Bev Oda and the Sillier Liberal Witch-Hunt

Sure, it's hard to defend the fact that this wasn't a naughty, incompetent, lazy thing to do.  But let’s not turn this “not” into what it’s “not”: an act so foul and evil that it deserves our collective spit and hate.

While many articles and posts and related comments are spewing revulsion, asking for a public beheading, clamouring that many other Ministers and public workers have been forced to resign for far less, aren’t these people looking at this all wrong, twisting the reality of Oda’s actions out of proportion? For in reality, we’ve tolerated—and continue to do so—way worse acts of government that still go unpunished.  Rather, we should be seeing this as nothing more than a comic-albeit-stupid act that, ironically, shines a light on the complexities of bureaucracy, subjective popular partisanship, and our all-too-common tendency to be distracted from the real and pressing issues.   

This is turning into misdirected bloodlust placing Bev Oda as nothing more than a cheap target for any hatred we currently harbour towards Harper and his Conservative cronies. Meanwhile: the Harper government continues selling our sovereignty down south; the TMX is still planned to merge with the LSE; the CRTC is  pressured (some coming from the Tories) into changing its false-news regulations, to name just a few.

It’s become a Liberal-fuelled witch-hunt inline with the tacky, childish political games of negative campaigning we normally criticize.  The only e-petition (with 18,762 signees at the time this was posted) that’s currently circulating was created by Liberals; it’s hosted on party servers. It’s shameful propaganda in an attempt to take advantage of a silly situation and sway public opinion and votes.

The bold caption on the Liberal's petition page is a ridiculous, sensationalist exaggeration.  And please!  That opening line, “The credibility of our democratic institutions is on the line,” is a lark.  Does anyone else remember the Sponsorship Scandal? What about Shawnigate, in which the PM’s good friend, Claude Gauthier, earned his company, Transelec, a shady CIDA grant that was eventually questioned by the Auditor General and even CIDA?  Did we scream for the PM's resignation? Nope. The list of Liberal scandals that put into question “the credibility of our democratic institutions” is long.
In fact, here’s a list, compiled in 2005, of 199 Liberals offenses that easily qualify to be filed under that very same “crooked credibility” category:  A Dubious Day        

What should concern people doesn’t seem to. Nowhere is anyone interested in details about the grant; for all we know, the Liberals are probably happy or just don’t care that funding may not go through.  What was the funding for?  Sadly, I’m willing to bet that only a very small percentage of signees can answer this. So whether we're personally disappointed that Oda believed that this particular organization shouldn't receive funding is moot; this aspect hardly seems to be of concern for the vast majority who are "upset" over this matter.     
And did anyone notice that it's only the Liberal-sanctioned media that cry out for her resignation whilst they also offer only vapid, concept-challenging, tabloid-worthy slams but no real, objective assessment of that silly insertion and its real implication?

So what did Oda really do?  She did what she was allowed to do, but went about it in a really silly way.  She had the right to refuse to sign the document and she had a right to disagree with the wording—isn’t this the type of thing, the type of individual freedom, that people fight for and get all riled up about?  And as Minister, she certainly had the right to disapprove the grant; she was, after all, the last person required to sign-off on it.  Are people really saying she simply should have signed because someone put her name at the bottom of the document, whether or not she agreed with the decision? And who cares if the document “was already signed off by CIDA department officials”?  Does CIDA control the government and its "boss"?  No, it's a government-run agency. And Oda was the last to sign off for a reason. Carefully read what the document says and asks: sign to indicate approval.

So, either she has a hard time with directions (unlikely), or she changed her mind or had it changed for her after having signed off.  Rather than voiding the document properly, she did an oopsy! But the "falsifying documents" angle is ridiculous—with such an insertion, clearly, a forger she is "not".  However, Oda didn’t follow the proper, complex procedures and this, what we all ridicule when it suits our purpose, is the real reason why we’re condemning her. She didn’t file the slew of necessary paperwork and go through all the proper, costly  channels to voice her "after signature" disagreement. Rather than simply refusing to sign off, she signed anyway and inserted a “not”—and worse, she didn’t initial it and it took a while before she accepted responsibility.  Her behaviour is more akin to a shame-filled, heedless teenager who realizes the gravitas of one’s juvenile actions too late than that of an evil, democracy-destroying mastermind.  If not that, then she's politely willing to take one for the proverbial team and, again, our concern needs to be on considerations other than those even the Liberals want us to focus on.  

We’ve all done things that can be paralleled to Oda’s action.  But while were hanging her, real acts of iniquity are going unnoticed and unpunished.  Oda's action should go under the heading, "Bad Office Jokes." That's it.    
Yes, I myself am strongly opposed to many of the decisions made by our current government; conservatives are currently giving us something that’s all too reminiscent of the U.S.’s corporation-loving Reagan years—all for the rich, who cares about the poor and the arts. Today, the lessons of Mulroney’s brash arrogance are countered with Harper’s devious cunning; the long-term results truly terrify me.
Oda is a scapegoat and now, a Liberal tool. She's a minor, inconsequential distraction while the real "players" aren't even receiving spittle from all this public spitting.  

This “not” should force us to question a heck of a lot more than why this woman isn’t resigning.

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 © 2011, Pascal-Denis Lussier .

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