Stephen Harper is in trouble for being ham-fisted with Parliament and several public institutions. He has also caused a ruckus by penalizing those who dare criticize Israel.
Fused together, those two traits can be combustible enough. Adding a third element, catering to his party's conservative ideologues, the Prime Minister has created a major crisis at Canada's leading international human rights agency.Sanctimonious lefty ideologues, the lot of them. Good riddance to Israel-trashing rubbish--and kudos to Harper for having the stones to clear away some of the riff-raff.
The entire staff has rebelled at Rights and Democracy, the Montreal-based institution that backs Canada's foreign policy by supporting the rule of law in such troubled spots as Haiti and Afghanistan.
Forty-five of 47 staffers, both management and union, are demanding the firing of the Harper-appointed chair of the board, Aural Braun, plus his vice-chair and another director.
The call comes after their boss, Rémy Beauregard the respected president of the agency, died of a heart attack the night after a vitriolic board meeting in Toronto. He was 66.
His funeral Saturday at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa drew most of the Montreal staff, and also several prominent Canadians.
Braun had been warring with Beauregard for months over several issues. But matters came to a head at the Jan. 7 meeting, the first since the Harper-appointed directors obtained a majority.
The board voted to "repudiate" three small grants approved by Beauregard to one Israeli and two Palestinian NGOs critical of human rights violations by both Israel and the Palestinians. The board also curtailed a grant of $380,000 to a women's centre in Congo.
Beauregard's widow, Suzanne Trépanier, had Braun's name removed from centre website messages of condolences.
"You don't treat a person like you did with Rémy and then praise his qualities after he is dead. This is hypocrisy," she wrote.
Since then, four former chairmen of the board – Ed Broadbent, Warren Allmand, Jean-Louis Roy and Jean-Paul Hubert – have asked Harper to conduct "a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Beauregard's death, with a focus on the role and conduct of the board," and report to Parliament when it resumes...
For a clearer picture of what's up with "Rights and Democracy," read this by Ezra Levant.
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