Tuesday, May 12, 2009

At CommitteeToday

Photo by: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

Well, in addition to the questions that were raised in my mind about this whole affair, (see my previous post on this) there were some interesting things stood out for me during the meeting.
The testimony given by the caregivers was compelling and did give you pause to consider the plight that some of these individuals endure. I have no idea what the numbers are...those who face hardship versus those who settle into a new and happy life, but certainly if some are being taken advantage of and/or abused, I look forward to the committee report addressing the issues.
Did their testimony actually apply to their experience at the Dhalla household? It's impossible to know at this point really, except to say that Ruby Dhalla denies it and seems to have documentation to refute many of the claims. Compound that with the language used by the caregivers...mental torture, physically stressed, treated as slaves... But none of this was reported until now? 15 months after the fact?
One of the caregivers, Ms Tongson, broke down and repeated over and over again, that she didn't want to go home. That struck me as being the real issue, her real issue. That doesn't diminish it. To the contrary it demonstrates the precarious position that some of these women are in, or perceive themselves to be in.
Both caregivers obviously came prepared to tell their stories and as we all know, committees simply aren't designed for lengthy testimony. I felt for them, especially given that the chairman was David Tilson who couldn't adopt a compassionate tone if his life depended on it. He was forced to cut them off and the complication of having this testimony via teleconference, only exacerbated matters. Mic's cutting out when more than one person spoke, etc.
No doubt the stress of testifying, coupled with these circumstances, had to have played a part in Tongson breaking down. Her fear of being sent home told me that was her primary reason for speaking out. Were her claims about the Dhalla's true or was there something else at work? Additionally, it came out today that she apparently impersonated Ruby Dhalla to the HRDC. That is to be substantiated by that department.
As for the caregiver, Ms Gordo, she was a little tougher. In fact, she held her ground but unfortunately her testimony changed from previous statements. She had complained about her documents being withheld, but today said that she never relinquished them. She had complaints about Ruby supervising her, but she only worked in the home 11 days and Ruby had only been in the GTA for 3 of those days. After 11 days, she quit telling Ruby Dhalla's mother, Tavinder, that she'd found a better job at a hospital through a friend.
Dhalla's testimony was good overall. She skirted a question from Con. MP Dykstra, which I thought was unnecessary. She was asked if the home in question was her residence. She tried to play that down by pointing out how infrequently she was there, but imo, that had already been established and there was no need to skirt. Other than though, her testimony was straight forward and generally backed up by documentation. She too displayed emotion. She controlled it, but it was evident to all that this has taken a toll and she is somewhat horrified that this is taking place.
The political parties, in the main, were pretty fair. The Liberals weren't terribly deferential toward Ruby, nor tough on the caregivers. The Bloc was more interested in process and aside from one snide comment by St. Cyr I think, stuck to their script. The NDP fielded Irene Matthysen, who played the kindly aunt to the women caregivers and was matter of fact with Ruby. Then we have the Conservatives.
In an unexpected move, (to me anyway), Rick Dykstra expressed a modicum of compassion toward Ruby. On the second round however, he handed over his time to, 'I never met a situation I didn't want to exploit for political purposes', Dean Del Mastro. He was sanctimonious, sarcastic and made digs for the sake of it allowing no opportunity for Dhalla to respond. His grand finale was a question that I'm sure he thought was going to kill her. 'If your home and family is so wonderful, so compassionate, so loving...if life in that home was so incredible...can you explain why Ms Gordo left after 11 days?' , (paraphrased). Dhalla then calmly explained how Gordo suddenly quit without ever having produced her documentation.
Del Mastro, once again, was extremely successful in looking the fool. Hey, credit where credit is due!
I don't know where this will all go. If Dhalla's testimony is true, this trial by news stories is despicable. Regaining a hard fought for reputation, even having been exonerated, is a tough go for a politician.
Maybe the Star reporter will spend some time looking into the other side of the story? Yea, I know. If wishes were horses...


Anonymous said...

I think this involves Jason Kenny a great deal . He wants his friend Parm Gill to take the seat from Ruby...nasty

Anonymous said...

"Is that your residence?"
She replied "No.".

He asked again "Is that your residence?".

She then replied "I visit there sometimes..."

He asked again "Is that your residence?" and she replied "Yes."

The rest of her testimony was self-serving claptrap, only half as clever as she wanted it to be...

I have no pity for Ruby and the "proof" she offered was hardly compelling.
I'm still waiting for those pay stubs - or was it all cash? This would seem foolish from someone who claims her family kept meticulous records...

The good "dr." rarely answered a question directly. But of course the nannies were well treated because they had a big screen TV....

Dame said...

I found Rubys' version is far more credible..and she had shown some documentation .
The "nannies" story changed day by day and factually wrong in many points. ?/in other words it was a fabrication .
I Think they are victims of Jason Kenny's maneuverings .
Kenny and his aide should be testifying under oath since he says conflicting things how he was involved or Not....

It was a political hack job simple as is..

It doesn't help these woman who are heroically taking these very hard low paid jobs far away from their families.

RuralSandi said...

Apparently, a promise by Kenney or someone close to him that they will not be deported - that would do it.

Maybe Dhalla doesn't own the house - her mother does and she meant that it was "her" residence. Who knows, but minor. Hardly means guilt.

And, it's reported that Kenney's communications guy was handing out stuff to reporters outside - weird/suspicious to me.

If it isn't a witchhunt (according to the Tories) then why the attacks in the HoC-Members Statements and handing out partisan stuff to reporters?

Anonymous said...

If it isn't a witchhunt (according to the Tories) then why the attacks in the HoC-Members Statements and handing out partisan stuff to reporters?All parties do this, no?

Anonymous said...

I guess she is lying also...


Karen said...

I've never accused them of lying, but I watched that meeting today and Mason didn't say those things to the committee. She obviously scrummed afterward.

And if you watched it you no doubt saw how the Con's specifically weren't interested in the greater good, but rather were focussed on Dhalla and quoting Ignatieff.

Take off the blinders here cwtf. In between the two accounts lies the truth. Outside the two accounts lies motive.

An issue that deserves attention is getting it and there is no better way to keep your cause in the window than to keep it sensational.

The Conservatives are as giddy as 5 years olds on Christmas morning and will destroy Dhalla if possible with the hope of taking down Ignatieff too.

It's as simple as that and if that 2nd scenario makes you happy, you have no more interest in seeing this country move forward than those you are constantly railing about.