I read the news today. Oh boy.


 

The Prime Minister raises the question of what he knew and when he knew it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he’s happy Suaad Hagi Mohamud is back in Canada but admits he’s waiting for answers about her nightmare at the hands of Canadian officials.

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. “Obviously there (is) some troubling information here. It’s a complex case. I have asked my officials for a thorough review of the matter … (then) we’ll decide what further inquiry we do have to do.

So when did everyone else become aware of Suaad Hagi Mohamud’s case? Good question.

According to an Infomart search, the first story from the Toronto Star appeared on July 1, nearly seven weeks ago.* It includes comment from an unnamed Foreign Affairs spokesman. Canadian Press moved its first item on her Mohamud the next day. CBC’s The National picked up the story the night of July 22. Canwest moved a story that same day and that Canwest story appeared in the National edition of the National Post on July 23.

A Star story on July 25 cites reaction from Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. The CTV evening news appears to have first reported the story on the night of August 11. The Globe and Mail followed with a report on August 12, as did Canada AM.

So perhaps the Prime Minister and his staff only pay attention to the properties of CTVglobemedia. Or maybe Mr. Harper and the PMO are not on speaking terms with Mr. Cannon and the department of foreign affairs.

(*Note: This post originally included incorrect dates. An initial search was done of major news services for “Suaad Hagi Mohamud.” After conferring with a colleague from another outlet, a second search was done for “Suaad Mohamud,” yielding a hopefully more accurate assessment of the story’s origins and progress. Apologies for any confusion.)


 

I read the news today. Oh boy.

  1. I always assumed a national leader would either read multiple newspapers or be presented with a daily digest of stories that might be relevant to them.

    So: is Harper's staff incompetent and provide crappy digests of daily news? Do they limit themselves to Harper-friendly Good News? How could he possibly have been unaware, all this time, about this growing national story with implications for multiple cabinet members? Does Harper keep himself in a bubble?

    One can imagine what the shrieking harpies around here would say if a Prime Minister Ignatieff was oblivious to a story like this for six weeks.

  2. Definitely looks very sloppy on the part of the PMO. The question is did people see the story and not feel it was worth passing up the food chain to the higher-ups? That would potentially be an even more damning indictment of the PMO.

    • I would posit that misspelling the name of a Territorial capital is sloppy; failing to recognize that one of your diplomats disowned a Canadian citizen unilaterally and without due investigation is slightly more abhorrent.

    • I would posit that misspelling the name of a Territorial capital is sloppy; failing to recognize that one of your diplomatic representatives disowned a Canadian citizen unilaterally and without due investigation is slightly more abhorrent.

      • Agreed, sloppy was a poor use of words if this is all true.

        • Sloppy wordsmanship.

          • Bee nise.

          • so sry, k thx bye

  3. He just misspoke. I'm sure what he meant to say was;

    "Harper suggested he came to care about the case only last week, even though her well-publicized plight of being stuck in Kenya had begun 11 weeks earlier."

    • Mispoke you say Lies I say

  4. Slight correction Aaron, the quote from the orginal article goes
    "When we became aware of the case last week,…"
    I would assume that since the w is not capitalized in we, Mr. Harper is referring to the PMO. Our Prime Minister is a liar.

  5. Exactly.. the key part of the Toronto Star article is this statement:

    "The case has become a major embarrassment for the Conservatives amid criticism that the government is slow to assist Canadians in trouble abroad."

  6. Simple. He's lying.

  7. Please note slight changes and footnote explaining those changes.

  8. We need some answers about the Suaad Mohamud fiasco. It's completely unacceptable that any Canadian citizen in need should have to put up with this level of incompetence from Canadian officials abroad. If Harper only found out about this last week, that too is unacceptable.

    • Hmm if Canadians in Canada have to put up with incompetence from Canadian Officials in Canada, why should Canadians abroad get privileged treated from Canadian officials abroad. This would lead to a flury of dual citizenship and Canadians spending most of their adult lives elsewhere. Then where would we be?

