Rights and Democracy: Well thank goodness we have a take-charge minister - Macleans.ca

Rights and Democracy: Well thank goodness we have a take-charge minister


The very last exchange in Tuesday’s Question Period. There are a lot of ways to read Minister Cannon’s remarks (and therefore a few different ways to read my title for this post) but for now I’ll just get it on the record and wait, with limited patience, to see what happens next:

Ms. Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the board of Rights & Democracy is accountable to Parliament for its management. As parliamentarians, we have the right to know what is going on in that organization. Yet the board of Rights & Democracy still has not released the Deloitte & Touche audit report. Talk about a lack of transparency.Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs continue to put up with such questionable conduct?

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I will remind the House very briefly that this is an arm’s-length organization funded by the government. However, I see that instead of taking action, the opposition has decided to ask questions. At the first opportunity, my parliamentary assistant will ask the board of Rights & Democracy to come and table the report. We will do the job the opposition does not want to do.

UPDATE: In the original French, Cannon referred to his “adjoint parlementaire” as the person who’ll be doing the asking on his behalf. In Quebec’s National Assembly, where he spent much of his career, “adjoint parlementaire” means parliamentary secretary, an MP and caucus colleague assigned to assist a minister. (In Ottawa the term is secretaire parlementaire.) Cannon seemed to be referring to Deepak Obhrai, his new parliamentary secretary. I’ll follow up with the minister’s staff. -pw