A procedural pursuit of the truth

Here then an interesting test of the system’s ability to demand and require the whole truth. After Question Period on Monday, Liberal John McKay rose on a point of privilege to assert that International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda had misled the House on the matter of KAIROS.

One is left with a clear impression that the decision to not recommend was made after the minister’s signature had been appended to the document. The minister does not know who put in the interlineations and therefore cannot tell the House who made the decision, when the decision was made and why the decision, approved by the agency and possibly by the minister herself, was reversed.

It is a prima facie case of contempt to mislead members by blaming others for one’s decisions. It is misleading to say that one made a decision when no decision was made. It impairs a member’s core function of holding a government to account. It erodes the doctrine of ministerial accountability.

Jim Abbott, formerly Ms. Oda’s parliamentary secretary, stood after to take issue with Mr. McKay. Bob Rae and Paul Dewar added their thoughts yesterday. The government has asked the Speaker to allow Ms. Oda time to respond before ruling.

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