      • Blaming the bureaucracy is the terminal phase of any government.

  9. That's why the vastly complicated matter of governing big, complex countries like Canada are supposed to be delegated among ministers of the Crown.
    That Harper has insisted on running a one-man show is bound to come back to haunt him *eventually* (and the rest of us in the meantime).
    Again, get these amateurs outta here!

  10. Given the resent nortern spelin phiasco you may want to check a couple of other varsions.

  11. Is it possible that he simply misspoke, and said "last week" when he meant to say "last month"? People do that all the time. Perhaps Harper should be given an opportunity to clarify his statement, because it seems completely beyond logic that he wouldn't have known about it once Lawrence Cannon was confirmed to be in the loop.

    • That speaks to the incompetent portion of McTeague's quote in the article. If the PM knew about this one month ago then something should have happened sooner. My guess is Mr. Harper is much more comfortable being seen as a liar rather than incompetent.

    • Good point, and entirely reasonable in a country led by a normal government. But for Canada under Harper, opportunities for the media to ask questions of the Prime Minister are so rare that it is unlikely to get the chance.

  12. Things must be pretty bad if Harper is bringing in his "living in a bubble, isolated from the real world" excuse.

    • This is looking like a major screw-up all the way around, now it is out of control, just admit it that wouldn't be the end of the world, move on and do something about it, the media will keep us all posted I'm sure…too late for the grand show they put on to bring Brinda Martin home, if these guys wern't screwing up there would be nothing for the media to report. This event was a terrible ordeal and should have been dealt with long before that is a given.

  13. I wonder what role the civil service played in all this – and what they're communucation was to the political wing of the government. When Suaad Hagi Mohamud got into trouble, did they have their initial contact witht the non-political wing of the government?

    • Wasn't the civil service arm declaring her a non-Canadian imposter? Or am I unclear on the timing of things myself?

  14. "Pass the Buck" governing once again.

    Will Harper take responsibility for anything this government has done?

    The only thing he seems to like to take responsibility for is the banking system he inherited from the Liberals (which he wanted to drastically change), the economy and record low unemployment he inherited from the Liberals (which blew up), the balanced budgets he inherited from the Liberals (which blew up big time even before the recession)… and the stimulus spending he rejected in December and was forced to implement (albeit slowly and without accountability) by the Liberals.

  15. To paraphrase SDA:

    "Is there nothing Harper can't lie about?"

  16. I read the news today (oh boy!)
    About a citizen we left to rot;
    And though the news was rather sad,
    I played it off the cuff:
    The base just loves that stuff.

    She sat there in Nairobi jail;
    Nobody'd told her that we just don't care;
    And though the newspapers should wail,
    I know it seems bizarre,
    I'm just thinking, "What the f*ck, it's only the Toronto Star."

    I scanned the polls today (oh boy!);
    That ethnic vote is rather hard to get;
    What Kenney gains I toss away;
    'Cause that's my old technique,
    Yielding to my pique.
    I love to p*ss you off.

    • Get this man a mic and a recorder. Instant classic guaranteed to go viral if you can get that onto youtube!!

    • Well done Jack, it's been awhile. Not enough pop references on Capital Read maybe?

      I never could sing the high part in that one line, how does it go,? Oh right …

      I'm just thinking, "What the f*ck, it's only the Toronto Star."

    • Perfect, Jack. Thank you!

  17. I wonder how many cases of Canadians stranded abroad get passed through the Department of Foreign Affairs on a day to day basis. It's no excuse at all for what happened, I'm just curious about how frequent stuff like this is, and what's considered a red flag (ie get on the bat phone and get in touch with political officials).

  18. Well, congratulations to Wherry for actually thinking a thought through for a change. What is missing is the fact that the "issue" that properly generates interest from the PMO is not the original story – whose dates Wherry makes note of – but the issue of the mishandling of the matter, by Canadian consular staff, which came much later. A Canadian being arrested in a foreign country is not cause for concern for the PMO, but Canadian authorities mishandling the issue is.

