately, at link above.

            So, while there are certainly "safeguards" in place – and the document in question in this debate is one of them – they don't always get followed. We tend to frown on Ministers that do that too.

            It's worth noting though, that I was also merely throwing out an example of how adding a non-neutral third party could lead to a lawsuit and the reality that those arguing that the document isn't "legal" would find out that such authorization paper trail items rapidly become such when presented in court.

          • "Legal" in government doesn't simply mean "something an outsider can sue over."

    • In some gov't departments involving funding third parties, if the decision could be _appealed_, such a document WOULD be a vital part of the paper trail and would be considered a legal document that would be illegal to tamper with after the fact. E.g., in Employment Insurance, the transcripts of the interviews and the Record of Decision prepared by the agents who make the decision on whether someone's claim goes through (if they quit their job for a justifiable reason, e.g.) are electronic records that the agents names who prepared them are attached to, and if someone else pens in a NOT here or there, that'd be fraud, regardless of how high up they are in Service Canada or HRDC

  5. I will NOT vote Conservative.

    • I will, so lets both save some time and not bother

      • I too will never vote for the Conservatives. They are no more.They were sabotaged by McKay and the Reform Alliance clan of Harper. I will never vote for the regime of DICTATOR HARPER or any of the dishonest Mp's Never as long as I live..

  6. I wonder if Harper is happy to see this continue to play out like this. He is left with the thinnest of hairs to split in her defence, but that is enough to muddy the waters such that his hardcore base will defend him to the hilt. The more anyone argues with them, the more committed they are to his cause.

    Moreover, several years in power have tarnished his credentials as a fiscal conservative, which is a huge potential weakness. The more people talk about this, the more people who are reminded that the government actually cut something. It doesn't matter that the funding in question is miniscule.

    • I suspect the government is ragging the puck on this one, hoping just to survive until the end of the period (to extend the hockey analogy). Next week's break is almost as good as a prorogation in terms of getting this story out of the news cycle and giving them a chance to "recalibrate".

  7. I don't buy Andrew's arguments. Refusing to sign the document just leaves it in limbo. A very important point is that the document was not a public document — it was for CIDA record's tracking. By inserting the "not" CIDA knows that the funding was not approved. I also think the argument "any reasonable person" — does indicate that there is some reasonable doubt. What is unfortunately the case is that the "mismatched" testimony vs. apology was quickly picked up by the Opposition who made the case that she had lied. Their position is convincing, so they will press their advantage, but the case against Oda is not airtight. While I know by ordinary standards we might have expected her to volunteer information about authorizing the change — some people don't think that way, especially when they are being grilled and being careful about making any misstep. Oda is the new Jaffer. Doesn't matter what the truth is, the Opposition will use them to beat up on the Conservatives. In this case, there is already too much energy expended in the direction of "she lied" to get any kind of fair assessment of what actually happened.

    • You don't leave it on your desk when you refuse to sign it, you refuse to sign it and send it back to the Agency head with an explanation of why the recommendation is not being approved (e.g. should the recommendation/proposal be amended or is it a non-starter and nothing like this should be recommended for approval again becuause XYZ?)

      • Maybe — to make a judgement one would need to know how CIDA handled this type of thing in the past and the order in which things happened. Interestingly, they have now changed their forms.

      • Well said!

    • CIDA would have never sent a document to Oda without discussing, in advance, that she was comfortable with the application. The reason there's no space to mark "yes" or "no" is because I would imagine that SOP is to only send up approvals that have received the unofficial stamp-of-approval from previous discussions.

      I'm still utterly convinced that Oda signed the document first and then had the approval revoked by a higher power. The person who inserted the "not" is only relevant in-so-far as that person can tell us who over-rode the decision.

      • .
        I'm not utterly convinced, but I am strongly suspicious.

        If we want to go further down the road to Karzai-fication, Oda, and the usual suspects are planting a firm step on it, unless a full inquiry, including the RCMP (this is strongly near the forgery border), exonerates her (THEM). Bring it on.

    • Water carrying…

    • "Refusing to sign the document just leaves it in limbo" – Rose21.

      "Oda has been a minister long enough to know that simply refusing to sign the letter stops the funding process". – Keith Beardsley, former member of Stephen Harper's PMO. (link)

      • When the letter explicitly states: "sign below to indicate you approve", it's hard to argue that not signing it doesn't indicate where you stand.

      • Followed your link all the way to the ATory01 blog…..

        The blog entry itself was refreshing……

        There were four or five responses….the one from ward was…….entertaining. ;-)

        • Where does one get an electric pen? It sounds as though it might be a useful thing to have.

