Monday, February 08, 2010

Conservative priorities

During the current rustication of Parliament by Stephen Harper, the parliamentary committee investigating Canadian complicity in torture in Afghanistan has been meeting in informal session, and the Foreign Affairs Committee, too. The meetings have been boycotted by the Conservatives.

Not so, however, with that ridiculous political sideshow called the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism. This gaggle of witch-hunters, whose funding remains mysterious despite promises of transparency, and whose conclusions, clearly established from the start, have been buttressed by a largely one-sided selection of witnesses, is chugging merrily along with its "inquiry." And today Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will be "testifying" before it.

More from Kady O'Malley.

Torture? No big deal. But investigating a "problem" that even the far-right Jonathan Kay admits is minor in the scheme of things--the Cons can't miss that. After all, it's entirely of a piece with their de-funding of KAIROS for alleged anti-Semitism (gosh, there's Kenney again), cancelling a grant to a major Arab-Canadian group (goodness me, there's Kenney again) and taking a wrecking ball to the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development because it dared to support human rights for Palestinians in the Middle East.

During today's session, the parliamentary inquisitors will also be hearing from an assortment of policemen. Doesn't that just warm the blood?

UPDATE: Kenney and his government proved to be too much even for some members of the CPCCA. His smarmy little dance around the defunding of KAIROS was a sight to behold:

He also defended the funding cut to KAIROS, saying the group doesn't deserve government money because it advocates the boycott of the Jewish state, including disinvestment and sanctions, charges denied by the group's defenders.

Kenney added, however, the KAIROS decision had nothing to do with his take on the group's anti-Israel positions. The call was made solely by the Canadian International Development Agency on grounds it wanted to focus on food security and fighting poverty, he said.
[emphasis added]

Pull the other one, Minister.

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