Saturday, May 10, 2008

When Evasion Becomes Pathology

One of the things that drives me nuts about this government is its reflexive "Fuck you, that's why!" response to any question directed at it. I said yesterday that I think this whole Bernier "issue" was small cheese and I still mean it. The problem is, this government is completely incapable of even pretending to act like a government. The following exchange between Bob Rae (who it shames me to admit, actually comes off looking good) and Peter Van Loan demonstrates the Conservatives approach to crisis management.
Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the government House leader.

After the exchanges yesterday, a number of security experts, including Professor Wark, the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, have indicated that there are some legitimate questions that need to be answered with respect to the situation facing the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

If the government House leader would simply respond in the affirmative that the government has every intention of ensuring that there is no security problem or security issue with respect to the situation facing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I am sure that would go a long way to satisfying members of the House that the appropriate steps have been taken.

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC): Mr. Speaker, this government takes very seriously national security issues. We do not see that asking questions about the private lives of ministers in the fashion that the opposition has fits that bill.

We are surprised that the hon. member for Toronto Centre, after we thought he was too classy to ask these questions, would.

However, we would point out that if that party were at all concerned about national security in a serious way, its members would not have stood in this House on Wednesday asking us to fly back, at taxpayer expense, someone suspected of terrorist links, against the United Nations rules, who happens to be on a no-fly list. That is hardly a party that is concerned about national security.
Van Loan could have stood up and said "Yes Mr. Speaker the government does take security seriously and I want to assure the House that we have taken steps to bring this matter to a close". Such an answer would have probably brought the matter to a close. Instead Van Loan essentially tells Rae to go to Hell. Why? It is a complete mystery to me why, when given an opportunity to end a minor problem, the government chose to toss a verbal grenade instead. Such a response from Mr. Van Loan will add a couple of days to an otherwise one day problem and makes it look like there might be some good reason to suspect them of hiding something.
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