Rights and Democracy rips itself apart - Macleans.ca

Rights and Democracy rips itself apart

All 47 employees at Rights and Democracy are calling on Braun, Tepper and Gauthier to resign


Last May 29, five board members of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, a Montreal-based organization usually known as Rights and Democracy, wrote to the Privy Council Office in Ottawa. Formed by an act of Parliament in 1988, Rights and Democracy receives $11 million a year from the federal government, which appoints its 10 Canadian board members (who then elect three international members). Rights and Democracy led the world, and far outpaced Canada’s government, last year in criticizing Afghanistan’s odious Shia family law, which would permit husbands to force their wives to have sex.

The May letter came from five of the seven board members who attended the March 26 board meeting. Its purpose was to complain about the other two: Aurel Braun, a University of Toronto political scientist who had been named board chairman only two weeks before the meeting, and Jacques Gauthier, the vice-chair.

At the meeting the board went in camera to discuss the performance of its president, Rémy Beauregard. That discussion ended with an endorsement of Beauregard. But Braun instructed the secretary not to record that result. Soon after, Braun, Gauthier and a third board member, Elliot Tepper, sent a confidential evaluation of Beauregard to the Privy Council Office. Beauregard was not permitted to see it.

Faced with this “manifest lack of transparency and violation of procedure,” the five board members asked the government to force Braun to show Beauregard the report. That didn’t happen.

In October, the five board members wrote a second letter, to Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. The board had been scheduled to meet days earlier, they wrote. But Braun, “in consultation with only four of 11 members of the board (there were then two vacancies), decided to cancel the meeting.” The five board members said the board was now “dysfunctional.” Given this “crisis,” they asked Cannon to replace Braun with a new chairman.

By January, the Harper government had filled the two board vacancies. One new appointee was David Matas, the legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada. The other was Michael Van Pelt, who heads a Christian think tank called Cardus. At the Cardus founding conference last autumn, Van Pelt said, “Canada’s new debate and that of the world will be one of faith and belief. It will be one of a religious character.”

Thus reinforced, Braun and his faction squared off against the rest of the board at an unbelievably tense board meeting in the first week of January. Two still newer board members joined: Brad Farquhar, who used to work for the Saskatchewan Party and who ran against Ralph Goodale for the federal Conservatives in 2006; and Marco Navarro-Génie, a political scientist from St. Mary’s University College in Calgary. His thesis adviser at the University of Calgary was former Harper strategist Tom Flanagan.

Navarro-Génie was able to take his place on the board after a one-vote majority decided against extending the term of Guido Riveros Franck, a former Bolivian member of Parliament. Riveros Franck was one of the five who wrote to Ottawa protesting against Braun’s management. Two more quit immediately in disgust. Payam Akhavan is a tireless advocate for Iranian democracy who teaches at McGill University. Sima Samar is an Afghan human-rights advocate. In 2003 she left the Karzai government after receiving death threats for her criticism of sharia law.

Later that night Rémy Beauregard died in his bed of a heart attack. When Aurel Braun signed his name to a notice of condolence on the organization’s website, Beauregard’s widow, Suzanne Trépanier, wrote him a furious letter. “You don’t treat a person like you did with Rémy and then praise his qualities after he is dead. This is, to me, hypocrisy.”

Now all of Rights and Democracy’s 47 employees have written to Braun, decrying his “systemic personal attacks” against Beauregard and calling on Braun, Tepper and Gauthier to resign. Braun told a newspaper reporter he isn’t sure of the note’s authenticity. He did not return a phone call from Maclean’s.

When I visited Montreal last week, the people at Rights and Democracy were flummoxed by this ferocious factional dispute. Every single member of the board—the Braun faction and its opponents—was appointed by the Harper government, they said. So was Beauregard. What could this be about?

But in Conservative Ottawa, not all conservatives are viewed equally. Beauregard was a Franco-Ontarian who was a university pal of Paul Terrien, Cannon’s chief of staff. Terrien used to write speeches for Brian Mulroney. Braun and his six board allies are made of sterner stuff.

