In all the hoopla over the sham budget, the Oda contempt ruling, the budget documents contempt ruling, and Bruce Carson, on Wednesday the beginning of another historic moment in the Harper Government™’s defiance of the rule of law and the supremacy of Parliament may be skating by unnoticed. That day, the Committee on Public Security recommended that public safety minister Vic Toews also be found in contempt of Parliament for his protection of disgraced CSIS director Richard Fadden, who last year claimed that various Canadian politicians were under Chinese influence, but refused to say who, and now refuses to apologize to the people whose reputations have now been harmed.
We’re in the midst of even bigger forces at the moment, which is why this one seems minor, but I want to stress that it is not. A secret service, with the approval of the minister, suggests that certain Canadians (even politicians are Canadians, after all) have been subverted by a foreign government. He refuses to request a police investigation, suggesting the subversion is nonexistent anyways. He refuses to apologize or to provide any evidence. The government refuses to demand his resignation for information that is presumably secret and certainly damaging. In front of a Parliamentary committee, moreover, Fadden openly refused their demand that he provide evidence to support his vague accusations.
He also refuses to apologize, by the way. So does the Government of Canada via the Minister. They say that (a) the allegations are true, but they don’t have to prove they’re true because they’re the government; (b) there is no need to apologize, because no one was specifically named and therefore no one has been specifically harmed; and (c) that the government is not responsible for remarks made by Fadden as director of CSIS.
The committee disagrees. It reports that since Fadden’s remarks were cleared by the minister’s office and the Prime Minister’s Office, the government must take responsibility for them. Second, it recommends an apology to the Chinese-Canadian community, which it suggests may have been particularly harmed by the remarks. Third, it demands Fadden’s resignation for “creating an atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia.” Fourth, it recommends “that the Director of CSIS not become an agent for the government’s political and ideological agenda,” and that senior public servants in general refrain from “cavalierly casting aspersions on select groups of Canadians.”
Finally, it recommends the censure of public safety minister Vic Toews “for allowing the Director of CSIS to exceed his statutory mandate by making dramatic and irresponsible statements to the media.” Not that it will matter. Parliament will probably be closed down for the election long before anything comes of this report.Tweet