Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Are You Goading us George?

Like others, I noticed George Young's query as to why no one on Liblogs seems to be posting on the Dhalla allegations.

To be honest, I've watched it unfold a bit today to try to understand it more clearly.

Let me say at the outset, that if indeed any of this proves to be true and is about her, not her brother or mother, then indeed whatever legal action is appropriate should take place. That said, since this broke, I've had an uneasy feeling about it.

This is not the first time that Dhalla has been attacked. There is a pretty powerful group opposing her, not the least of which is the Conservative candidate Parm Gill who has the support of Jason Kenney. That makes me uneasy.

Yesterday in QP, there was a tag team of sorts that began with Olivia Chow lobbing the most obvious accusations to Kenney for reply, which was followed by a similar attack line of questioning by Conservative Calandra, again lobbed to Kenney who could barely contain his glee at having yet another opportunity to push the point. That made me uneasy.

Today, well the Conservatives were practically salivating at the chance to raise the issue. Kelly Block (Con) got the ball rolling,

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the ontario minister of labor heard about the member springdale household paying living caregivers less than the minimum wage. Confiscating their passports, and forcing them to perform humiliating tasks not in their employment contract. These are serious accusationS. The ontario minister of labor has admitted that he's been sitting on the aless for two weeks, essentially protecting his federal liberal cousins. Will the minister of state tell the house what options are available to these female caregivers and others facing abuse?

Kenney: Mr. Speaker, the same labor standards protect all workers in canada, whether they are foreign-born caregivers or not. If the caregivers were paid less than the ontario minimum wage and provincial labor laws were violated, I do hope that the ontario labor minister applies provincial labor laws consistently and doesn't give the federal liberals any special treatment. For far too long, mr. Speaker, women in particular, our immigrant women, have been victims. They have been afraid to fight back, and our message to them is simple: They do have rights. It does not matter who they are up against, even if it's a member of parliament, the government will protect them.
(per closed captioning)

Lois Brown (Con.) , then got into the act using the opportunity to paint the entire Liberal party with a rather bizarre, but predictable broad brush. Kenney responded as expected.

While none of that surprises me, it has quickly become partisan and nasty before any of the allegations have been substantiated. Note the highlighting of women and immigrant women by Kenney. Didn't a recent poll mention that those were two areas that the Libs were faring well? Thus my lack of surprise at the tack being taken.

The last aspect that makes me uncomfortable about all of this is my memory of how the PM, no less, went after Navdeep Bains based on allegations about his family.

The question I suppose is would I have jumped on this had it been a Conservative MP? Maybe, but generally I like to know more about an issue before blindly wandering in. In fact, it seems to me that there was an issue concerning a Conservative MP recently that I stayed away from for precisely that reason.

I guess George is also asking whether or not we treat one of our own with more deference? Probably, but I'm not sure that is unnatural. However, that doesn't automatically translate to not taking the allegations seriously and expecting that it will be dealt with in a full and transparent manner. Nor does it mean that I would jump to her defense at all costs.

I guess it's wait and see at this point.

More at Impolitical and Far and Wide.


penlan said...

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I'm waiting for these Con MP's to say something outside of HoC. Easy to make slander & libelous statements there as they have immunity there.

Dhalla lives with her mother & brother & we do not yet know if it was them who may have done these things. If they are true.

The wait & see attitude is best. Truth is what's important. I, too, feel an unease about how this is playing into the hands of the Cons sneaky agendas. Like it's planned.

To be "goaded" by George surprised me. Like you, I wanted some time to find out more, think about it, etc. Why is George in such a hurry?

Dhalla did the right thing by resigning her post while the situation is being investigated. Can't say the same thing about any of the Cons - & there have been many. Bernier the only exception.

Anonymous said...

The story was broken by The Star, not a Conservative-leaning paper. If you actually read the story and remove the partisan blinkers for a second, you will realize it is actually a lot worse.

Two women may have been taken advantage of. Don't you need to take their side, or does being Liberal mean that everything has to be viewed in a us-versus-them context?

KNB said...

Indeed penlan, you have a point about Conservatives not stepping down.

That said, she and Ignatieff did the right thing here. Let's see how it plays out.

KNB said...

OMG anon! The Star broke it! It must be true! What a hoot coming from a Conservative.

Does that now mean that the Star is no longer the 'red rag'? Do you mean to tell me that you actually credit that horrible left leaning, socialist, newspaper for doing their job?

You are admitting, aren't you, that they reported the story as they found it? You see, that is what they are supposed to do.

As for me reading the story, did you read my post? I read about 10 stories in fact and a transcript of her telephone conversation with the Star reporter. Some of us actually do some homework before spouting off.

Why would I take anyone's side? Nothing has been substantiated. If they have been abused, I will come to their defense. If Dhalla has been falsely accused, I'll come to hers.

See, it's easy.

Steve V said...

"The story was broken by The Star, not a Conservative-leaning paper."

Now the Red Star is the keeper of the truth flame. This is actually an admission to balanced journalism. The horror! Amazing.

Cari said...

I feel very uneasy about what is happening here. Ruby says she will get the ethics commissioner to look into it. The cons are dying to smear will not be the first time. Why would these two nannies go to Ontario Liberal MPPs first..that is odd to me. What really is going on?

Anonymous said...

Dhalla's political career is finished, no matter which way you look at it. Iggy will drop her like a hot tandoori. Just you watch.

RuralSandi said...

I think Ignatieff has handled like mature person should.

He isn't standing up for her or attacking her - he's waiting until the facts come in.

Dhalla - an MP since 2004 and allegations (movies, etc.) just come in in the last few months? Weird.

Is she being set up?

Why did these women come forth after all this time?

If it is her brother - then he should stand up like a man and say his sister is not involved.

If she is guilty - then she has to take her lumps.

It just doesn't feel right.

Dame said...

I posted on this subject On "Far and Wide " as one who has intimate knowledge about these workplaces and what I see in newspapers is pure garbage aimed to create a "scandal" and stick it To the Libarals generally.
These kind of work include some work with the Clients and the living space /household/ of the client...
I don't believe there was no work description before Hiring ...
And why not quit if the individual felt she was in an abusive situation and not aid fairly?

RuralSandi said...

First of all they aren't nannies (that's for kids)- they are homecare workers for "adults/elderly".

The $250/week - is that "above" food and lodging?

Did the workers accept the conditions when hired?

They are hired to do what the elderly can't do for themselves - not sit and watch TV all day. We got a homecare worker for my mother-in-law years ago and I was going over on weekends to do the work she was hired to do (clean the house and give her lunch whilte we were at work)- she watched TV all day and took money from my mother-in-law we found out. This was at the beginning stages of her having Alzheimers. We didn't report her like perhaps we should have, but we did let her go.

People forget there are two sides to every story.

KNB said...

Dame and Sandi, while I have no tolerance for abuse in these situations, I would agree that there are a lot of unanswered questions and 'fishy' circumstances being thrown around here.

Most interesting is how the Conservatives are trying to kill two birds with one stone, going after the provincial Minister as well.

Not just the Cons, incidently. The NDP DiNovo (MPP), is demanding that the Lib. Immigration Minister be fired and asking if Dhalla will be thrown in jail.

I go back to my comment in the post about the tag team here. It wouldn't be the first time that the NDP and the Cons worked together to go after the Libs.

Anonymous said...

Indeed penlan, you have a point about Conservatives not stepping down.Please don't get all pedantic and start saying "but.. but... the Conservatives don't".

Let's try to keep a higher standard.