Not a Fan
Once again, the Harper government appears most vulnerable to problems of its own making. As with last summer’s census gambit, Ms. Oda’s apparent indiscretion represents a self-inflicted political wound.
At best, Oda has shaken confidence in the way the Harper government doles out taxpayers’ cash. At worst, she tried to mislead Parliament and the public. Either way, she should go.
Bev Oda, the International Cooperation Minister, committed a serious transgression when she willfully misled a House committee in December and, prior to that, appeared to oversee the falsifying of a document from a government agency. She should apologize unequivocally to the Foreign Affairs committee and explain the decision-making process involved.
Oda's removal is necessary, but it alone will not create the kind of coherent international aid-funding policies that Canadians demand, and that groups like KAIROS which are trying to improve lives around the world, deserve.
While it is pro forma for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and field boss, House leader John Baird, to back cabinet ministers from time to time for forgetting a certain page in the playbook, it is quite another when respected rules of the game are so blatantly ignored.
There is no denying Bev Oda lied to the Canadian people.
There is no denying she misled Parliament.
In describing how it came about, Oda appears to have misled MPs about what happened, first saying she did not know who altered the CIDA recommendation and later admitting she ordered the altering of the document. That makes her contemptuous of Parliament, and for that, she must resign or be removed.
WHICH IS to say: it is the government’s defense of her, more even than the minister’s misconduct, that is now the issue. Ministers in any government will screw up from time to time. Some will even lie. That is fallible humanity. But when they are caught, when the jig is up, when there are no longer any lies to be told, it is to be expected — it has always been expected — that consequences should follow. At the least, one could expect the government to acknowledge that what she did was wrong — or at the very least, to acknowledge that she did it.
I think Coyne sums it up best. There's no grey area here - Oda doctored the document and lied about it. That should get you kicked out of cabinet under any circumstances and it says a lot about Harper that he's sticking by her.