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Confusion reigns


 

First, a report that Suaad Hagi Mohamud may have referenced American Idol judge Randy Jackson in her interview with consular officials in Kenya. Now, more on what the government knew, when it knew it and what it was saying publicly.

In June, Mohamud’s MP Joe Volpe (Liberal, Eglinton-Lawrence) starts making inquiries. Although the investigation was closed, emails show officials deciding to tell him they are working with Kenyan authorities to verify the identity of the individual.

On July 2, a day after the Star broke the story, the media line changes. A department spokesperson says the woman has conclusively been determined an imposter. Behind the scenes, officials were second-guessing themselves. “Have we done our due diligence?” the minister’s office asks.

On July 3, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon’s spokesperson Catherine Loubier writes: “Could we look into other options … such as fingerprinting and genetic testing?”

The Prime Minister is on record as saying “we”—however you interpret that—became aware of the situation in mid-August.


 

Confusion reigns

  1. What Harper and his PMO outright lying to make Harper look better?

    In other news, I heard the Maple Leafs are going to wear blue and white this year and go with a goalie and five skaters to start their games.

    • I saw the New Look Leafs last night and they don't have five skaters.

      Or, for that matter, much of a goalie.

  2. This is really nice, but I hope the media really latches on to the Iggy-Coderre situation, that is where journalism is needed most.
    Harper lies, "we" know that, but that doesn't mean the media should actually be as diligent with Con untruths and devious spin as it is with Lib incompentence and mental delay.

  3. Why oh why do we have to rely on bad passport pictures to prove our identity. Fingerprinting for every passport should be standard, or at the very least. optional to avoid these problems.

  4. The security of Canadians travelling abroad is far more important than a stupid Lib tiff in Québec.

  5. Once again, this post misses the real story.

    The first name she variously spelled "Suaad" and "Suad,"

    The woman gave both 2006 and 1996 as the year of her marriage and was unable to explain the contradiction…In her notice of action, she says that in 2007 she married Mohamud Osman

    She gave her son's birthday as Jan. 5 instead of Jan. 3 as in the immigration application

    When Mohamud applied for immigration years ago, she named a sister, Jihan, in the application…She stated that she didn't know why I was calling her Jihan, didn't know a Jihan

    This lawsuit is dead in the water. And does anybody other than Wherry really care "what the government knew, when it knew it and what it was saying publicly", now that these details have come to light? I think it is safe to assume most people by now would conclude that the conular officials and the government acted correctly.

    • Only those who care to understand that what Harper says and the truth have no relation.

    • Two stories:

      Whether there was a screw up or many. Clearly the government screwed up because she is a Canadian citizen, but whether they are culpable or not is the question remaining.

      The second story though is why Harper and the PMO would lie about their involvement? Clearly there was political involvement from the very beginning, and frankly for the better if it was them inquiring about fingerprinting and DNA testing after the civil service threw her to the dogs.

      The contrast between Cannon's public reaction and Harper's is really stark. Cannon publicly backed his civil service and then behind the scenes went digging for the truth or to confirm that they had done the most they could to verify her identity and pushed them to do more.

      Harper by contrast was quick, as soon as the public political pressure rose, to throw the civil servants (and Cannon too if you think about what he said, when he said it) under the bus, and how quick he was to distance himself from his own government.

      I'd say one of these examples shows true leadership.

      • The second story though is why Harper and the PMO would lie about their involvement? Clearly there was political involvement from the very beginning

        You seem to be implying that Harper and PMO were involved with this case from the very beginning. Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back this up?

      • The second story though is why Harper and the PMO would lie about their involvement? Clearly there was political involvement from the very beginning

        You seem to be implying that Harper and the PMO were involved with this case from the very beginning. Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back this up?

        • I am not implying that at all. I am saying and said quite expressly that Cannon and his office were involved pretty early on and, it seems, to her benefit that they were. Even though they supported the consular service publicly, they were digging down to the facts behind the scenes.

          I think it is extremely compliant shall we say to think that Harper and the PMO did not know about this much sooner. It had been in the Toronto Star, the largest paper in the country, front page, for weeks. This is a government that requires civil servants to get approval on all press releases not just from the Minister's office but from the PMO itself! One of his Ministers was speaking out publicly on this matter – even if you want to believe that he did not need or did not get permission to speak on his own (doubtful), it is an all too disconnected PMO and PM that is not aware of one of his leading cabinet ministers speaking out on a major publicized controversy in which his government looked bad or at the very least risked looking bad. And in an area (Canadians abroad) where they had several times already been the recipient of, shall we say, unwanted scrutiny of its actions.