          • Indeed.

            Also, in the last paragraph ward suggests that AC had to twist himself into a pretzel to get the facts to fit the narrative….apparently one man's pretzel is another man's straightedge.

        • What is the DefCon thing again? I know Thwimm or somebody keeps posting it, but I forget.

          Is it DefCon 3 when they attack their own staff?

          • The list, courtesy of tedbetts.

          • Oh, thanks. That's DefCon4 heard from Ward, then.

            But the problem with these Conservatives is, when Ward was already at DefCon4, Alain comes along behind him and starts at DefCon1 again. I think PMO is going to have to send out better alerts as to what level they are at on any given day.

  8. Somehow, the old question comes to mind: 'How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?'

  9. There are plenty of examples of funding recommendations from bureaucrats that get to a minister's office and are not funded. They are NOT handled by adding a handwritten NOT. So, there must have been a reason this case was handled this way. I think Andrew puts his finger on it.

  10. There’s lying to Parliament. That is one issue.

    The more serious issue is Stephen Harper’s government taking its foreign policy cues from an extreme right-wing organization like NGO Monitor. An organization which exists to discredit any organization or individual who criticizes Israel by labeling them an anti-Semite.

    It’s ridiculous that the Canadian government agrees that Kairos, a Canadian church group, is anti-Semitic (!!!!) because they helped fund posters in Gaza, or contributed funds to an investigation of living conditions in the West Bank.

    It’s mind-boggling!

    I know it’s the cover up not the crime which gets people in trouble. But Canada’s political journalists should be asking the government what is wrong with Kairos’ proposal. Maybe the wider public would get a glimpse into how Stephen Harper style conservatives think.

    • Yes — it would be a relief if they would focus on the issue of whether or not Karios should have been funded, rather than this muddy issue of the document. I have seen some pretty revealing criticisms of Karios, so I think it is a legitimate question (should Canadian taxpayers continue to fund them?), and both sides would have a case to make. Part of the problem with the issue as it is currently being pursued is that I keep seeing interpolations of her remarks, all of which do not agree, so it is hard even to know the facts here.

  11. Further to comment that Oda changed her story http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/bev-

    "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."

    She answered truthfully, she didn't know the name of the person (staffer), which is understandable ,if you knew the circumstances, who entered the word NOT in, and that was the question. Her answer was simple in that she didn't know the "who" by name.

    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.”

    • Don't let facts get in the way of a carefully planned, co-ordinated, hamfisted witch hunt, smear job.

      • Planned and co-ordinated witch hunt? Conservative paranoia my friend, right there. God forbid we expect competence from our government.

  12. Here's a thought – which somebody suggested over on Colby's – pretty sure it was Dot -that the 'not' was added at the time of the FOI request. That whoever filters the release of documents from a political point of view realized that the document as is, didn't represent the story line Oda and others had offered . This is reminding me of the Somalia Inquiry when certain people were claiming they didn't know things that they should have. It was finally admitted by someone that sensitive messages were being passed by post-it notes attached to other correspondence.
    At this point in the Odathon, what I want to know is why the funding was cut. There is no argument that the government can fund anything it wants, hell it can shut down CIDA if it wants. But there is this sinking feeling that there is an invisible McCarthyism going on.
    At the very least this government needs to be open about what it's priorities' are.

    • That is a really interesting suggestion. I wonder if there could be any copies around without the NOT.

      • Anyone know if CIDA is subject to FOI? If the document went back to CIDA before it was cancelled it wouldn't have the 'not". Curiouser and curiouser….

        • yes – that's how the document come to be in the public domain in the first place. I think it was Embassy Mag. that got it.

    • "somebody suggested … that the 'not' was added at the time of the FOI request"

      This doesn't sound very plausible to me. Kairos would have heard about the minister's negative decision before the FOI request, otherwise there would be no reason for the request in the first place.

      • Oh no, the funding cut was known but the document contains the evidence that CIDA has approved it. Which, the government seemed not to want us to know.

        • And by "that CIDA has approved it" you also mean Ms. Oda?


  13. They seem to be playing with the words "made the change" and "ordered the change made". Even back last October Ms. Oda's spokeswoman would not say who made the change. For a government that promised transparency, accountability and openness, why is it such a secret as to who made the change?

    • It does not matter who inserted the not. If the decline is reflective of the Minister's decison then that's the end of that part of the story. Chasing rabbits down a hole is not very productive.

      • No, that's not the point and you know that.