If anyone is a keen student of shades of conservatism, and of the use of institutions to make change without accountability, it is Stephen Harper. In 2003 he was furious that Ontario judge Roy McMurtry had permitted same-sex marriage. This was a Liberal plot. “They wanted to introduce this same-sex marriage through back channels,” Harper said then. “They had the courts do it for them, put the judges in they wanted, then they failed to appeal, failed to fight the case in court.”

But Roy McMurtry was a lifelong Progressive Conservative, appointed by Mulroney. “Well, he’s a former Tory,” Harper said. “But whether he’s conservative or not is a matter of terminology.”

By one definition, then, the fight at Rights and Democracy is a dispute over terminology. At the beginning of 2009, Rémy Beauregard was asked how he envisaged the year ahead. “With serenity,” he said. His funeral will be held in Ottawa on Jan. 23.

Filed under:

Rights and Democracy rips itself apart

  1. Great report. It is clear that Harper has been and will continue to be busy making profound changes using the appointment and budgetary processes. His goal is to clearly reshape society to reflect the views of the 30 per cent who share his values. The rest of us are the enemy.

    I fear this process will continue until the 7 in 10 Canadian who do not share Harper's values stop splitting our votes between 4 different parties who are still more interested in their own partisanship than in allowing the majority of Canadians to elect a government that truly represents them.

    • My opinion — a lot fewer than 30% share his values. Might I suggest that many Canadians who voted Conservative doubtless foolishly believed his prevarications, or were simply angry at the Liberals.

      • Or option C. Less than 30% share Harper's values, but they hate the people and the values of the Liberals and the NDP more.

    • This story is an example of Harper's "hidden agenda". Very few Canadians even know about these stories. They go by largely unnoticed and people do not get a true picture of what Harper is really up to. Stacking boards with people whose specific purpose is to undermine and destroy the organization. I wish to hell someone in the media would do what would no doubt be a difficult thing, but track all these worthwhile organizations and do a big picture story. Someone who is unaware of what is going on would look at this and reasonably think it's a bit of internal swordsmanship and turmoil, not an incremental and deliberate plan to undermine very important institutions that are the foundation of important Canadian values that at least 70% of the electorate hold dear. MacLean's??? How about connecting the dots so Canadian can see the bigger picture.

      • hidden agenda? garbage–this is a public organization with public records–this debate demonstrating that–the hidden agenda garbage just wont stick–s0 all those people that didn't vote for Harper are a big homogeneous group with the same ideals? Very obtuse thinking!

      • So the Liberals reshaped things when they were in power and the Conservatives can't?

  2. Well, now I'm confused. I thought Harper was a red Tory, not that he hated them. After all, he is running a deficit (perhaps a structural one) and ignoring social conservatives.

    I agree with your premise that Harper desires to affect incremental change similar to Mackenzie King. I'm just not sure I agree that this is an ideological struggle rather than a personal one.

    • Pragmatism doesn't have a partisan affiliation. It's just the blunt tool of the policy poor.

  3. "All 47 employees at Rights and Democracy are calling on Braun, Tepper and Gauthier to resign"

    Braun claims that some of the employees didn't sign the letter calling for his resignation. He claims that some have contacted him personally to say that they knew nothing of the letter.

    So he's lying. Not that I am surprised, really…

    • Right now, I actually can't know whether Braun is telling the truth on this point. On the face of it, I find his claim that some people have signed a letter while harboring doubts about its content or feeling coerced is plausible. After all, that's what the current Liberal leader did with a letter to the Governor General about the most important question of internal organization a Parliament can face.

      • Ok but… Braun states in his OpEd that he was contacted by "concerned staff members who have never seen or signed such a letter."


        Either ALL of the staff members signed the letter or they didn't. Did someone falsify signatures on the letter or is Braun lying? I haven't seen the letter so I have no idea.

  4. Over at the Winnipeg Free Press

    "Akhavan said raising the anti-Israel card is part of a "concerted campaign" by the board to polarize public opinion about the agency."

  5. This is good journalism. Thank you.

    • agree with Mulletaur. Paul this is very well done on a very important piece. I will buy the magazine today.

    • I agree that it's good journalism, but I'm suspicious of the fact that you only think that something is "good journalism" when it supports your partisan preconceptions. Otherwise, you think it's media bias. The same goes for other commenters here.