    • Only those who care to understand that what Harper says and what the truth is have no relation whatsoever.

      They may coincide once in a while, but it's become clear that this occurs purely by chance.

      But hey, if you feel comfortable voting to put such a person as the head of our gov't, I suppose that's your choice.

      The consular officials may have acted correctly, the government, being unwilling to even address that there might be a problem, lied to you.

    • Only those who care to understand that what Harper says and what the truth is have no relation whatsoever.

      They may coincide once in a while, but it's become clear that this occurs purely by chance.

      But hey, if you feel comfortable voting to put such a person as the head of our gov't, I suppose that's your choice.

      The consular officials may have acted correctly, the government, being unwilling to even address that there might be a problem, lied to you as it's first line of response.

    • Only those who care to understand that what Harper says and what the truth is have no relation whatsoever.

      They may coincide once in a while, but it's become clear that this occurs purely by chance.

      But hey, if you feel comfortable voting to put such a person as the head of our gov't, I suppose that's your choice.

      The consular officials may have acted correctly, the government, being unwilling to even address that there might be a problem, lied to you as it's first line of response. Personally, I find this concerning.. what happens if the government had screwed up? Or are you confident that just doesn't happen?

    • Only those who care to understand that what Harper says and what the truth is have no relation whatsoever.

      They may coincide once in a while, but it's become clear that this occurs purely by chance.

      But hey, if you feel comfortable voting to put such a person as the head of our gov't, I suppose that's your choice.

      The consular officials may have acted correctly, the government, being unwilling to even address that there might be a problem, lied to you as it's first line of response. Personally, I find this concerning.. what happens if the government had actually screwed up? Or are you confident that just doesn't happen?

      • Could you be more specific about the alleged lies? Do you have actual quotes or something to support this assertion?

        • The fact that it had been so extensively covered, was getting such a high profile on a policy matter (Canadians abroad) that had dinged the PM several times previously, and the fact that Cannon had spoken out publicly on this, and the fact that the PMO has such tight control over messaging and media communications (even civil servants are asked to send media briefings to the PMO for vetting and not just to the Minister's office as was revealed some time ago)… all lead me to conclude quite definitively that at the very very least the PMO did in fact know contrary to what Harper said and, most likely, The Right Honourable Stephen Bryan Jean Harper himself knew.

          • So you have no evidence whatsoever that Harper lied. It comes down to your personal hunch that he "most likely" knew about it, even though Harper is an extremely busy guy with hundreds of things on his plate at any given time.

            It's convenient for Harper's partisan detractors to assume that he is some sort of omniscient, omnipresent being who literally micromanages every file in every department. Unless I see evidence that suggests otherwise, I'll give him the benefit of doubt that he only found out about it when he says he did.

          • So, you think that malicious reporting and implicating means there must be a lie? The implication is the proof?

        • You list the quotes down below. So unless you're asserting that nobody in the PMO actually reads the papers, even when it's one of the government's own ministers commenting, they lied.

          • What is this, pronoungate? Harper said "When we became aware of the case last week", in a context that makes it perfectly clear he was referring to his personal awareness, and you maintain that this proves he was lying because someone, somewhere in his office must have read about the case in the paper?

            Pretty flimsy.

          • So either you're suggesting he's taken to using the royal "we" now, or that he doesn't have the PMO keep him abreast of things that his own ministers are saying? Seriously? You seriously want to argue that the PM has no idea what his own cabinet is doing?

            C'mon man, I took you for one of the more reasonable people around here.

          • So either you're suggesting he's taken to using the royal "we" now, or that he doesn't have the PMO keep him abreast of things that his own ministers are saying? Seriously? You seriously want to argue that the PM has no idea what his own cabinet is doing?

            I mean, I understand the need to try to avoid cognitive dissonance, but c'mon. That's stretching things even for a Harper supporter.

          • Au contraire, Thwim. The cognitive dissonance is all yours.

            You're obviously disappointed that the Suaad Haji Mohamud case has completely fizzled as a viable partisan line of attack, so the partisan region of your brain (prefrontal cortex, I believe) is trying to rationalize the situation in some way that casts Harper in a bad light.