    So while it is encouraging the Wherry is able to provide some original thought to the matter, it is discouraging that it is so full of holes.

  19. Well, congratulations to Wherry for actually thinking a thought through for a change. What is missing is the fact that the "issue" that properly generates interest from the PMO is not the original story – whose dates Wherry makes note of – but the issue of the mishandling of the matter, by Canadian consular staff, which came much later. A Canadian being arrested in a foreign country is not cause for concern for the PMO, but Canadian authorities mishandling the issue is.

    So while it is encouraging that Wherry is able to provide some original thought to the matter, it is discouraging that it is so full of holes.

    • Under these circumstances it most certainly is a cause for concern for the PMO. What we don't know is where along the line someone decided the story was not worth advancing to the next level. We have a quote from a Foreign Affairs official in the Star, and a later quote from Cannon IIRC from an earlier blog posting. This is certainly something that should have been of concern to the PMO before last week.

      • Well the Globe article on Aug 12 presents the first information that I can see, where there is evidence – a DNA result – that shows that the Canadian officials mishandled the case. August 12 was 7 days ago.

      • Well the Globe article on Aug 12 presents the first information that I can see, where there is evidence – a DNA result – that shows that the Canadian officials mishandled the case. August 12 was 7 days ago. Do you see any press reports that identify a known mistake by officials before that?

        • The Toronto Star, one of the country's major newspapers published the first article on July 1. That was when it should have been a concern of the PMO. particulalry when they've been dealing with the fallout of other cases. The mishandling of the case by consulate officials is only part of the story. The fact no one in the PMO – or presumably high level political officials in foreign affairs, took the highlighter out in early July on this one is troubling.

          • So the PMO should start with the assumption that consular staff are mishandling the issue? I would think the reasonable approach is start with the assumption that they are competent, and if proven that they are not, or that there are gaps in the system, fix them.

          • "…So the PMO should start with the assumption that consular staff are mishandling the issue?"

            Isn't that Harper's whole MO when it comes to deconstructing the ol' standard Canadian way? Doesn't like public money involved in nuclear safety business, so manufactures a fake crisis. Doesn't like Canada's immigration system, so Harper doesn't fill jobs and ends up creating a crisis. Harper doesn't like the Liberal's track record of balanced budgets, so he creates a strainer inwhich to bleed red — oh, well that belongs on page 3…

          • You are making the false or at least groundless assumption that they did not.

            Personally, I suspect they have been very aware and thought that this was just another muslim/citizen abroad issue that they hoped would blow over.

        • And yet it was important enough for the Minister of Foreign Affairs himself to comment on much earlier than that… when he basically said she should f**k off.

          And you are trying to say the PMO, the most centralized and controlling PMO since Trudeau, did not know about a cabinet minister speaking on this issue?

          Right.

          • If you are talking about Cannon's statement on July 24, clearly he is working on information provided by consular staff that indicated she was an impostor.

            The High Commission of Canada in Nairobi sent a letter to Kenyan officials on May 28 that stated, "Please be advised that we have carried out conclusive investigations, including an interview, and have confirmed that the person brought to the Canadian High Commission on suspicion of being an impostor is not the rightful holder of the aforementioned Canadian passport."

            That is the information he was working with at the time.

          • If you are talking about Cannon's statement on July 24, clearly he is working on information provided by consular staff that indicated she was an impostor.

            The High Commission of Canada in Nairobi sent a letter to Kenyan officials on May 28 that stated, "Please be advised that we have carried out conclusive investigations, including an interview, and have confirmed that the person brought to the Canadian High Commission on suspicion of being an impostor is not the rightful holder of the aforementioned Canadian passport."

            That is the information he was working with at the time. Consular incompetence did not come to light until Aug 11 or 12, it seems.

          • That would not be all the information he was working with, Ed. He would have had a lot more information and deemed it important enough to comment on publicly as the Minister.

            But the real point is: at that point you have had almost of a month of articles by all of the main media outlets verifying her citizenship and her cries for help, you have a cabinet minister publicly pronouncing on the issue, and the Prime Minister has the gall or the cluelessness – you pick – to claim the first time "the case" was brought to their attention.