      • “We promised to stand up for accountability and to change the way government works,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

  14. "Still: the document must have been altered for some reason. Colby finds it “at least possible” that this reason was perfectly innocent: that Oda's signature was to the amended document, the other signatures were to the unamended document, and everyone should just be able to tell what each signature meant, at the time it was affixed. Possible, maybe. But I do not find it plausible"

    Now AC is confusing me [ in addition to CC]

    Did or did NOT Oda say the NOT was not there[ unamended] when she signed the bloody thing?

    • I believe Ms. Oda was not even in the country when her signature stamp went down on the memo. How could she know with any certainty that the 'NOT' was or was not there at the time. Plausible deniabilty at its finest.

    • No, she said she had to add the "not" so that she could sign it: it was the only way, she claims, that she could show that she was rejecting the recommendation.

      • Ah thanks. As you said above, that's completely absurd. It has been pointed out she could have simply not signed it at all if she felt that strongly. Furthermore wouldn't any reasonable person call the co signers before adding anything, or worst case initial the change? Something stinks in Denmark and it aint the cheese either. Keep on AC.

  15. .
    The law does not define an undetectable forgery, as far as I know. You pencil something in, you initial the alteration. Altering a document signed by others or yourself is a big matter.

    A signed document with an uninitialed alteration is a false document, a forgery, and the perpetrator liable to criminal charges and prison.

    Even when my siblings and I altered an impromptu list of inherited house items, we initialled any alterations, and that's small potatoes compared to an official government document. I really want journalists and the opposition to stop the frivolous discussion on this issue of forgery; you can't joke about something like this.

    We need the full chronology, personnel involved, prior practice and law brought bear on this incident.

    • " A signed document with an uninitialed alteration is a false document, a forgery, and the perpetrator liable to criminal charges and prison."

      Who are we kidding here? Andrew Coyne, are you telling me you have not consulted a lawyer on this question? Just tell us allp the real answer. I suspect that given Ms. Oda was one of the signatories she had the right to alter the document. Given that she did not initial the alteration, the alteration is merely made invalid in terms of its authenticity on the document.

      You danR and your siblings had every right to make alterations but unless you all initial them, they are invalid and the document reverts back to its original form sans the alterations. It does not make the document a forgery or make it alright for people to assume that you have less than honest intentions because you failed to initial the alteration.

  16. Fortunately for Ms. Oda the Speaker will look at technicalities and the words that were used. Milliken probably doesn't want to find Oda in contempt and therefore will cling to anything in order to not make that finding. In the meantime Coyne and the elite will knash their teeth and Harper will keep on plugging and like so many things over the past five years this too will soon pass. Bring on the election. We need to see Ignatieff returned to Harvard where he belongs.

  17. I am absolutely amazed at all the sleuths appearing on this board. Everybody is an expert. The fact is you can guess, you can conjecture, you can turn yourselves into knots but none of you have a clue. However, feel free to wear out your typing fingers doing all this detective work. At least you are not talking about the forthcoming election where Ignatieff is going to be defeated soundly by the Conservatives. Then you can continue worrying about who is lying. By the way MPs lie everyday in the house and no one seems to be excised about that. Only when a female cabinet minister is found wanting do the Liberals come out to play. Shades of Guergis.

    • You want to talk about what Harper did to Guergis. Or Ambrose, or Raitt?

      • Lets be honest Jan, the Liberals were never in love with Ms. Guergis after her little episode at the Halifax airport and that incident with her assistant anonymously espousing Ms. Guergis wonderful qualities to what was it…a phone in radio show. They demanded that Mr. Harper fire her too. Now Mr. Ignatieff has become her biggest supporter. The sheer hyocrisy is mindboggling.

        • But Harper was the one who implied there was something for the RCMP to investigate. Was that just spite on his part, or did something get covered up?

        • And much like right now with Ms. Oda, the Liberals are demanding Ms. Oda's resignation from cabinet. They are not demanding her removal from The Conservative Party of Canada, which would of course affect constituents who voted her into Parliament. That would be more up to the people of the riding who are free not to have her stand as their candidate at the next election if they choose to do so.

    • hollinm short version

      it doesn't matter if you're right poindexter, cause my brother is going to beat you up and there's nothing you can do about it. So shut up and we'll see you in Metzger's field after school.

      • hollimn appears larger (to himself) than he really is.

    • I get quite a chuckle out of the concern trolling from conservatives about sexism here. Bernier was ditched, he's not female.

    • So am I hollinm. Look at your own sleuth appearances and tell us truthfully that you are no different by posting here on this topic. If you can tell the difference between truth and fiction which it appears you clearly don't.