            That's why you accused the PM of lying, even though you have zero evidence and the flimsiest of pretexts (royal "we" instead of "I" in a comment he made in August).

          • Trust me, I don't need this case to cast Harper in a bad light. I've got income trusts, softwood lumber, Michael Fortier, "third-rate socialist state and proud of it", the Alberta firewall, the Rob Anders nomination, the committee disruption manual, the proroguement, the fixed-election act, the GST cut, the arctic ice-breakerspatrol ships, the Millenium Scholarship Foundation, the "if there was a recession coming we would have had it already" quote, the "no tax increases" quote. vs. the HST, in-and-out, Cadman, Linda Keen, "accountability", "Free votes" etc. to cast Harper in a bad light.

            This is just one more example of many.

            What I don't quite understand here is that it seems you're now reduced to arguing that the PM is so out of touch that he didn't even know what his own ministers were doing on an issue that had been in the papers for weeks — and you're arguing that as the better alternative.

            Hell, at least if he was lying we could take comfort in that it at least means he's aware of what the hell is happening, but according to you, we don't even have that. Instead, we've got that he decided on this one occasion to use the royal "We" to refer to himself only, and that even in that instance in means the entire PMO staff was completely negligent while he continues to be a paragon of unblemished virtue.

            Get off it. He screwed up. He lied about what he knew as a first response, and now you're desperately trying to resort to semantic games to rationalize why you still have any faith in the man at all.

          • Thanks for advancing the discussion by trotting out the usual laundry list of anti-Harper attack lines (some legitimate, some not, but let's put that aside for now and focus on what you're actually trying to argue about the Mohamud case).

            You're now reduced to arguing that the PM is so out of touch that he didn't even know what his own ministers were doing on an issue that had been in the papers for weeks.

            As I said earlier, I don't expect the PM to be aware of every news item that involves Foreign Affairs or other government departments. The PM is an extremely busy guy who has a hundred things to worry about at any given time. Now that more facts are out about the Mohamud case (this wasn't the horrifying debacle that it originally seemed to be) I think the PM can be forgiven for learning about the case in August rather than July. That's my subjective opinion, but I think reasonable people would agree.

            He lied about what he knew as a first response
            Again, this is a baseless charge that is not supported by the facts. Your focus on the pronoun "we" reeks of equivocation; even the reporter who originally quoted the PM made it clear that the PM was referring to when he personally became aware. Repeating "He lied!" over and over again doesn't make it true if you can't produce any evidence to support it.

            In short, you're the one playing semantic games, by crying "Liar!" based on nothing but a pronoun and a gut feeling that "he must have known sooner". It's rather telling that no journalist or credible observer has called the PM a liar based on this statement – really, just two blog commenters (you and OSL) who were egged on by one of Wherry's legendary "inferences".

          • Thanks for advancing the discussion by trotting out the usual laundry list of anti-Harper attack lines (some legitimate, some not, but let's put that distraction aside for now and focus on what you're actually trying to argue about the Mohamud case).

            You're now reduced to arguing that the PM is so out of touch that he didn't even know what his own ministers were doing on an issue that had been in the papers for weeks.

            As I said earlier, I don't expect the PM to be aware of every news item that involves Foreign Affairs or other government departments. The PM is an extremely busy guy who has a hundred things to worry about at any given time. Now that more facts are out about the Mohamud case (this wasn't the horrifying debacle that it originally seemed to be) I think the PM can be forgiven for learning about the case in August rather than July. That's my subjective opinion, but I think reasonable people would agree.

            He lied about what he knew as a first response

            Again, this is a baseless charge that is not supported by the facts. Your focus on the pronoun "we" reeks of equivocation; even the reporter who originally quoted the PM made it clear that the PM was referring to when he personally became aware. Repeating "He lied!" over and over again doesn't make it true if you can't produce any evidence to support it.

            In short, you're the one playing semantic games, by crying "Liar!" based on nothing but a pronoun and a gut feeling that "he must have known sooner". It's rather telling that no journalist or credible observer has called the PM a liar based on this statement – really, just two blog commenters (you and OSL) who were egged on by one of Wherry's legendary "inferences".

          • Please. Journalists don't call the PM liar on anything. Income trusts, appointing Fortier, these were quite clearly blatant lies and no journalist called him out.

