The former chief statistician of Canada, Munir Sheikh, resigned last summer after he realized that the government was misrepresenting his expert, learned opinion to the media.
Now we realize it could have been worse -- the government simply could have released a document, brazenly edited to turn his opinion upside down. This is -- incredibly -- what happened in the case of a controversial funding decision by International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda. Here, from the Globe story, is the summary of what happened.
The case concerns the Conservative government’s controversial 2009 decision to cut off church-backed aid group Kairos from federal aid funding. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney initially told an Israeli audience that Kairos was cut off because the government didn’t like its views on Israel, but Ms. Oda and other Tories insisted it was a routine decision.
Aid groups and opponents charged that the Conservatives have decided to cut off aid to groups whose political views differ from theirs – but the Tories said bureaucrats at the Canadian International Development Agency concluded Kairos no longer matched their priorities.
But new documents that emerged last December show that CIDA’s top officials signed a memorandum recommending new funding for Kairos before someone – the government won’t say who – inserted the word “not,” overruling the recommendation.
Seriously. Someone needs to be fired for this. I can only imagine it's someone who is regularly in the practice of altering the birth date on his/her ID to get into bars. It's pretty much the same modus operandi. I'd thought, however, that all the 14-year-olds in this government were busy doing the TV ads.
And while we're talking about troubling, do have a look at our story today on the Cold-War file-gathering that's going on over at the University of Ottawa.
Stuff like this happens when the government thinks the voters are too stupid or afraid to protest. "Troubling," said Speaker Peter Milliken yesterday. Yep. Or simply banana-republic. A country where this happens rapidly loses its ability to authority to lecture other countries on democracy.