Dr. Dawg

Rights & Democracy: stay classy, David

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Suzanne Trépanier is the widow of the late Rémy Beauregard, the former President of Rights and Democracy. She recently wrote a moving article, describing how her husband was hounded to his death by ideologues appointed to the R&D Board by the Harper Government™.

David Matas, one of the more outspoken members of the new Board, isn’t having that. In a disgraceful letter published Tuesday in the Toronto Star, he rewrites history, smears Beauregard’s name once more, and insults Trépanier for good measure.

As he tells it, Beauregard was given a copy of his politically-motivated poor annual performance review, and had the opportunity to suggest changes. Revisionist history: in fact, Beauregard had to use an Access to Information request to obtain a copy of it, a process that took months.

Matas has flogged that horse for more than a year. This is what he was claiming just a few days after Beauregard’s death:

[T]he performance evaluation committee had obtained a legal opinion that its evaluation was a confidence of the Privy Council and could not be disclosed to the President. Second, the President nonetheless obtained a copy of the evaluation through an access to information request. Third, the committee had agreed to reconsider and amend its evaluation based on the comments the President had made after having seen the copy of the evaluation he had obtained through access to information. Fourth, the committee had made a number of changes based on these comments. Fifth, the President was free to write to the Privy Council himself to express any disagreement he might have with the evaluation as amended.

Paul Wells, who has shone much light upon the clownish goings-on at R&D, rightly refers to this as a “bucket defence”:

Beauregard couldn’t see the evaluation because it was a “confidence of the Privy Council.” Beauregard could see the evaluation, so what’s the problem. The board committee agreed to change the evaluation after Beauregard saw the evaluation he wasn’t allowed to see, so double-what’s-the-problem. Finally, Beauregard could examine the changes to an evaluation he wasn’t allowed to see and suggest further changes, so what’s the etc. etc.

Wells continues:

…I should point out that Matas’s essay compresses the timeline of things a bit. When he writes that “the President nonetheless obtained a copy of the evaluation,” he neglects to mention that this was after months of legal wrangling and two board meetings at which he was told that he would never be shown the evaluation of his own work. I’m also told that the fabulous, useless legal opinion that all of this was “a confidence of the Privy Council” was obtained after the decision not to show the evaluation to Beauregard, and at some cost to Rights and Democracy in legal fees.

By no great coincidence, Matas’ lengthy justification appeared at the time on far-right commentator Ezra Levant’s website and nowhere else.

With respect to performance bonuses denied Beauregard, Matas steeps himself in disingenuousness, claiming with wide-eyed innocence that the performance review committee at R&D had no power to confer or withhold such bonuses—technically true, but the government, receiving a negative recommendation, would generally rubber-stamp it. Matas neglects to note that, after the scandalous behaviour of the R&D Board received wide public exposure, the government posthumously restored the bonuses to his estate.

Hundreds of thousands of tax dollars were wasted on a forensic audit to tar Beauregard’s reputation. Matas denies this, of course, but that report, delayed and delayed until finally leaked to the press, exonerates Beauregard entirely. All the sinuous Matas can do is muster up a little innuendo: “Those investigations told us plenty.” They told the rest of us plenty as well.

Throughout his poisonous little squib, Matas insists upon referring to Trépanier as “the widow.” The cumulative effect of this dismissive language is frankly creepy. It says perhaps more about Matas and his antic colleagues that we really want to know.

Meanwhile Lawrence Cannon, Harper Minister™ of Foreign Affairs, recently reappointed two of the worst offenders—plus Conservative Bernard Lord’s niece. The destruction continues.

[H/t Alison, b/c]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 21, 2011 10:33 AM.

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