  18. I wish Colby Cosh had been on At Issue last night. At last someone who has their emotions under control.

    I couldn't believe all that "death of democracy" piffle coming from smart people, such as Allan Gregg and Chantal Hebert. I really expect our sage pundits to NOT become over-wrought about some trifling nonsense as though it was Cromwell coming in to the House of Commons with Roundhead troops or the declaration of the War Measures Act.

    I know, Andrew Coyne and Chantal Hebert work for newspapers (MacLeans and Toronto Star) so I know the name of the game is to sell papers and salacious "scandal" sells papers, but this non-scandal was embarrassingly nothing. No bribes or theft of taxpayers money, no "busty hookers" – Oda-gate has to be the most boring non-scandal since, well, since the last boring non-scandal, was it prorogation or the mandatory long-form census? I can't remember now. They all blur together.

    Meanwhile the TSX is over 14,000 points for the last week. The good times are coming back.

    • Talking about the TSX while unemployment is still rampant smacks of elitism. Not a good Tory talking point.

      • The Canadian economy has been growing jobs too. Now more jobs have been made than were lost in the global recession. So actually it is a good talking point. Unemployment remains stubborn at about 7%, that's true, so its good to keep investment momentum going for job creation, i.e., don't start raising corporate and business tax rates just as they are starting to work, and get good long-term industrial projects going like F35 and ship-building.

        The economy is going pretty well, – TSX over14,000 for first time since July 2008, jobs coming back, interest rates low, dollar at par or above, stimulus spending terminating soon – this is why we have to endure nonsensical drivel like Oda-gate and prorogation Facebook campaigns – the media has nothing negative to say of any importance about our politics.

        • What does unemployment of about 7% down actually mean? It is stating the jobs created are nothing but lies to make the freak control dictator look good on his failing quest for a majority. Where did these numbers come from if all the jobs were made up? Use a little common sense for a change instead of believing all the Cons talking points and fabrications.

          Even a 6 year old could figure that one out. I am calling a Bull sh*t on you on this one. Oh orval, the very poor in this country do not have any investments left or care what the TSX is doing. It is the rich who are creating the gains that the poor have lost. Other countries are also what is driving the TSX up, not the poor which is growing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis.

  19. This co-ordinated, ham fisted smear job, witch hunt has gone the way of all the other manufactured, hysterical smear job witch hunts of the past… nowhere. The Liberal/Separatist party and the media are very good at manufacturing "scandal", but they have to try much harder for it to have any lasting effects and resonate beyond the Liberal/Separatists lynch mobs. Specious, hysterical, drive by smears are NOT going to return the Adscam party "back to power", and AC regurgitating Iggo's talking points on the CBC does NOT help their cause. In order for manufactured drive by smears to have any real effect means the Liberal/Separatist party and their media whores have to invent a scenario that will actually resonate with the public and go beyond the frothing mouths of the ready aye ready lynch mob. Coyne would be better off manufacturing excuses for why he and the Liberal/Separatist party are still right, when the Speaker rules there was NOT a breach of trust. "Bustyhookergate" was a good smear job, but it failed because it was entirely manufactured, Odagate is also a well planned witch hunt, but it's a flaccid, ham fisted, over the top smear that turns people off. It will be interesting to read the inevitable media commisioned polling numbers that predictably follow a well planned, co -ordinated smear job.

    • How very cultist of you.

      • Hi Gayle… super psyched to here from you.

        • What is the distance from "here to you"?

          • What is the difference of, turd from you?

    • YEAH! Finally someone willing to tell it like it is!

      Your time is up, media whores!

      • Thanks "gottabeinbred", but that's, "Liberal" media whores.

    • It's interesting that the defenders of the government's bad behaviour are the ones who reach for words like "hysterical" or "witch hunt." It shows a certain…. panic?

      • They also like to employ the word "elite" as well. As in, they defend the government while claiming that "elite consensus" – ie., a handful of reporters and opposition politicians – has manufactured some kind of false outrage. Pretty insane, actually.

      • It's interesting that the Adscam party lynch mob and their media have to manufacture "scandal" where none exists, while dutifully ignoring the criminal theft of taxpayer money and a myriad of other unethical breaches of trust by the Adsammers ("Liberals")… reaching for words like, "liar" and "forgery". It shows a certain… desperation?

  20. "…What happens when a “brilliant strategist” is so full of uncontrollable resentment and meanness that he keeps getting himself in trouble by interfering where he has no business?…"

    "…The issue here is the reversal, by Stephen Harper, of a 60-year consensus shared by all previous governments about the central role of civil society in Canada. Every previous government has funded civil society groups and NGOs even when they espoused policies that contradicted the government's own…"

  21. .
    PMO defending Oda is like a serial killer defending his gun.

