Speaker Milliken Rules that CIDA Minister May Have Misled House

March-14-11

OTTAWA – On March 9th, 2011 the Speaker of the House of Commons ruled in favour of MP John McKay’s point of privilege alleging that the Minister of International Cooperation was in contempt of the House after it came to light that she may have knowingly misled Parliament.

After cutting CIDA funding to the faith-based NGO KAIROS after a 35-year relationship, the Minister claimed numerous times that CIDA officials had advised her not to renew KAIROS’ funding, arguing that the officials felt that KAIROS did not meet the government’s foreign assistance criteria. However, in response to an Access to Information Request, documents revealed by CIDA show that the officials had recommended that the funding continue and that someone in the Conservative government had overturned the recommendation.

The ruling confirms the deep concern the Speaker expressed in his earlier Feb. 10, 2011 ruling where he said:

“The full body of material gives rise to very troubling questions. Any reasonable person confronted with what appears to have transpired would necessarily be extremely concerned, if not shocked, and might well begin to doubt the integrity of certain decision-making processes. In particular, the senior CIDA officials concerned must be deeply disturbed by the doctored document they have been made to appear to have signed.”

Said McKay: “By ruling in favour of the point of privilege the Speaker of the House has officially stated that the Minister may have committed a very serious breach of Parliament’s and Canadian’s trust. But it is clear that the order likely came directly from the Prime Minister, who will go to great lengths, no matter how unscrupulous, to silence anyone who dares criticize his government. The documents show that they may have even gone so far as to mislead the Canadian people and their representatives.”

“The list of authoritarian behaviour is as long as it is disturbing – prorogation, firing respected public official who disagree, intimidating whistleblowers, journalists, university professors, and veterans by allowing party officials unauthorized access to their medical records, and now possibly misleading Canadians, just to name a few.”

“Canadians have to ask themselves if it’s possible to trust a Prime Minister that is concerned only with power, and who will erode our democracy and our basic rights as citizens to keep it.”

Hon. John McKay P.C., M.P.
Scarborough-Guildwood