Today's editorial, 'Shame'? Hardly, not only espouses the same ideas I had, but even uses some of the same words:
No one--including us --is accusing the MP in question, Navdeep Bains, of any illegal behaviour. And voters are entitled to make their own individual judgments on whether the PM was engaging in dirty pool by opening the pages of the Sun in the privileged environment of the House of Commons. But they would be advised to ignore the slanted, indignant language that some other media outlets are trying to disguise as impartial reporting.
The PM is being accused of suggesting that the Liberals changed their policy on ant terror legislation to protect Mr. Bains' father-in-law, Darshan Singh Saini, or, more generally, to cripple an Air India investigation that many in the Sikh community oppose. In fact, it is only by clairvoyance that reporters can claim to know what Mr. Harper would have said in his complete reply. He was shouted down long before he had the chance to make the "suggestion" being freely attributed to him (readers may wonder why the Liberals did not sit quietly and let him continue covering himself with "shame").
But even if Mr. Harper intended to suggest what he is being accused of suggesting, his only "shame" lies in saying what millions of Canadians are thinking. The Sikh voting bloc that Mr. Bains drew to the Dion camp (via Gerard Kennedy) at the Liberal convention in December is a critical reason why it is Mr. Dion, as opposed to Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff, who now sits as Leader of the Opposition. Why would it be out of bounds to suggest that Mr. Dion's sudden and stalwart opposition to key anti-terrorism provisions -- even over the objections of many influential members of his own divided caucus -- might somehow be traced to those same provisions being potentially used to compel testimony from the supporters of a king making MP?
This is the first example of any attempt at impartial comment on this debacle that I have come across. Ralph Goodale revealed in many recent interviews that the Sun article was in distributed along with other noteworthy newspaper articles as usual that day. So it would seem that the Liberals were anticipating that this might be brought up, and they wanted to prevent it from being read into the official record.
But by stopping the PM from reading the whole story, they ended up bringing more attention to the issue than if they had just let him finish it, and then either attack him then for alleged defamation when they had some kind of proof, or else just quietly go on to another topic and hope the whole thing would die.
Harper knew that the story itself would not be carried by most MSM. He was talking straight to the people.
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More fallout at Steve Janke - Prominent Sikh Liberal Resigns...
(H/T National Newswatch)
Chronicle Herald - Air India Families Plead for Justice
National Post - No Apologies
Ottawa Citizen - "... Senate Supports Terror Law".
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Friday Afternoon Update: Vancouver Sun chews out Harper:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper abused his privilege this week when he cited a story by Vancouver Sun reporter Kim Bolan to suggest that the Liberals are opposing an extension of an Anti-Terrorism Act provision set to expire next week because of a connection to one of their MPs.
Bolan's exclusive report that the father-in-law of Ontario MP Navdeep Bains is on a witness list to testify before an investigative hearing in relation to the Air India bombing made no such connection.
My only question is, why did Kim Bolan bother mentioning Bains?