Saturday, February 27, 2010

Iggy Weighs in on the Tory R&D 'Outrage'

Here's how it works in Canada: When the Liberals are in charge (the nation's default setting, at least as the Liberals see it) they appoint all sorts of folks who are mui simpatico with their worldview--and that's perfectly normal and perfectly okay. But when Conservatives manage to capture the reigns of power and appoint people who are in synch with their outlook, the Liberals have an absolute cow.

Case in point: the foofaraw over Rights and Democracy, an arm's length government outfit (and useless drain on the taxpayers) created by the Tories (so in a sense they have only themselves to blame for the current mess). When the Liberals were in office, the agency's Liberal appointees liked to dole our lots of moolah to Palestinian-supporting/Israel-reviling "human rights" outfits. In an attempt to put the kibosh on this outrageous practice, the Harper Tories appointed some of their own people to high positions at R&D. The fallout: the opposition is now basically having full-on apoplexy. The Toronto Star has the latest on the R&D tempest in a teapot (the details of which I won't go into, since they are immensely soporific)--Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's 'profound' thoughts on the subject:
OTTAWA–Opposition leaders are rejecting the government's pick of a new president to head Montreal's troubled Rights and Democracy, calling him a partisan choice that risks further upsetting the agency.
In a letter rejecting the choice of Gérard Latulippe, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff accused the Conservatives of trying to hijack arm's-length government agencies.

"Your government has demonstrated time and again that it aims to impose on our country's independent institutions the most extreme views espoused within your own political party," Ignatieff wrote.

"And when this approach is applied to an independent organization dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democracy, it is particularly offensive."

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's pick of Latulippe was ostensibly meant to bring stability to the government-funded agency, which has been rocked by questions of funding, a revolt by staff against the Conservative-appointed board, and the suspension of senior employees.

But Latulippe's past political ties have only fed opposition suspicions that the government is trying to engineer a takeover at the independent rights agency, which has an $11 million budget to foster democracy and human rights around the globe.

Latulippe, currently the resident director for the National Democratic Institute in Haiti, was a one-time candidate for the defunct Canadian Alliance.

Latulippe was also an adviser to Stockwell Day when the Treasury Board president was Canadian Alliance leader.

He also served alongside Cannon when they were Quebec Liberal MNAs in the 1980s.

Ignatieff notes that Latulippe's resumé circulated to the opposition leaders seemed to omit the more partisan points of his career...
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry. I seem to have nodded off there for a second. While I was sleeping, though, I dreamt up the perfect solution for the R&D situation. To wit: get rid of it. I promise you not a single taxpayer who's not on the payroll will even know it's gone.

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