            Right.

          • Nothing is' verified' by neighbours. How could the neighbours possibly know whether or not Mohamud had at some time come to be in possession of a false passport or identity? Unfortunately, some people make false claims and you have to be able to deal with those cases too.

          • I'm guessing this comment was posted to the wrong comments thread? 'Cause I have no idea what you are talking about or responding to.

          • Ed, that info doesn't require comment. There is no reason to comment unless there was more to it than that.

  20. mohamud who?

    • Gawd T. Awful – Prime Minister's Office
      Communications Assistant

    • Gawd T. Awful – Prime Minister's Office
      Media Analyst

  21. No. They should be aware of what's going on. Something that wasn't brought to the PM's attention until last week apparently.

  22. Let's be clear about a couple of facts here that Conbots are already trying to torque:

    1. Lawrence Cannon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, commented publicly on this story on Friday, July 24, 2009 which is not "last week" but almost a month ago: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/07/24/cannon-… To say that the Prime Minister or the PMO, the most controlling and centralized PM and PMO since Trudeau, was not aware of this until last week shows utter contempt for Canadians and is a sign of complete desperation to avoid responsibility for anything that might be considered a problem.

    2. Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, said ”When we became aware of the case last week". Not the mishandling by officials.

  23. So, when is a story significant enough that it should become a "case' for the PMO? What should the the triggering events? Is there a difference between a "case" opened in the PMO, and a statement made by a cabinet minister made at a time when the information available is indicates a totally contrary conclusion to that which, in time, comes to light? I think there is a difference. Regardless of how centralized a government may be, should every statement made by a minister regarding how bureaucrats are handling issues within their department, trigger the opening of a new file in the PMO?

    Surely not.

  24. So, when is a story significant enough that it should become a "case' for the PMO? What should the triggering events? Is there a difference between a "case" opened in the PMO, and a statement made by a cabinet minister made at a time when the information available is indicates a totally contrary conclusion to that which, in time, comes to light? I think there is a difference. Regardless of how centralized a government may be, should every statement made by a minister regarding how bureaucrats are handling issues within their department, trigger the opening of a new file in the PMO?

    Surely not.

    • Nice bait and switch.

      Who is talking about "opening a file"? Not even the PM is talking about "opening a file" on this matter.

      The Prime Minister said that he only "became aware" of "the case" last week.

      And, yeah, I do expect the PM and the PMO to become aware of "cases" that have been the news with increasing frequency and bigger and bigger headlines, and that have been commented on by his own cabinet ministers.

      • Exactly. The minute anything hits the newspapers, that's the time to get more information. The information you gather may be the incorrect kind, as per Cannon's response, but then you would say "the full information on this case was slow to come in to us, and we'll be looking at the why of that as well" not "we became aware of the case last week"

    • The triggering event is someone who claims to be Canadian and isn't being given a due process or any way of appealing an arbitrary decision? Day 1, first time it comes up in the news. That's why the government subscribes to news indexes and clipping services.

      How could anyone, let alone a responsible government minister, hear this story (even before the DNA) and not think of his or her own passport photo? Mine didn't even look like me when it was taken, never mind four years later. "How would I prove it's me?" is what I wondered.

      And what's wrong with Lawrence Cannon and Stephen Harper that they can't empathize enough to wonder if maybe yet another Canadian citizen is being victimized overseas? Or maybe they know full well, and are adhering to an offical policy of callousness.

  25. This should have been resolved by Foreign Affairs long before it needed to come to the attention of the PMO.

    I would say that this is Cannon's problem more than Harper's.

    • Pass the Buck Harper would agree with you 100%.

  26. Everybody who is busy beating up on alleged Con-Bot Ed Sweeney for having the gall to think through things and give a little reasonable "benefit of the doubt" towards the political arm of the government really ought to see his many other reasonable comments here at Blog Central. He ain't no conbot.