  6. Thank you very much for this and similar efforts Paul. You are doing an amazing journalistic service.

    Not just because it highlights Harper in a negative way, but because there is so much spin and non-transparency and, frankly, so much information, and the bigger picture of what this government is doing, its legacy – whether you like it or not – is difficult to grasp. And this information is nowhere.

    At first, I was concerned about civil servants speaking out against their government's appointments. I may not like this government, but I wouldn't challenge Harper's right to fulfil his mandate.

    But as the details of what he is doing, how he is doing it, and how he is avoiding accountability are in many ways frightening.

    It is very very much a part of what the democracy demonstrations are about this weekend. Much more than prorogation.

    • These are not civil servants – they are employees of NGO which receives all of its money from the government. There is a board of directors who are accountable for the work of the organization but apparently have been sidestepped by the staff. If I was on a board of an organization where staff worked in the way that these staff did – they would all be unemployed! The board is the ultimate authority for an NGO and the board is accountability, in this case to the government of the day. In this case the board is also appointed by the government, because THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDES ALL THE MONEY FOR THE NGO.!!!! Staff need to accept that and if they can't then they should move onto another organization.

      The supposed advantage of having an NGO is because NGOs can work in a more flexible manner than government departments, but that does not translate into NGO staff not keeping board members informed of what they are doing. NGO staff are not accountable for the money received and spent, the board of directors is.

      • I think a number of posters have observed that perhaps this whole brouhaha has demonstrated that NGOs that aren't really NGOs might not be such a great idea. Let NGOs really be NGOs.

  7. Good aticle PW…you provided some of the details that Ezra somehow couldn't find the time to address.

    'At the meeting the board went in camera to discuss the performance of its president, Rémy Beauregard. That discussion ended with an endorsement of Beauregard. But Braun instructed the secretary not to record that result. Soon after, Braun, Gauthier and a third board member, Elliot Tepper, sent a confidential evaluation of Beauregard to the Privy Council Office. Beauregard was not permitted to see it."

    I wouldn't know…is this how board meetings are reguarly conducted? If it is, i'm glad i've stayed a blue collar guy – so far. But then i doubt union board meetings are pretty either. There are times when i really don't like people full stop. Love my dogs though…ah and the wife and kid too course.

    • This is how meetings of boards that have become dysfunctional and ugly are conducted.

      • I've only been a part of semi formal sports organization boards. They get a little heated too, so i can see what you mean. My 'board' meetings have most often ended up with a visit to the local watering hole…which IMHO is where they all should end. I hope you advise your clients similarly:)

        • Going in camera to discuss the performance of the president is regular business.

          Ordering the secretary not to record the result, and then sending a (probably different) confidential evaluation which the evaluatee is not allowed to see is most definitely *not* normal business.

          Paul, have you submitted a FOIPP request to Cannon for the confidential evaluation?

  8. I had Braun as a Prof twice in my time at U of T. He is an extremely intelligent man but VERY right wing (usually a contradiction in terms in my opinion). A very hard line devotee to the realist school of IR…not at all the type of person who I would ever imagine being appointed to lead a human rights group. Unfortunately none of this is surprising in Harper's Canada.

  9. Is the knock against the new/TrueBlue board members that they're (1) TrueBlue or (2) incompetent, narrow-minded and/or mean? Or is the knock that (3) a TrueBlue is necessarily incompetent, narrow-minded and/or mean?

    The timeline is useful, and the controversy certainly interesting. But the unanswered question – as I think you recognize, Paul – is whether the changes these TrueBlues seek to effect are worthwhile but controversial (because 'conservative'), or whether the proposed changes are in fact, in some objective sense, bad.

    In short: what's the beef with these guys? Are the staff calling for their dismissal because they're meanies, or because they're True Blue Tories? Or do they, and the other board members, draw a distinction?

  10. I know PW has said elsewhere that politics is often about two opposing legitimacies going head to head [ or words close to that effect] But perhaps the staffers feel that legitimacy of process is important too?And perhaps a little respect for other actors.

