Dr. Dawg

The Pantsafire Chronicles: What kind of fakery is this?

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Citizengate has developed more twists and turns over the day than the backstreets of Marrakesh. While Jason Kenney’s office and SunTV hasten to cover their pale and sweaty butts, others are left scratching their heads.

The story so far, based upon records acquired through Access to Information by Jennifer Ditchburn of the Canadian Press and made avaialble online by SunMedia’s David Akin:

A “citizenship ceremony” was broadcast on SunTV. Six alleged “new Canadians” were stand-ins from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

SunTV said they had no idea most of the “new Canadians” weren’t.

Jason Kenney’s office has apologized to SunTV, saying they had no idea either.

It was well-intentioned bureaucrats, we are told, and a chat will be had with them.

Case closed? Not by a long shot.

First of all, as reported this morning and as confirmed by the documents, the bureaucrats were actually in a panic after receiving their Ministerial request:

“I have also just confirmed … that all the clients that are calling back are declining the request as they have to attend work and are not able to take the time off to participate in this reaffirmation ceremony,” wrote one civil servant.

Four days before the ceremony, a bureaucrat in downtown Toronto again pleaded whether Sun News could instead go to an already planned event.

“Please advise if the alternative would be acceptable since we do not have the resources to call over 3,000 clients to hopefully get 10 clients for this proposed event.”

And we know now that they came up short. OK, who knew at the time? (Keep that notion of a “reaffirmation ceremony” in mind, by the way.)

Kenney and SunTV’s show of wide-eyed innocence simply won’t wash.

The producer of the show, ironically now with the CBC, was in touch with Kenney’s office scant days before the film fisaco. Let David Akin take over:

[Producer Dayna Gourley] sends an e-mail on Oct. 11 to Leblanc [a CIC bureaucrat] in response to a message Leblance [sic] had sent earlier that day. Leblanc asks Gourley in the first e-mail “if you’ve decided on whether you’d like to proceed with filming a ceremony next week.”

Gourley tries to phone her. Get Leblanc’s voice-mail. Leaves a message and then writes this:

“Hi Tracie

I tried to call you and left a more detailed message.

Let’s do it. We can fake the Oath.”

Now I have no idea what Leblanc and Gourley are talking about here. Tried to reach Gourley today to ask with no success. Gourley left no e-mail records behind on this matter on her Sun News computer. [emphasis added]

That wide-eyed innocence seems to be catching, because Akin hurries on:

But it seems quite clear that it cannot possibly be colluding with a bureaucrat to fake stand-ins because a week later, the bureaucrats, including Leblanc are still scrambling to find real Canadians. And they do — real enough that they circulated biographies of these real Canadians.

No, dammit, it does ^NOT “seem quite clear.” What seems quite clear is that Gourley was willing and prepared to stage a phoney citizenship swearing-in ceremony and present it to the SunTV viewing audience as the real thing.

Pay attention to the timeline here.

On September 29, the Minister’s office had asked his department to arrange a live citizenship ceremony for SunTV (p.72 of the document dump).

By October 6, Kenney’s office had already asked his department to arrange a “reaffirmation ceremony” instead (p.79)—a formal occasion in which those who are already citizens can re-declare their loyalty to Canada. The oath is real enough—it’s the same oath either way—but six of the ten folks taking it, as we know, were fake “new Canadians.”

On October 11, Gourley wrote the fateful words, “We can fake the Oath.” (p.80)

Then Citizenship Week (October 17-23) was upon them. The ceremony went ahead. And the SunTV co-hosts congratulated the ten “new Canadians” on becoming citizens.

So here’s a question: what exactly did Gourley mean by a “fake oath?” And here’s another: to whom was it supposed to be administered?

See the problem?

Why administer a “fake oath” to real about-to-be-new Canadians? Gourley had to be entertaining the possibility that the “new Canadians” would not be the genuine article. She was obviously using shorthand: “fake oath” means in this instance an oath administered when it isn’t necessary, not a different oath.

And why would Kenney’s office have opted for a “reaffirmation ceremony” if the folks taking the oath were the real deal? Clearly his office knew that the “about-to-be new Canadians” were anything but.

Who cares if the stand-ins were relatively newly-minted Canadians or bureaucrat citizens who might or might not have been naturalized? Pace Akin, our bureaucrats are “real Canadians” too. Reaffirmation is reaffirmation—all Canadian citizens may re-take the oath. The point is that all ten were represented by SunTV as citizens-to-be, and there can be little doubt that Kenney’s office knew that would be the case. Why, after all, comb through the rolls of recent new Canadians to take part in a reaffirmation ceremony in which any citizen can partake?

Collusion? You betcha. It’s right there in the documents. And the only thing more pathetic than the staged swearing-in itself is the barefaced lies being told after both parties were caught at it. And the spinners, spinning, spinning, until we all grow dizzy.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on February 2, 2012 9:06 PM.

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