    Let me see if I have this straight. A PMO that is routinely criticized for being over-controlling is now being criticized for not being as "in control" of a single ministry's public service minions as its much criticized reputation would have us now desire?

    Absolutely one or more balls were dropped and a Canadian citizen has suffered harm. Investigations are required to prevent this snafu from reoccurring. But go ahead and put this all on Harper if that's the best you can come up with. Says more about you than him…

    • thanks for pointing that out.

    • I know, it is so difficult to understand, isn't it? Some Canadians actually think a Prime Minister should be capable of something inbetween complete control freak who muzzles MPs and absolutely unaware of a serious government problem which is in the newspapers for weeks and, furthermore, that when something happens under his watch he should have some response besides lying and pointing fingers elsewhere. Just amazing what some people expect from a Prime Minister.

      • I think that any government should start with the assumption that their consular staff are competent. If that staff advise that they have completed an investigation with the conclusion that a person is an impostor, they should take that as the best information available. It seems that the consular staff was at least competent enough to call for a DNA test, eventually. The fitting reaction by the government should be to gather all the information on why such a bad mistake was made, and take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's what I would expect from a PM.

        • Actually the government was against DNA testing until the lawyers for Suaad Mohamud Haji were about to go to court to force the DNA test.

        • Also, there appears to have been a number of recent cases of reluctance to support Canadians abroad. The senior staff in Kenya have served in similar roles for many years. This, together with the recent stories in Embassy and elsewhere about top-down instructions from the government which the diplomatic staff see as unnecessarily or wrongly shifting their roles, one has to wonder if these recent cases are a result of new government interference which did not exist in previous years.

          In other words, there could be more going on behind the scenes of how the government is steering embassy and foreign service staff. After Paul Wells wrote an article about science funding, I was surprised to discover that Canada's key scientific funding agencies were no longer headed by scientists, but, for example, had a former broadcaster/MP heading the science council. If our government has involved itself in science funding in this way, it may have involved itself in various diplomatic functions as well. If so, this could explain the problematic cases which have arisen, despite having the same highly experienced, qualified staff in place.

          • If, if, if. That is a heck of a lot of speculation. If there were reports of the government interfering with routine operations of consular staff, I would be alarmed. It seems unlikely, and there is nothing in the press reports to suggest that, that I have seen.

          • But you're burying your head in the sand, considering the Harper track record of 'fire first, ask questions later' when it comes to Canadians of non-european ethnicity and their troubles afar. Go back and study Harper's stand on Arar back in the day and you may see a trend here that should cause you a little bit of concern. Oh but Sweeney sounds pretty fair, though… So feel free to grow that fat lip anytime then.

  27. No one is saying Harper screwed up the file.

    We are saying two distinct things:

    1. His government did and he is again passing the buck.

    2. He is saying he only became aware of this last week and we are discussing whether that is a sign of incompetence or if that is a complete lie.

  28. What I find odd is that people think we get personalized service from the PMO. One woman in Kenya gets mistreated by bureaucrats, what's new there?, and there are loads of people whinging about the Prime Minister and what's he doing about it. It is absurd.

    I am now in the fourth month of sending papers back and forth with Fed bureaucrats, and I was hopeful it would be settled within a month but I was obviously dreaming, so should I expect the PMO to intervene any time now? I, too, would like some of this personal service other Canadians are getting from PMO. Who do I call in msm to take up my case?

  29. What I find odd is that people think we get personalized service from the PMO. One woman in Kenya gets mistreated by bureaucrats, what's new there?, and there are loads of people whinging about the Prime Minister and what's he doing about it. It is absurd.

    I am now in the fourth month of sending papers back and forth with Fed bureaucrats, and I was hopeful it would be settled within a month but I was obviously dreaming, so should I expect the PMO to intervene any time now? I, too, would like some of this personal service other Canadians are getting from PMO.

    • Your story isn't in the Toronto Star.

      • On page A 4, and coming after a litany of accusations of similar acts of callousness by Canadian officials overseas. That rates at least a "Now what" question fromthe PMO.