    • The lens that I view Canadian politics through is a frustration with the failure of liberals or social democrats to recognize conservative policies as legitimate points of view. Not necessarily better, but legitimate. Being an Alberta educated in the East, in my mind this often morphs into a perception of my/Albertan policies are less Canadian than other policies. For example, the sponsorship scandal and the "Guns in our Cities" ads respectively conflated

      My hunch as to what is going on with Rights and Democracy is that attempts to rein in an organization resulted in blowback that smacked of "your beliefs are illegitimate" and the new members subsequently went for the jugular on the premise that because the gloves were so clearly off that the integrity of the correction process could be compromised, so long as there was correction.

  11. I think David's question is fair and kcm's is close to the answer I'd give.
    Note that my column deals only with process. Process matters. Substance matters too, and that's why I may well be pursuing this topic for a while.

    • More to the point – why does this organization exist?, is it accomplishing its mandate (what specific results and outcomes from all the money provided to this organization)? There are far too many NGOs that I suspect of wandered 'off mission' but are hard to roll back funding on. And why are they hard to roll back? Because the media gets into the mix with their own agenda and suddenly the NGO staff are poor victims of a heartless government, when maybe the staff have being playing loose and free with other people's money and current/previous boards have not fulfilled their duties as boards. Maybe you could also explore the role of board accountability in NGOs?

      • So alleged lack of accountability justifies possible vindictive and underhand behaviour does it?

    • I hope you do, to whatever end. This is in a nutshell my problem with this particular govt – not its conservativeness. But rather its lack of respect for process and institutions and even individualism. I'm sure we could do with losing some outmoded liberal dogma. And i can tolerate a certain amount of no nonsense hardball [ i was a Trudeau admirer after all] but this constant vindictiveness and labelling of any or all dissent is just too goddamn much.

    • I'm glad you're thinking of sticking with this story. Nice work so far…

    • The problem at this point is, we have no testimony as to the process or the selection criteria previous to this episode. Good or bad we're getting one side of the story here. No slag to Paul but how acrimonious was this board before? How many political appointees were chosen to (and for what views) affect a certain agenda or point of view on this board.

      Furthermore, why are the actions of R&D subject to scrutiny now? Because someone has sought to effect change to the balance. This is the problem, why is it necessary to mention the christian think tank nominee or the former conservative candidate ( not that I'm any fan of the religion) and not the philisophical bent of the prior existing board? Is that irrelavant? The issue is that someone tried to change the system by the systems SOP and now the establishment is pissed. Well to bad live by it, die by it.

  12. The Canada that the world once loved is slowly vanishing and will continue its decline the longer Harper stays in power. I want the "previous" Canada that the world once praised BACK. Hope it will be soon.

    • You mean the one that imposed the War Measures act in Quebec? The one that ripped off Alberta? The one that pushed Quebec to the brink of separation? The one that denuded our military to the point where the term "like the Canadians" was used as an insult in military circles? (meaning hopelessly underfunded) The one where the prime-minister secretly orders bags of tax-payers cash to be handed over to ad execs? etc. etc etc.

      Quit it with the whole fallacy that there was this utopian liberal past and the neo-cons are messing it up. There are things the conservatives are doing well and there are things that need correction. Democracy is never clean-cut at the best of times

      • Get real Sam…people here know exactly what I mean and you pretend not to know…but nice try though. Even with all its flaws and weaknesses, the Canada that has been shaped by mostly a Liberal population has proven itself worthy in our world. I do not want Harper, et al. to turn it into another American state. You most likely do.

  13. That's certainly an interesting — and important — point that you make, PW, that all of the board members involved were Harper govt appointees. I think a lot of people that have been commenting on this issue have had no clue about that. To me, that makes the plot all the more interesting. But as somebody who advises boards for a living, this stuff doesn't surprise me all that much. Every board of directors is essentially a random collection of human beings. It comes down to basic human chemistry. Some work wonderfully, some are incredibly dysfunctional. When the latter is the case, it's a bloody nightmare.

  14. I do not like this constant emphasis on religion:

    'Van Pelt said, “Canada's new debate and that of the world will be one of faith and belief. It will be one of a religious character.”'

    No, it won't.

    • Classic rhetorical trap. You just got dragged into the argument you denied would occur.

    • I have to wonder if Harper's government is deliberately pushing extremist Christian Zionism beliefs, when they cut CIDA funding to mainstream churches and UNWRA, call everyone an anti-Semite who criticizes any of Israel's actions, and start the CPCCA.