  22. It will take a while before all Canadians, who are busy with their personal lives, to realize that this government is gradually eating away at our British Parliamentary system, the world's greatest democratic system ever invented.

    But, in time they'll wake up.

      • Right. Great article. He really summed it up.

    • That's the truly sad part — the average Canadian probably doesn't even notice.

    • They are noticing but most can't be bothered to state so especially on Cps as a great deal of them do not own Cps and have interenet. Truth of the matter is that they cannot afford CPs and the internet. Their meek funds go towards the nesessities such as food and shelter.They will be voicing their opinions where it will count. on the ballot boxes on the next Federal elections.

      Bring out the election Harper if you have the guts to do so right now.

  23. Or perhaps she meant it was “normal” for this minister. Very well: if the minister has any other documents she has altered in this way, let's see them.

    Yes, let's.

  24. Latest is the "Mulrooney Defense". The Minister didn't lie, she simply wasn't asked the correct questions in the House. LOL, LOL, LOL

    That wig (?) she wears is the Mulrooney wig, it uses only split hairs.

    • This might appear funny to you (LOL) — but the legitimacy of an accusation of lying hinges on exactly how a question is asked. It is not up to the "accused" to volunteer information. It is up to the interrogators to make sure they ask the right questions.

      • I guess it all depends an how you define "right". Do you mean the opposite of left, or perhaps something "inalienable", or perhaps correct, or maybe a ritual (remember, they weren't written questions) or….. By how are you referring to the General, an Indian greeting, the methodology? Would this be the Clinton defense: It all depends on what is, is. Do you really want to go through the whole thing, or simply if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a a a a moose. Yeah, that's it. A moose!!

      • " I did not have sex with that woman"

      • "The evidence you shall give on this examination shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help you God." Parliament of Canada Act.

        Yeah, that must be a brand new saying that's never been heard before. And before you go saying she wasn't sworn in as a witness at the committee, that was a sign of respect that a cabinet minister would not need to be sworn in in order to tell the whole truth. Obviously, the respect was misplaced, and apparently with your blessings.

  25. I have just read Colby's version of the events and I think he nails it. The thing is, it is only fair to convict someone on the basis of what they actually said, and not on your own assumptions about how "reasonable people" would interpret the remarks. Most often, people are judged to be reasonable when they are aligned with your own interpretation of a set of circumstances. Colby's version of this is refreshing in that he actually deals with the facts.

  26. All small beans . . . the best result is that the hate mongering KAIROS has been de-funded.

    One small step. Next up, de-fund all the useless, NGO/QUANGO's that believe they have right to a lip lock on the public teat.

    No more funding for all the social do-gooder wannabes. Let them raise their own money from the fools that believe they have legitimate causes.

    • Mmmmm Kool-Aid, so refreshing.

    • What a truly sad opinion to hold. Here's hoping you and your family are never in any kind of need.

  27. Sorry Andrew, but when I read her testimony, it was clear she directed her staff to alter the document as was her prerogative to do so, especially considering the bureaucrats' not having left space for her to disagree, pre-supposing agreement. She says it at the beginning: "I sign off on all documents" and then "I will tell you the ultimate decision reflects the decision of the minister and the government". She is answering very precisely, as she and all politicians and lawyers are trained to.

    Departments and the government are not the same thing. You know this, as does anyone who has a basic understanding of our structure. We must stop relying on people not knowing this to prove a point. CIDA's bureaucrats' recommendations become CIDA decisions once the Minister has agreed. This is not a ridiculous or unreasonable understanding of the situation.

    The problem with this whole affair is that only those who understand what the words "government", "department decision", etc actually mean in their contexts will fully understand the timeline and happenstances.

    Full explanation: http://stuffoccurs.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/minis

    • I rather think we're in this mess because the conservatives don't know how to distinguish between reconmendation and ministerial decisions and that they can and must often not agree, at least initially.

      As to the no concurrence excuse, that's been pretty well debunked. Unless you can provide evidence of M.Oda having a history of such difficulties. If your link scenario is right, then why on earth not have the staffer who was directed to sign the not sign an affidavit to the effect – problem solved, govt and Oda covered in glory, opposition and critics in something nastier. Forebearance from this govt, i think not. Fail.

      • President Biggs, in her testimony, said that there was no concurrence and they have changed the way they do decision notes to allow the Minister to exercise her prerogative without these problems.

        Agreed that the staffer responsible should just come forward, or the Chief of Staff at the time (is it the same guy as now?) should take one for the team – Chiefs of Staff are responsible for their staff, and SOMEONE should've initialed the NOT, obviously – but that doesn't make it a fraud.