  30. Coming on the heels of the fellow who was trapped in our Embassy in Khartoum — also denied travel documents by his own government — and the Mexico visa fracas, all of which have garnered LOTS of coverage, how could the PMO have been unaware of the Suaad Mohamud Haji case?

    Journalists and lawyers were seeking comment from Foreign Affairs and Citizenship and Immigration (and their press-shy ministers) — and presumably the PMO — for several weeks. Given all of this, one would think the Suaad Mohamud Haji case (or any other Canadian passport/visa or 'trapped overseas" story) would be on some kind of "Hot Button Issue" brief for the PM.

    In suggesting he learned of this only last week, he's either incompetent (not likely), appointed incompetent ministers and PMO staff (more likely), or he's lying (no comment).

    I'm not comfortable with any of the above scenarios.

  31. I would guess every regular reader of this blog knows that Ed is no conbot. Indeed, I would not believe that this is an issue that Harper should have to involve himself in. However, first issue is whether the PMO aware of the situation before last week, not Harper, but the PMO. Treatment of Canadians abroad has been a major issue for this hyper political government. Harper lied. That doesn't mean that I believe he should of handled the file personally. It does mean that he has a deficiency in his character that does not allow him to be honest in difficult situations.

    The second issue which Ed raises is that there really was no issue until the DNA test was confirmed. Canadians do not have to submit to DNA tests to prove their identity. Ed's accertions are in turn both scary and idiotic. How could the family and neighbours really know who she was? (Where do you think they got the DNA for the match) Any true libertarians should be appalled at this intrustion of the government into the personal biology of one of its citizens.

    • You seem to have leapt to the conclusion that I suggested Canadians should have to submit DNA tests to prove their identity. I pointed out that the consular incompetence did not become known until after that test. It is the knowledge of that gross mistake that should trigger a response in the PMO. There are probably hundreds of cases currently open with foreign affairs in which the person's lawyer and family are of a different opinion than the consular staff. Each of these cases should not trigger a PMO response, and I think it is perfectly reasonable for a Foreign Affairs minister to trust the information they are getting from staff, until the staff are proven incompetent. The big question is how the consul staff ever reached the conclusion that Mohamud was an impostor. Surely part of their investigation should be to check with family in Canada. It is impossible to know all the information that the consul staff had, and why they made those choices, without asking for it. It seems that is what the PMO did immediately upon learning of the mistake. If the PMO had been contacted directly by her lawyer or family and the PMO ignored it, that would be equally disconcerting. I believe by the time the lawyer and family got involved it was probably after the 8 day incarceration and the lawyer was likely handling matters in a routine way, through the Foreign Affairs office, I suspect.

      And for the record, I wouldn't call myself a true libertarian, either. Peace, order, good government- if you want it in a nutshell- is more my leaning.

      • Did anybody call you a conbot? I didn't see it, and I hate when we call people with differing opinions (rather than simple talking points) that, or other names. It should be reserved for the actual conbots!

        I agree with you that the consular staff should have been assumed to be competent. My point is that you would get information from them (simply because of the "stranded Canadian" theme) so that you have an answer when some uppity newspaper like the Star asks about it.

        The point is that PMO is incompetent if they didn't even ask for more information on a story in the newspapers–not because they didn't investigate every Canadian overseas with problems.

        If the PMO had been contacted directly by her lawyer or family (without the newspapers being involved) I would EXPECT the PMO to ignore it. As you say, the PMO can't investigate every Canadian overseas with problems, we have consular staff for that.

        • I think the Old Liberal called me a conbot, highly partisan folk assume everyone else is too. It doesn't really bother me.

          Should the PMO be able to respond to every Star article? I don't know. Certainly only if they can get a full explanation of all those articles, and in a timely manner. By the time this became a media story, Mohamud was no longer in jail, so it wouldn't have been an emergent issue. It seemed like the diplomatic cogs where turning, and you would expect that 'the truth would out'. On the whole, I would probably agree with you that the PMO should have known more, but that doesn't make them incompetent, and I don't like the idea of that office becoming preoccupied with media reports that run contrary to what their insider information gives them.

