‘I’m not getting into the personality, the professionalism’


Peter MacKay maintains he never saw Richard Colvin’s reports, only that he received briefings to which there were attachments of which Mr. Colvin was a contributor. A month ago, for the record, Mr. MacKay said he did not heard the name “Richard Colvin” until the diplomat became involved in the Military Police Complaints Commission hearings.


‘I’m not getting into the personality, the professionalism’

  1. If I were to have to testify to the thousands of friggin email and attachments that flow throughy my inbox – I would be doomed! Just because someone emails you a message with a bunch of attachments doesn't mean my secretary gave the darn thing to me –

    • I would suggest however, that if I were the Minister of Defense (god help us all) and I were handling such a hot button issue with hyperbolic statements, that perhaps I'd get said secretary to do an oll' CTRL+F in the Inbox before I made my public statements on the matter.

    • If the Minister gets reports, he reads them.

      More to the point, if today he can remember that he saw a summary of Colvin's report, then he saw it, he had it, he had a responsibility to read it. That is why we make Ministerial approvals mandatory – the buck is supposed to stop with our elected officials, not be passed around.

      • I've been wondering about that. The number of times we see the explanation that "I didn't read it" although it appears that it got to the person's inbox, as somehow exonerating the person, instead of highlighting a dereliction of duty! I don't understand it.

  2. So it's the secretary's fault? That sounds like something Stephen Harper could run with.

    • my secretary files according to pre-arranged series of priorities and sometimes yes stuff goes awry – the only forensic audit on communications that is relevant is with an acknowledgement from me that states that I have received it and will follow up or file accordingly – so you see I have no doubt that many people would be in deep doo doo just becuase someone has a sent item – just becuase an email was sent does not mean an email was read DUH! –

      • Many flaws in your argument (I won't call it "your logic").

        It is the MInister's very job to receive, review and approve these reports. The "pre-arranged series of priorities" is set in our CONSTITUTION.

        He has admitted he read the summary report which included a summary of Colvin's report.

        The report he is referring to is not routine yes stuff but summary of status reports relatign TO A WAR WE ARE FIGHTING.

        Not only that, but McKay has Deputy Ministers and political staff who are ALSO reading everything that hits his desk/inbox.

        Finally, and it really should not have to be said, but the issue of Canadian involvement in torture at the direction of the government would, I would expect, grab anyone's attention. Whether they dismissed it as unsubstantiated or not, is a judgement call, but whether they should, would have or did actually look into it should be well beyond question.

      • But when someone asks later in an important context, say on the national news or in the House of Commons, don't you think you would check back with your faithful retainer before you make adamant statements that contradict someone else? You don't think you would press the speaker phone and ask, "Hey where do I know this Colvin guy from? Did he ever send me an email?"

        I think you'd have no credibility if you didn't and then it was shown later that "stuff (went) awry." Not your secretary's fault, by the way. I think you might have to resign your important public position.

  3. That's why government ministers are usually expected to be competence. Obviously these guys aren't up to the task.

  4. I'm only talking about this particular hair of this dog. I'm not interested in that hair of this dog. I'm not even talking about the dog."

  5. What happened to the "See For Yourself" post, containing the Colvin reports obtained from Amnesty international?

    Did Maclean's lawyers intervene?

    How are we to "See it for ourselves", now?

    Oh, by going to Kady's blog: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2009/11

  6. How about the fact that Peter McKay says that Richard Colvin could have pulle him aside in Afghanistan when he visited there to tell him all about it? Was McKay saying a month ago that he had never heard of Colvin and also can't remember ever having met him? Richard Colvin was a significant and prominent guy on the ground there and McKay can't remember ever hearing the name? That' reassuring!

    • This one bugs me, too. If I am a cog in the wheel, even if I'm a vital cog, and the manager of the machinery comes to visit, to make his presence known, to boost morale and energize, is it really likely that I won't be replaced if, when it is my turn for him to shake my hand, I start off complaining about working conditions, suggestions that weren't responded to, etc? I suggest I would be listened to politely, then when he has passed by and returned to his office, I would get reamed out the entire time I was clearing out my personal stuff on the way out the door.

  7. Because Peter Mackay should immediately recognize the name of every person who's ever contributed to any note in every briefing he's ever had!

    • Uh, who is saying he has to recognize the name of every person who's ever contributed to any note in every briefing he's ever had?

      A month ago, McKay affirmatively denied unequivocably ever having heard of Colvin's name.

      Now, McKay casually refers to the fact he did see his name.

      Either McKay is incompetent or lying.

      But it seems his memory of knowing Colvin or not seems awfully conveniently aligned with the ever changing talking points being issued from the PMO.

      • You just said that. MacKay is either a liar or incompetent because he didn't recognize the name "Richard Colvin" and immediately say "ah, he wrote a note on a briefing I got once".

        • Hard of reading Bob?

          I'm just going by what McKay is saying.

          Listen to him at one point and he says he's never heard of Colvin and didn't know about any reports alluding to or reporting on torture. No equivocation on that, no "I don't recall", but he never heard of Colvin.

          Then, when the talking points change, suddenly McKay does remember him and has enough of a memory to remember that it was a summary of his report, a report which was attached, he received it in an email and it was just one piece of commentary among many others.

          So either he has a very selective memory problem or he is lying.

    • No, but we expect him to check first before he stands up in the House of Commons or talks to media and tells us he never received anything from Colvin. Is that too much to ask?

      It seems like it must be, because both him and Gordon Connor gave numerous asurances that everything was fine with prsioner transfers and now it looks they either just go by an excessively faulty memory (who wouldn't remember warnings about torture?) or just make up whatever makes them look like they are doing their job.

      I suspect the latter, but either way, how seriously can you take anything he says after this?

  8. Plan A: Throw Richard Colvin under the bus.
    Plan B: Throw one or more of Peter McKay's staffers under the bus.
    Plan C: Throw Peter McKay under the bus.

Sign in to comment.