      • Please be more specific – for example can you even name the church that Harper belongs to and the tenets of the faith, before you start to make allegations about intent.

        I see this as more a cause of an NGO being generous with implementing its mandate. I would prefer that no government money go to any NGO that has anything that resembles a political agenda – it is far too easy for the group to be manipulated by both the left and the right. We have a government and a foreign policy of that government (you may not like the foreign policy but that is a democracy – suck it up) – the government of the day should be dealing with issues that these NGOs have been tagged with – governments are accountable, NGOs are not.

        • I'm talking about their actions. Why don't you google "Christian Zionism"?

          "…The mobilisation of evangelicals has tended to bolster the so-called neo-conservative policies of the Republicans, because Christian Zionists tend to favor a hawkish foreign policy and have less sympathy for Palestinian claims than do the Democrats…"

          "…The General Assembly of the National Council of Churches in November 2007 approved a resolution for further study which stated that the "theological stance of Chistian Zionism adversely affects:

          justice and peace in the Middle East, delaying the day when Israelis and Palestinians can live within secure borders
          relationships with Middle Eastern Christians {prior reference to the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism}
          relationships with Jews, since Jews are seen as mere pawns in an eschatological scheme
          relationships with Muslims, since it ignores the rights of Muslims
          interfaith dialogue, since it views the world in starkly dichotomous terms"[12]…"


        • i can. He belongs to the Alliance Church in Calgary. It is an Evangelical Christian Church. It believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible. They believe in Creationism not Evolution, that the Earth is a mere 5,000 to 6,000 years old. They believe in the Rapture and for those who have been saved by Christ to be "taken up" to heaven Israel must be a state. Canada's so-called Science Minister is a laughingstock in Canada's scientific community because he also believes in the same thing, including Creationism. Google Dr. Charles McVety and Stephen Harper for more. But, unless you happen to agree with the above, be very prepared to be very frightened.

  15. Why has Canada outsourced (what should be) part of the Department of Foreign Affairs?

    So cronies of the establishment can earn exorbitant salaries, and be outside of normal government accountability? At what risk to Canada's reputation?

    How is this any different than privatizing health care? This privatizing foreign policy.

    • I am beginning to learn that this "outsourcing" decision might have something to do with giving Ed Broadbent an opportunity to double-dip with a salary over and above his MP pension. But just look at all the human rights flourishing worldwide that would not be flourishing were it not for this organization. No luck? Keep looking… they must be somewhere…

  16. This was a Liberal plot. “They wanted to introduce this same-sex marriage through back channels,” Harper said then. “They had the courts do it for them, put the judges in they wanted, then they failed to appeal, failed to fight the case in court.”

    This guy has an exhibited lifelong paranoia of government – that all of its institutions, departments, rules and personnel are an endless Liberal plot of some sort or another. It borders on lunacy.

    • that's right. anyone who questions liberal agenda is paranoid and has a hidden agenda. What's crazy is that so many of your ilk are incapable of considering an opposing point of view. The tolerant left… as long as you agree with what I say.

      • No, but anyone who suggests conspiracy theories which revolve around controlling the courts and the judges certainly IS paranoid.

  17. Thanks for the very clear and well reported account. One question. Don't you think the headline should read Harper appointees rip Rights and Democracy Apart?

    • How about Harper appointees rip each other apart?

  18. Interesting responses to your article. The comment by "Tedbetts" that it has merit "not only because it highlights Harper in a negative way…" seem to be typical. Pointing the finger at Stephen Harper regardless of the issue and of constantly reading ulterior motives into his political positions and decisions is a tiresome and predictable tune played by frustrated liberals. In the U.S. Harper would be regarded as being a socialist. Many of us in this country view the conservative nature of the man as being an asset and his social policies as being based in good common sense.

    As for prorogation and placing like minded people in positions of influence, politics can be an intense and at times a nasty game. The current Prime Minister is a relative novice at pulling strings compared to many of his predecessors, including the likes of Chretien and Martin. That he is a fast learner clearly irks those who are so desperate to regain control. The comment linking his approach to the crystal ball politics of MacKenzie King is patent silliness. If he wasn't attempting to establish a social direction for the country the critics would be complaining that he has no vision.