    • Your account, although eerily close to the one issued by the PMO today, as well, http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Memo+only+altered+si...

      has an air of plausibility, alright, but doesn't really make sense:

      why would her staff need to alter & sign the document in her absence at all, since it was just going to be filed away internally, never to be seen again (until – d'oh! — the damned FOI request by a pesky journalist later)?

      Why not just refuse to sign the recommendation, ever? Problem solved: there can be no more funding without it.

      Or if paper closure is needed, wait until she got back and have her stamp it "Refused" & initial it, or whatever?

      Because the agency never got that "NOT" memo: they got a phone call saying "no." And then when they immediately wrote to complain and asked for an explanation, they got a 1.5 page letter signed by Oda, but, again, not that memo or anything signed by the other CIDA directors they'd been working with all year to get the proposal approved. (They first applied for the renewal in Dec. '08)

      So this other story about the supposed time crunch of having to put that actual form to bed that day (nov 29, 09) sounds like a total fabrication, even if the agency had been promised to be notified by the end of Nov. And note, the Minister had already stalled for over 2 months (in fact, more like 5: the agency had been told it would be on her desk in June), leading CIDA to extend it some extra funding out of petty cash, as it were, in anticipation of it BEING awarded, as usual, after working with it for months to tweak their 4-year project's design to ensure it met with CIDA's current objectives.

      I've gleaned most of this from the earliest entries of the press they gleaned when they first complained about this strange reversal: http://www.kairoscanada.org/en/who-we-are/cida-funding-c...

      • WellWell, the reason the staff would do what they did is because the Ministry needs these documents back to implement decisions. Ministers can't just not reply – that's not how the system works, and if she had just not replied and let it go, that would be horrifying, and we would all be saying she didn't do her job. It would've been better for the document to wait til she got back to Ottawa and initial the change and life would've gone on, but it appears that the argument between the ministry and the MO about leaving room for the Minister to exercise her prerogative had been going on for a few years, so I would bet the Minister and her staff were tired of it by that point. Nevertheless, waiting for the Minister's return would've ben optimal – agreed. But the reality is that's not what happened, and I would bet the Minister's direction over the phone went something like this (to be clear, I wasn't there, I don't actually know, but I've been in similar situations so have an education guess):

        Staffer: "Minister, President Biggs is asking for your signature on the Kairos decision note"
        Minister: "Bloody hell. I don't want to fund that group anymore, and this is yet ANOTHER decision note without a place for me to NOT agree! Don't they know I'm the Minister and they follow what I decide and not the other way 'round?!"
        Staffer: "Yes, Minister. Given that you don't want to fund Kairos, but the final decision needs to be made posthaste, what would you like us to do?"
        Minister: "OK, just put a "NOT" on the note, and auto-pen the signature. We don't have time to go round and round with them again on this."
        Staffer: "Yes, Minister" (one of the staffers follows the Minister's direction, auto-pens the document and sends it back, Kairos is informed over the phone that major funding is being removed and they will receive a follow-up letter)
        Minister: "What's next?"

        Also, those memos are not for sending out – the decision was explained in the letter to KAIROS, but those decision notes do not get sent out of the Ministry. The Ministry learned that they needed to stop pre-supposing a Ministerial decision, and changed the way they formatted decision notes.

        • Oda had two or three months to deal with the no concurrence issue, you excuse is implausible at best. And where are the other examples of no concurrence / not difficulties? No one other than Biggs seems to think it quite normal. Your reasning seems just a little too pat, and…too late. This should have all gone before committee.

  28. The stark reality is this:

    The desperate left views everything through the prism of "the next great scandal that will vaunt us back to power!!!"

    Thus the raving lunacy and outright distortions we saw about a single notation on a document – the kind of notation made on millions of documents in offices (in both government and business) across the country every week.

    • Before you go making statements about the monolithic 'desperate' left, I'd just like to say that as a member of the left (or at least left of wherever you are on the political spectrum), I don't think this is the next great scandal, nor to I believe the Liberals will be vaunted back to power on the 'strength' of this incident. It won't move voters one way or the other; in fact, it might end up helping the Conservatives. But I also happen to believe that this incident demands scrutiny. The opposition is clearly within their rights to look into it, and I'm glad they're determined to hold the government to account on this matter — for the good of the office and the institution.

      As far as your sum-up of what actually happened — if you're right, the speaker will rule that way.

      • You note that chet never asks at any point for it to be looked into. It simply doesn't fit his narrative, neither is it on his official to do list.