            My focus is on what he actually said. Your focus is on what you'd prefer he'd said. Unfortunately, that's not what he said. And the evidence is already produced. You can read the previous Maclean's article on it if you want: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/19/i-read-the-new

            So while the PM may be a busy guy, to think that his staff didn't notice a story that had been running for several weeks, and didn't even notice when it was one of his own cabinet ministers (not just some guy from foreign affairs, one of his ministers) speaking to the media is simply beyond the pale. But it seems that the only acceptable version of "the facts" to you is if he comes right out and admits it, no matter how far you have to stretch credibility to justify otherwise.

          • Income trusts, appointing Fortier, these were quite clearly blatant lies and no journalist called him out.

            Probably because journalists find it useful to make a distinction between flip-flops and lies.

            My focus is on what he actually said. Your focus is on what you'd prefer he'd said.

            OK, we're just going round in circles here, which is the expected outcome when you have two stubborn Albertans butting heads over what is fundamentally a matter of opinion. Let's just shake hands and agree to disagree. ;-)

          • So either you're suggesting he's taken to using the royal "we" now, or that he doesn't have the PMO keep him abreast of things that his own ministers are saying? Seriously? You seriously want to argue that the PM has no idea what his own cabinet is doing?

            I mean, I understand the need to try to avoid cognifive dissonance, but c'mon. That's stretching things even for a Harper supporter.

      • Yes, I agree with Crit Reasoning, what are these supposed lies you refer to?

  6. The Prime Minister is on record as saying “we”—however you interpret that—became aware of the situation in mid-August.

    I read that "we" as referring to Harper personally and his PMO staff.

    • Funny. Most people assume that when the PM says "we" he's referring to the Government.

      • It depends on the context, doesn't it? From the Aug. 19 TorStar article:

        Harper suggested he became aware of the case only last week, even though her well-publicized plight of being stuck in Kenya had begun 11 weeks earlier.

        "When we became aware of the case last week, we asked our officials in various departments to give us some information," Harper said at a news conference yesterday.

        Given this context, it's obvious that Harper was referring to when he personally became aware of the case, as opposed to the government as a whole. The reporter, Bruce Campion-Smith, makes this perfectly clear immediately before the quote.

      • It depends on the context, doesn't it? From the Aug. 19 TorStar article:

        Harper suggested he became aware of the case only last week, even though her well-publicized plight of being stuck in Kenya had begun 11 weeks earlier.

        "When we became aware of the case last week, we asked our officials in various departments to give us some information," Harper said at a news conference yesterday.

        Given this context, it's obvious that Harper was referring to when he personally became aware of the case (as opposed to the 'government' as a whole). The reporter, Bruce Campion-Smith, makes this perfectly clear immediately before the quote.

      • Well, I do think they bungled it and then he lied about it, but I did always take the "we" to mean the PMO and not the government since Cannon had been speaking about it.

        In fact, the fact that it had been so extensively covered, was getting such a high profile on a policy matter (Canadians abroad) that had dinged the PM several times previously, and the fact that Cannon had spoken out publicly on this… all lead me to conclude quite definitively that at the very very least the PMO did in fact know, if not Harper himself.

    • Could easily have been that Jekyll Hyde thing too.

  7. I agree, my key strokes were dripping with sarcasm. "Stupid" and "tiff" are apt descriptions.

  8. This story is not going to end well .. for Harper.

    • Actually, most of these stories should not end well for Harper (in a just world), but he'll still emerge unscathed and the opposition parties will look weak for the umpteenth time. It is no longer a pattern or a trend, it is Canadian political reality. The media won't punch back too hard on this, in general, before they drop the story entirely, because Harper fights dirty and punches below the belt, and he has gotten away with it so many times, he has nothing to fear from the truth. Sure, in the long term he will be a thoroughly unliked and unmissed PM, but for the near future, Harper's hate and lies are here to stay.

      • Seems to me the hate and lies are coming from you, not Harper.

  9. It just boggles the mind that anyone would doubt that the PM and the PMO were not fully aprised of this whole file long before they spoke out about it.

    • No, what boggles the mind is conspiracy theories like yours, which seem to have no basis in reality, nor any real consequence – a psychologically motivated conspiracy theory.

      Just the fact that you think the government looked bad, because people like Wherry and the Star went ballistic for no reason whatsoever, is telling. People are not that stupid.

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