Canada’s most inept international aid minister ever, Julian Fantino, published two extraordinary partisan screeds on his agency’s website recently which have caused a bit of a kerfuffle in the news. As a result, they’ve been pulled from the government’s website. Nice try, Mr. Fantino. Documents don’t die easily on the Web. For the sake of my readers and your constituents, I’ve re-published the letters below.
Just so we’re clear, using taxpayer-funded government department websites for partisan purposes isn’t just unethical, it’s against the rules. It’s an explicitly prohibited misuse of taxpayer resources. This is an official policy statement from a government department; as a result, it is not permitted to include partisan affairs of any sort.
The current news from the government is that the letters were “posted in error.” It’s hard to imagine how that could be the case. As you can see by comparing the texts below with versions that were published in more appropriate non-taxpayer-financed forums, namely the National Post and the Huffington Post, someone specifically went in and edited the versions that went up on CIDA’s website to add extra links. Someone also formatted the text, sent it to the webmaster’s office, and authorized its publication.
Things like this don’t happen by “accident” in government. There’s probably even a paper trail, like there was for Jason Kenney’s fake citizenship ceremony last year. Even at Sixth Estate, sometimes I regret things I publish, but I certainly don’t just “accidentally” write, edit, and publish entire columns.
Here’s the first one, written to the NDP. Notice that in the final paragraph Julian Fantino singles out Canada’s aid program in Haiti as a particularly successful one, worthy of attention. A few days ago, Fantino announced that he was not satisfied with the Haiti program and that Canada should eliminate its aid to that country. How you want to square these remarks is up to you.Tweet