        • I have to stop responding to him, really. It's not like I'm going to change his mind about anything. I think his self-soothing partisan cocoon has soundproofing.

          Actually, it's worth it all for that nugget. Self-soothing partisan cocoon? That was pretty good. He won't admit that Conservatives have them too, but still pretty good.

          • As well as not changing his mind – and really who comes here to have their mind changed? – you won't learn much either (well, not anything useful).

          • and really who comes here to have their mind changed?

            Believe it or not, I've come across a few people here who are genuinely willing to change their minds on a given issue.

          • I can tell you I'd be willing to change my mind too, if I wasn't right all the time.

          • Undoubtedly true…..d@mn generalizations, not worth the electrons that are disturbed on their behalf. ;-)

  29. "Oda herself, in answer to an order paper question, April 23, 2010: “The CIDA decision not to continue funding Kairos was based on the overall assessment of the proposal, not on any single criterion.”

    "- that she altered the document in which CIDA officials recommended continuing funding to make it appear as if they had recommended it be discontinued — or rather, since she now admits to having altered it,…"

    • I see another possibility AC. Her statement to the committee was essentially true – she did not alter the doc . She likely knew who did though, thus her more recent testimony is the real lie. This would clear up the bizarre unlikelihood that she would not volunteer the fact that she in fact knew who ordered the not inserted.[ but…it wasn't her, if you follow me] It's so inconcievable that she wouldn't admit she had it changed after being asked directly if she did it.

      • This is where my narrative mets yours. The line in the house has been: funds denied, and yes due diligence has been carried out and no they did not meet CIDA's criteria. This as you say is the lie, the big one they cannot wipe out, or provide any supporting evidence for. One thing they could do however was visit the original document which directly contradicted the big lie. This is where my narrative loses steam – who on earth would be fooled by such a clumsy alteration? Perhaps[ as you say] they muddying the waters was all they could do, since they could not change the real views of CIDA or provide any evidence that justified defunding KAIROS. It's so freakshly amateur and brazen…which now i come to think of it is not out of character at all.

        • What's up with this %$*&%^ ID? Can't post anothing longer then a paragraph.

          • My first point is not too coherent. Basically she didn't fess up because she really had not altered the doc or caused it too be altered [ she may have known who did order it altered, so she was likely still lying]. She further lied just days ago because it was then expedient to do so. In short she may not have come through with the i ordered it at the committee because she had not in fact ordered it. Not at all sure if that's better. :)

  30. It's worse than that chet,
    the media and opps know how government works, but Canadians don't. So they shamelessly constructed the narrative around buzz words, like ' lie and forgery ', and conjured up conspiracy theories.

    Any one who read the actual transcript saw, once again, a kangaroo court, with their victim being oh so more competent than those asking the questions.

    After reading mackensieam's link,
    imo, if Milliken finds Oda in contempt, he should be fired.

    • Nonsense. That piece you link reads just like the Tory talking points issued to their caucus that day, about which Andrew Coyne tweeted:

      "This is the most bizarre non-explanation. It explains why someone else inserted the "not" – not why it was done at all http://bit.ly/hNWa9Q about 6 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone Retweeted by 4 people


  31. Like census gate, the media kept Canadians carefully away from the most relevant fact about the long form census – that is, its LENGTH.

    "Long" in long form, didn't mean ten or twenty questions over a couple of pages. No it was FORTY pages long.

    A startling fact that somehow never made it in the first few paragraphs, if at all, in most "news" coverage.

    Of course, most rational people would conclude that shortening a FORTY page questionarre, or at least considering doing so, makes perfect sense.

    It was as if they were reporting on masked men breaking into someone's home with large rubber hoses,

    while omitting the teeny weeny fact that they were fire fighters there to stop a fire.


    • I have responded to your "shorter census" talking point I don't know how many times on this board, and you continue to be shameless enough to continue posting it.

      So I'll say it again…

      The Tories have shortened the long form from forty pages to….

      wait for it….



  32. So while the media casually, wontonly and recklessly throws around the words "lie" and "doctored documents",

    and while they carefully select the most unflattering photos available,

    and have host bloggers on their main page with captions comparing her appearance to a dead rock singers,

    Canadians eventually become aware of the basic facts that this was all about an intentional single word notation on a document, passed along for others to intentionally see.

    And the accusers, and their abbetors in the media, shake their collective heads in self righteous indignation, how Canadians just can't come to see how righteous they are.

  33. What do you know another Liberal attack article by the leftest Coyne.

    • Nobody's more left than Coyne. He is the leftest.

      • NOT!