    • Right on!!
      It is clear that Harper appointed conservatives of all stripes to this board. An obvious attempt by neo-religionists to gain control is being frustrated, hoprfully, by those who see what is happening. I doubt that Mr. Harper loves this any moe than I do.
      The example of how the "religious right" works through such bodies to eventually control a political party can be had in how they have gained power in the Republican Party in the USA.

    • No one snow flake is alike but they're all still snowflakes; Is that your premise? What Harper has brought to Canadian governance is of a much, much different color and includes a foul odor.

  19. Excellent coverage, who can get this into into a headline that will stick out of the news ticker? This is exactly the kind of thing we all need to know more about – during good times and sabotaged times.

  20. certainly this story has a lot of blow by blow details of who did what to whom and how. The story does not enlighten as to the the various people and factions. It also lacks information about what those involved thing would resolve whatever the problem is.

  21. CORRECTION | Certainly this story has a lot of blow by blow details of who did what to whom and how. The story does not enlighten as to the the CONCERNS of the various people and factions. It also lacks information about what those involved thing would resolve whatever the problem is.ter text right here!

  22. Once again you discuss this internal battle without reference to the battlefield. The new board members have accused Rights and Democracy of allocating funds inappropriately, and I think they have a fair case. Being unloved by the employees of an organization that at best wasted taxpayer money and at worst funded organizations that undermine Canada's international goals is hardly a mark of shame.

    At any rate, I don't see this as an example of the power of appointment (after all, it is the appointees that are facing a push for their removal), but rather as the power of a co-opted bureaucracy run amuck (one being rightly chastened by appointees of our democratically elected government).

    • Oh come on. You know very well that the issue was not inappropriate allocation of funds but one of trying to silence any and all criticism of Israeli human rights abuses by ceasing to fund any organisation providing us with the truth. These were politically motivated decisions by the new Board members who have been mandated by Harper to seek to cut all support to those who dare to question Israeli actions.

  23. If the Liberal Party believes it will move forward with Mr. Iggy and his Canada 150 in 2017, then it is fair to say that from now to 2017 we will have a Conservative government.

    I haven't seen a Liberal court the grassroots or go door to door in eons, trying to connect with only one segment of the population (university students) is shortsighted and a sure sign of a leader afraid to face party delegates or even party members who oppose him. He does not have the capacity to bring people together for a common cause and never will, he should return to academia where he belongs. He is not a man of the people.

  24. Besides Ignatieff highjacked the democratic process the Liberal party has prided itself upon when he was annointed with the leadership without going through a leadership process and more importantly a leadership vote. His one member one vote passage at the last convention was a lame attempt to appease his critics.

    How about the man come clean, hit the reset button and hold a true leadership convention not the bogus spectacle we were all subjected to this past spring. What a farce !

    Time for the Liberals to wake and realize this horse is done, he has commited so many mistakes he is done. Even if he were to win it would a lame duck minority at best, this isn't a job where the candidate gets to learn as he goes along.

  25. Michael Ignatieff will never be Prime Minister of Canada with a majority government !

    The Party needs to look much further down the line to find its own Barack Obama, all the usual clowns like Rae, Leblanc, McGuinty, etc. have far to much political baggage for anyone to look at them objectively.

    Good luck, you are going to need it !

    Shake it up or wallow in mediocrity !

    • You should probably change your nickname to "Concern Troll".. I expect it'd be more accurate.

  26. Lets all BUY the magazine It is definately excellent journalism.

  27. Quote: "Later that night Rémy Beauregard died in his bed of a heart attack. When Aurel Braun signed his name to a notice of condolence on the organization's website, Beauregard's widow, Suzanne Trépanier, wrote him a furious letter. 'You don't treat a person like you did with Rémy and then praise his qualities after he is dead. This is, to me, hypocrisy.'”

    This reminds me of scenes in Mafia fiction (Mario Puzo's "The Godfather") and non-fiction (Gay Talese's ("Honor Thy Father") in which a Mafia don attends the funeral of a rival in order to pay his respects. Didn't realize till now that academics could match that benchmark for callous hypocrisy. It's impressive, in a way. For some the fabled Ivory Tower of academe is evidently more of a fortress.