          The press is often irresponsible and is motivated to create controversy, which sells. So relations between the PMO and press will always be messy. I do expect the PMO to be responsible to citizens, If that means the PMO directs complaints to the MP first – to follow up with the proper ministry, in non-emergent cases, then that is fine, but they should absolutely provide a response, to citizens. That is responsible government.

          • "Should the PMO be able to respond to every Star article?" Perhaps not, but that is no reason not to at least ASK for information on it. Thereby refuting the assertion that Harper gave about only hearing about the case last week. If they didn't ask, in my opinion, that was incompetent. I don't like the idea of that office becoming preoccupied with media reports that run contrary to what their insider information gives them either, but they need to have the insider information in order for this to be a thing. And I don't expect Foreign Affairs would give them an urgent report of every little thing they do–at least, I hope not.

            I'm not sure what your slag on the media signifies, not that I disagree with it, but there are more citizens than newspapers. Yes, I think it would be responsible of PMO to direct these theoretical citizen complaints to the proper channels, but theoretically they could be getting millions per day and it wouldn't be feasible. If they are only getting a half dozen or so, then I totally agree a response is called for.

          • If you had substituted Foreign Affairs minister in place of PMO in your first sentence, I would agree with that train of thought.

            On the second point, I think if you ask any MP, you would hear that they deal with hundreds of complaints/inquiries every year, and by and large, regardless of party or partisanship, do a good job in getting answers and/or action. I think that is representative government at its best.

          • Oh yes, MPs do, by and large, a great service for their constituents. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion at hand, though. On the first point, even if PMO asked the Foreign Minister, it would be asking, and that is all I required of them at that moment. But it is ridiculous to think that PMO wouldn't/shouldn't follow stories that have bitten them, not once or twice but (well, I've lost count now–more than twice). In the same way that I would expect a story on troubles with a nuclear reactor to grab their attention, or with a news report on a Russian submarine off Baffin Island, or something. I do NOT EXPECT PMO to deal with the problem–I only expect them to make sure the proper channel is, and to make sure they are kept informed of the situation and/or actions taken.

      • Ed;

        Of course you have no cred as a libertarian… but joylon comes close. I was referring to him and Madyoulooky rushing to your defence. (Madyoulooky seems more of an anarchist).

        I would say that even once the gross misconduct was known there was no reason for the PMO to be explicitly involved. The Minister should have been able to handle it from the onset through to resolution unless Kenyan officials refused to cooperate. (Indeed all evidence is that Kenyan officials were very cooperative of Canadian requests.)

        That said, to think that the PMO (and the PM) were not aware of this incident once it hit the news is beyond naive. This government has been hammered in the press wrt Canadians abroad for quite a while. Perhaps they were not officially notified but they were certainly aware.

        You accused Aaron of not thinking this through, so think through your premise. Once this hit the news, it became more than just a single case, the original Star article in effect called the integrity of the Foreign Affairs Office into question. Moreover it seems people in Ottawa need to be consulted before a passport is canceled. This was not some crappy piece of forged ID, instead it was part of a pretty complete set of authentic Canadian papers, being carried by someone quite knowledgeable about Canada. In the post 9-11 world, that would raise a lot of suspicions and now it seems that the Ministry of Public Safety was involved as it should when a suspected terrorist is thwarted.

        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/fail

        Two ministries involved, extensive coverage in the largest newspaper in Canada, linkages to other hot-buttons Harper has taken flack over and …

        Well he just didn't hear about it. Really?

        • If you read Harper's comment as, 'this was the first time we ever heard about it', instead of 'this was the first time we heard about a government mistake', then I agree, it would be naive to believe that statement. But the first interpretation seems to me to be the mistaken one, because the second interpretation points to when they should become aware of it, in anything more than a trifling way, in a way that requires PMO intervention. If someone says something that seems sensible on the face of it, I take that interpretation over one that requires that I start with the assumption that a person is lying. A report in the Star that runs contrary to what your officials tell you, is not something I would be very concerned with, especially foreign affairs. They are always sensitive and complex matters that the press likes to sensationalize and simplify, and the governments hands are often tied by concerns for privacy and diplomacy.

