Suaad Mohamud appeared before committee today. Heretofore, I sensed a dignity about her, but to actually see her testify, brought that and many more qualities to the fore.
If you consider just how recent her ordeal was, to come before parliament now was a feat I'm not sure many of us could undertake. Her motives are clear. What was done to her was wrong and she does not want to see it happen to anyone again.
She clearly time-lined what happened to her and though I knew most of the story, I was still appalled. She maintained her composure until she mentioned her son. It was apparent to me that he was paramount in her thoughts all the while she was dealing with the abuse. Something I hadn't known was, early on, officials laid out some photos, one of which was her son's and she identified him immediately. They ignored that.
Her testimony was honest, moving and all at once frightening.
The Liberals apologised, the NDP apologised, not sure about the Bloc on that point, but they were clearly taken aback...the Cons? Well, they mostly attacked.
To be fair, they did not attack the witness, well not outright. Brian Jean at the end showed himself to be a completely classless individual, by trying to push Mohamud to commit that she'd sign a release (releasing herself from privacy) stating that ALL info from a government report could be made public. There were insinuations in his question (and Goldring's) that are beneath contempt, mostly relating to the fact that she was aware that agents were taking bribes and she would not succumb to that.
They didn't come out and say it, but it felt to me, (my sense only) that they might be trying to use that as a way to discredit her or at least defend themselves. I'd invite you all to watch for such a development.
Beyond that, it felt as if the Cons were seeking a commitment from Suaad, that could/would/potentially direct the government in terms of what they put in the report.
Con MP Galipeau, imho, is past his prime. He rambled, thought it appropriate to make a joke that really wasn't one and tended to dismiss all by saying 'sometimes things fall between the stools'. I'm hoping that's a French Canadian expression that I missed along the way, because it sounded bizarre.
The kicker though was MP Deepak Obhrai. If ever there was a reason to worry about travelling abroad, this man is it. Oh, he very sympathetically looked at Suaad and said he comes from, well, I'll have to go back and listen, but he made it sound as if he was from her village. That ridiculous comment aside, he then went on excoriate Lib MP Dan McTeague. Agree or disagree with McTeague, there is no question that he takes these cases seriously, has experience and has always fought for what is right on these issues. McTeague, while in government, was parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister, the same position that Obhrai holds.
That didn't stop Obhrai though. No siree! It in fact fueled him. He accused McTeague of calling civil servants racist. McTeague has never said anything of the sort, but facts are meaningless to this man. In fact, when asked to support his accusations, he pompously said he doesn't have to do that.
Excuse me? When did the Conservatives pass a law that said you can defame/libel without supporting evidence?
It was interesting really, watching Obhrai trying to twist all that has been said about the Conservative government and deflect it to the civil service. I still can't find the pretzel shape in my mind to describe what he was doing. Every single fact that has come out, the government is obviously not taking responsibility for. Obhrai suggests that the civil service is in charge of everything, which of course is antithetical to how the Conservatives operate.
And of course there was the old saw, the Liberals started this. Yawn. Galipeau even had the audacity to point out that a treaty mentioned earlier on, was signed by Trudeau.
Sigh, they still don't seem to realise that they have been in power for almost 4 years.
Perhaps by the time they do, they will be back where they are more comfortable, sitting in opposition, still fighting to keep certain people out of the country.