Friday, February 03, 2012

"So what, we faked a citizenship ceremony" says the Stephen Harper Government

From The Windsor Star:
OTTAWA — A fake citizenship ceremony broadcast last fall on Sun News was the result of "logistical problems," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Thursday in the House of Commons, amid much laughter.

Under fire during question period after departmental emails detailing the hoax surfaced, Kenney ignored opposition requests to apologize for the ruse, blamed it on public servants in his department and urged Canadians to look past it.
Which necessitated an email to my MP:

I've read about the phony citizenship-reaffirmation ceremony where bureaucrats posed as new immigrants, broadcast by Tory-friendly Sun News, and have to wonder how anyone who's part of the Harper Government can look themselves in the mirror.

The prorogations. The Contempt of Parliament. The "we won't tell you how much our legislative initiatives will cost". The "let's build prisons even though the crime rate in Canada is dropping". The "long form census intrudes on the privacy of Canadians" but "let's introduce legislation to spy on Canadians online without a warrant".

And now Stephen Harper's grand vision for altering every Canadian's pension -- except those enjoyed by retired members of government, of course.

Those are the big things. The Plebeians outside the walled city of Ottawa view these with contempt, disgust and more than a little astonishment.

And then we read about the phony citizenship-reaffirmation ceremony that the Tories couldn't even get right.

Is everything in conservative life a lie? Really, I'm asking. Is everything stage-managed and only has to be good enough to fool the fools watching it on TV? I realize that politics is opportunism personified. I've understood that since I was a teenager. But don't even a few people of conscience bumble into the whorehouse once in a while?

No wonder you want to attack the Internet with your "lawful access" legislation -- it allows us to see behind the curtain.

So, we've got Immigration Minister Jason Kenney doing the usual -- blaming underlings, claiming ignorance, didn't know about any of this until after the fact, but "urged Canadians to look past it".

No, I will not look past this. In fact, this debacle -- small as it is -- is absolutely illustrative of what is wrong with Canadian politics and the surreal biosphere known as Ottawa.

Because there are such charming details being revealed in this story: "'Let's do it. We can fake the oath,' said a Sun staffer whose name was blacked out."

That's awesome.

What's most galling is the conservatives' unambiguous antagonism of CBC and the Tories' distasteful connection to Sun Media and Quebecor, which receives an outrageous amount of money in government grants (while hypocritically attacks CBC for its funding model).

If you're unaware, a day after the Sun Media obscenity, the CBC ran an hour-long actual citizenship ceremony for 75 new Canadians, and it was a real.

CBC gets it right -- that's why the Tories hate it. Sun Media and Quebecor are willingly complicit in Tory photo-op schemes, hence the fraternity and fidelity both feel for one another.

I guess I'm writing to tell you that living outside the surreal myopia of Ottawa, these incidents look abominable. Makes me wonder, "Where are the fixes to our economy and health care and justice system within this conclave of idiocy and opportunism?"

And dare I ask, where is the honour?

Are there no adults in Ottawa? Stories like this make it seem like a gaggle of ten-graders are running amok in our nation's capital and are being caught every once in a while by the vice principal.

It's just amazing that the Tory approach to showcasing Canadian immigration is to fake a ceremony that I understand occurs with some regularity, adhering to some schedule, occurs with some advance notice. The Tory method is to fake first because, clearly, reality is too inconvenient and not conducive to the conservative agenda -- in all its thorned and fanged and self-righteous forms.

And if a government is willing to fake and lie to pull of a soft, feel-good journalism piece, that government is clearly willing and able to lie about more important things.

And I guess us Plebeians will continue learning about each debacle -- that is, until you pull the plug on our Internet, which seems to give you away every damned time.

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