          • And while you are prepared to interpret the words of our Prime Minister as "what he meant to say was" the rest of us are using the plain meaning of what the man actually said. With a 'normal' person, he/she could just say a quick "I misspoke and what I meant to say was" but with this particular PM, that never happens. With no such examples to create a precedent, we are left with no other alternative than to assume he meant what he said the way he said it.

            Again, the argument isn't whether PMO should believe the Star reporter over its own officials in the Foreign Affairs department, the argument is, did they ask their own officials in the Foreign Affairs department?

          • I think anyone making an unbiased interpretation, knowing the that the PMO acted when it should, that it was – a week ago – they learned of the mistake, that it was – a week ago – that they did something about it, would have an hard time interpreting Harper's use of 'issue' as meaning anything other that the issue of consular mistake that they became aware of – a week ago. Any other interpretation is pedantic. If Wherry's question is anything but pedantic, it should have been raised a week ago, when the PMO came out with strong language about finding out about the mistake.

          • I think anyone making an unbiased interpretation, knowing the that the PMO acted when it should, that it was – a week ago – they learned of the mistake, that it was – a week ago – that they did something about it, would have an hard time interpreting Harper's use of 'issue' as meaning anything other than the issue of consular mistake that they became aware of – a week ago. Any other interpretation is pedantic. If Wherry's question is anything but pedantic, it should have been raised a week ago, when the PMO came out with strong language about finding out about the mistake.

          • I think anyone making an unbiased interpretation, knowing the that the PMO acted when it should, that it was – a week ago – they learned of the mistake, that it was – a week ago – that they did something about it, would have an hard time interpreting Harper's "case" as meaning anything other than the issue of consular mistake that they became aware of – a week ago. Any other interpretation is pedantic. If Wherry's question is anything but pedantic, it should have been raised a week ago, when the PMO came out with strong language about finding out about the mistake.

            The issue that properly generates interest from the PMO is not the original story – whose dates Wherry makes note of – but the issue of the mishandling of the matter, by Canadian consular staff.

          • So we're to take your assumption — Harper meant this but said that — over any other? Do you even read the papers? May i ask what qualifies as good governance in your books?

          • Well, I can tell you that it doesn't include the PMO pouring over every article in the Star, that is politics, not governance. As for what constitutes good governance, I think I have already provided my opinion on that, if you care to read the now-too-many posts I've already made in the thread.

        • (Madyoulooky (sic) seems more of an anarchist).

          Yeah, expecting various levels of government to restrict their meddling screw-ups to those files the Constitution tells it are its own is the hallmark of every-man-for-himself. Either you don't read me much, or you don't read me well, Stu, before you jump to bizarre conclusions. Shame. I usually like to read what you have to say.

  32. Harper passing the buck, again – plain and simple. He has people scanning the newspapers daily (looking for dirt on Libs mainly) – so to think he didn't know is a real stretch.

  33. Once the lawsuits are filed he won't be able to comment for that reason. The parliamentary investigation into the incident would likely be 'arranged' to start in spring 2010, but a concurrent court case may complicate that. No facts to base this on, only a prediction pulled from my iqualuit.

    Update..

    I wonder if Liliane Khadour was asked to pay any bribes to Kenyan border officials? Purely co-incidental her returning now.
    " Liliane Khadour has "concluded" her posting, a consular official at the Canadian High Commission said yesterday from the capital, Nairobi.
    "Her tour of duty is over," he said, explaining that Foreign Affairs employees rotate posts every two or three years, and Khadour had been in Nairobi for two." "

  34. But apparently they don't read the current version of the Toronto Star. Their job is just to scan through the ol' Ignatieff files until all implied idiocy can be twisted into a campaigning 10-percenter.
    Stranded citizens be damned.