  34. So an aide, reflecting her intention, put the "not" in.

    And Oda being unsure of who made a single notation (herself, an aid, or someone from the agency who may have verbally received the advice and put it in themselves)

    on a single document among literally millions,

    is even being mentioned,

    let alone characterized as a "SCANDAL!!!"

    • You're gonna get a callous on that channel-changing thumb, chiff.

  35. There's a scandal here alright.

    How a left leaning media, willingly parroted obviously untrue (or at a minimum unfounded) allegations against this poor woman.

    A completely manufactured scandal.

    Andrew Coyne,

    you and all of those who participated in this partisan driven orgy of ill made assumptions and salacious unfounded allegations,

    should be ashamed of yourselve.

    • "… this partisan driven orgy of ill made assumptions and salacious unfounded allegations,"

      Quite the sentence; were you smacking your lips as you wrote it? The assonance is quite good. Still, it needs a little more.

      If i may? ..

      .this partisan drivel and veritable orgy of ill met assumptions; salacious unfounded allegations and scurilous muck raking, scandle mongering, filttthhh …hisssesess…[ lots and lots of hissessss]..

    • Don't you worry chet… if you're right, the speaker will call out the opposition and by extension all us who participated in the 'orgy of ill-made assumptions', and Bev Oda will be a hero to all. And we will all feel shame, and retreat into our self-soothing partisan cocoons.

      • Actually,

        "If I'm right" the Liberals will be punished at the polls for chasing faux scandal after faux scandal instead of focusing on real issues.

        Oh, and right on cue, the latest poll puts the CPC at 40 and the Libs languishing at 26:

        That's, what, four polls now which show the CPC surging and the Libs languishing. I say the Libs keep taking their cue from the likes of their supporters on blogs like these!

        • Someone who believes a voluntary census would produce accurate results would believe these media polls.

          1) It was a telephone poll. Anyone without a landline would not have been surveyed. (A lot of people carry only cell phones now). People with cell phones only may be demographically different from those with landlines (I'd guess the cell phone-only group likely skews younger).

          This is likely to skew the results of the poll.

          2) Response rates to telephone polls have fallen to as low as 15% (i.e. 85% will hang up). People who hang up the phone on pollsters are likely to be demographically different than those who don't (I suspect those who do answer are skewed towards older retired populations).

          This is likely to skew the results of the poll.

          I notice you have nothing to say in response to my rebuttal to your "Tories made the census shorter" quip. Funny that. Probably because you were caught in an outright lie and can't back up what you say. Typical chiff.

        • Actually, even if you're wrong, I'm still of the opinion that the Liberals will be punished at the polls — or at least will derive no political benefit from it. People don't care. Even if we take Adscam as an example, it took several months for that scandal to get much/any traction in the public — and that was a serious scandal. Theft of money is an easy concept to grasp — and it still took MONTHS for it to sink in with the public. This event, no matter how it shakes down, won't move votes in any significant way.

  36. What is the problem some people have the way the recommendation was rejected.
    President of CIDA Margaret Biggs, who signed the Kairos document, testified before the parliamentary committee in December, Oda did nothing wrong and used her ministerial discretion and judgment to deny approval of the funding.

    “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.”

    So Oda instructed her staff that she was not approving the recommendation and they inserted the word "not" before the word recommend. As Ms. Biggs president of CIDA told the committee they got the message and understood it – it was sent to the minister for approval or non approval – she didn't approve it obviously when "not recommend" was on the paper . That was the minister doing her job -she had every right to refuse approval as Biggs testified so what is the problem.
    To claim forgery or defacing of a document is absurd and ridiculous – that doesn't wash with anyone who has an IQ higher than their shoe size.

  37. The sad thing is that this whole issue, like so many others, has fallen off of Canadain radar screens. I find it sad that Bev Oda is silent and that someone decided the Minister cannot speak for herself. Oda has the perogative to make decisions and she has an experienced staff that knows how the system works. Why did this happen in the first place? One thing has become crystal clear: if you are Harper's friend the crooked can be made straight, but if you are not his friend your best effects are made meaningless. And everyone wonders why only 58% of Canadians saw the point in voting in the last general election.

  38. Excellent link mackenzieam.

    Read it an learn Mr Coyne.

  39. It's worse than that chet,
    the media and opps know how government works, but Canadians don't. So they shamelessly constructed the narrative around buzz words, like ' lie and forgery ', and conjured up conspiracy theories.

    Any one who read the actual transcript saw, once again, a kangaroo court, with their victim being oh so more competent than those asking the questions.

    After reading mackensieam's link,
    imo, if Milliken finds Oda in contempt, he should be fired.

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