The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

To be minister or ^not^ to be minister

Should Stephen Harper fire Bev Oda for having altered a document to mean its opposite after expert advisers signed its original form? Thus far, he has refused to even consider the matter.

If the only thing that matters is the end result, then we should not care about the means used to reach it.

If we believe that any criticism whatsoever of Israel's actions amounts to anti-Semetism, then we should conclude that KAIROS is anti-Semetic: which may or may not justify any further actions taken to end all funding.

If we trust authority to make all decisions on our behalf, we should accept the word of authority and let the issue rest.

If we always agree with all of Stephen Harper's choices, we should stand quietly supportive by this one.

If we don't think this prime minister and his cabinet can make mistakes, we should not force Stephen Harper to take an action suggesting that the wrong person was appointed for the job or that the decision itself was a mistake.

If we focus on the amount of taxpayer money involved and primarily value the government bottom line, we should support any action which saves the taxpayer money.

If we focus solely on political capital, we should let the issue lapse. These kinds of things rarely change anyone's mind to the point of changing their vote: and pushing the issue may actually solidify the existing vote. (Compare the voter reaction in this issue, where, if anything, taxpayer money would have been saved by the document alteration, to that where bribery is involved.)

If we value integrity in the process as well as the outcome, altering a document to its opposite meaning after it has been signed ought to mean something. Consider, however, that opposition reaction to an attempt to react to such an incident with integrity rarely acknowledges that integrity.

But if we do want to throw the book at Oda: is it truly because of the integrity issue, or is it because she committed the unforgivable crime of being caught?

Whatever the final decision on Oda's fate, the issue has provided us with one of our most piercing views in the mirror ever. If we like what we see: at least it means that we are consistent with our personal value system. If we don't: don't blame the mirror.

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