  28. Why do we as taxpayers continue to allow our money to be wasted on useless, featherbedding purposeless outfits like this? Did all of these people donate huge sums of money to federal politicians in order to get these ridiculous positions? Get rid of the whole can of rubbish and make these people get real jobs.

    • Hear! Hear!

  29. Well's blogs, the Jerusalem Post article, and especially Harper's injection of neocons and zionists into the Rights the Democracy group, and the entire Byzantine episode shows the determination of the very powerful political group known as the Israel Lobby to silence debate over and criticism of Israel. Much more threatening to Canadians however, are the secret meetings on Parliament Hill between members of the Israel Lobby and Harper's neocons, who are preparing legislation to silence Canadian criticism of Israel. If this dark agenda succeed we will lose our democratic rights and freedoms, and we have the Israel Lobby to thank. This kind of meddling in Canadian politics by ethnic groups with aggressive political arms have already put Canadians at risk because of our foolish participation in Bush;s war on terror, and the meddling must be stopped. The tail has been waging the Canadian dog for too long, and thanks to Paul Wells we get a very good picture of just how they're doing it.

    • You are absolutely right on this, and I know for certain I do not want to be governed by Israel's leaders, and yet that is where we are headed. Already, like in the war on Lebanon and the massacre in Gaza, anyone in Canada who criticizes the Israel war machine, is quickly silenced or labelled a "terrorist" or antisemitic. We have to sit in shame, worried about our job prospects, if we dare to speak out. Canada used to be seen as fairminded and I used to be proud of this country, but it's been a while since I've felt any pride.

    • You two have got to be kidding me! With all that has been going on with censorship in Canada you are trying to portry this as the tip of a Zionist plot to silence criticism of Israel. Get your blinders off and look into the issue. Any attempt to rein in the R and D bunch has to do with inappropriate use of Canadian money to support groups. It also has to do with problems of accountability for funds used by the group.
      If i had a dime for every anti Israel fanatic babbling about plots and jewish conspiracies on the web i might be able to afford to hang with the Rights and Democracy staff (again, research the story) or maybe i could be charitable and donate the money to have you peoples blinders removed.

  30. Another example of how the Liberals refuse to accept the fact that they are not in power. So when their appointees are replaced they rally their left wing media friends like Wells to help create outrage through misinformation. Get over it Liberals, you lost.

  31. I'm not convinced that this is good journalism. I read elsewhere that the real reasons for the war is that the newer members challenged the non-accountability of Beauregard and the rest of the Board, their support of questionable allocation of monies to a suspect terrorist supporter and lavish expenditures on meals etc. The newer board members wanted to inject accountability into the process and the older Board members objected to the new scrutiny.

    • Implying that Conservative appointees are motivated by a desire for accountability and transparency is absurd in light of Harper's litany of lies in Parliament and his legendary disdain for journalists who try to get to the bottom of his actions. Harper's last campaign was all about accountability and transparency but his secret meetings with special interest groups like the Israel Lobby, and forcing his own members jnto silence shows that the man has no understanding of, or desire for, accountability. So where would his appointees get the idea? After all; monkey see, monkey do.
      More importantly, democratically elected political groups like Hamas are no more terrorist than the Likud Party, or Conservative Party in Canada. Neocons and Zionists are clearly the real terrorists with global reach, and working together they are responsible for the destruction of two innocent nations, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  32. Perhaps someof those people who commend this article as 'good journalism' could explain to me how this verdict was determined. Is it because Mr Wells said a lot of things you liked to hear? Is it because it was thorough, balanced coverage? If the former, well no comment from me is needed. If it is the latter then perhaps you would also like to tell me why you would feel qualified to judge?
    Mr Wells is determined to spin this story into an anti government, behind the scenes government conspriacy story. In fact, it has more to do with scandalous use of Canadian tax payer money to support three palestinian support groups, one of which has been designated as a terrrorist group by our actual government. You will not find this information in either of Mr Wells stories on R and D. I suggest those of you who feel this was an example of good journalism try doing a little research on their own. I certainly think it would be a good idea in the case of McCleans (to which i do subscribe).
    I am disappointed at Mr Wells attempt to spin this story for his own ends. It shakes my faith in the magazine somewhat.