Thursday, May 07, 2009

Feeding Frenzy

Sorry folks. The more this goes on, the more suspicious I become. Everyone with a vested interest to slam the party has jumped on the bandwagon here and even those without such an interest, some journalists and panel show hosts, seem to be delighting in the story.

Robert Fife for the second night in a row was quick to tell Ms Dhalla what she should do next. Exactly when he became her communications director is a beyond me. I'm not suggesting the story should not be reported, but could we actually discuss some facts here.

According to Don Martin, the complainants haven't worked for the Dhalla's in over a year. So why are they coming forward now? Then there is this story. A third worker has now come forward to complain and states the following:

Unlike the other two workers, who were nannies, this woman was hired as a housekeeper. In an interview with the Star, the woman said Dhalla’s mother, Tavinder, worked her so hard she had no choice but to quit. She had to wash all the floors while on hands and knees daily. She also had to shampoo the rugs each day at the four-bedroom home.

If I can be a little bit facetious for a moment, it must have been hell trying to live in that house on a daily basis. I mean all the floors and carpets were wet, every day? Have you ever shampooed a carpet? This is not a 'quick dry' proposition.

That bit of obvious pragmatism aside, this woman and the others said that they were hired by and dealt directly with Ruby Dhalla. With all this in depth reporting you think we would have seen some kind of contract or other document with Ruby's signature wouldn't you?

I don't know. This just doesn't feel right somehow. I heard that the Immigration Committee is now going to call these witnesses. The fine upstanding, non-partisan, young Poilievre stated that it wouldn't be a show. Uh huh. Let's just see shall we. Do you think CPAC may limit that particular meeting to audio? Nah, didn't think so.

Robert Fife is simply ecstatic at the fine investigative journalism that is taking place. When you think of all the things that could have been investigated by the media since this government took power, it's astonishing that just as the Liberals seem to find their feet again, it's suddenly in vogue to do some homework. I'm just sayin'. Both Fife and Panetta said that they are now going to go after Ruby's mother. Lovely.

Why isn't there more digging on why the government is preventing Abdelrazik from coming home? Or Omar Khadr? Oh wait, they aren't sexy stories are they?

Look, as I've already said, if something is wrong here, by all means it should be exposed, but as it stands at the moment, it's not adding up for me. This feels like a pile-on and if it is, I hope the investigation on that side of the story will be just as rigorous.

Update - Told you so. That cranky, Liberal hating Tilson is the chair of this committee is just too rich.

Update 2 - And here we go with going after her mother. No rules were broken, but hey, let's write about it anyway. One odd thing, housekeepers seem not to be allowed. How is it then that the agency, (from an earlier linked story) provided one? Hmm. Maybe the investigation should extend to the agency, no?

Impolitical's take here.


Anonymous said...


I don't prejudge outcomes but three women coming forward?

She should be kicked out of caucus until this is settled.

My MP Blair Wilson in the last Parliament was kicked out for possible Elections Canada irregularities. He was cleared.

Liberals grow up. It may not be fair - this is politics.

Anonymous said...

Let's get her out of Caucus until she clears her name.
This smells bad and it is now a trio of accusers against her.
I don't want Ruby Dahlla taking my Party down!!!

Steve V said...

"I don't want Ruby Dahlla taking my Party down!!!"

OMG, could you be any more pathetic "anon"?

What a sight today, listening to Bob Fife tell listeners to go to the Toronto Star, to read real investigative journalism, so rare today (as opposed to NOTHING he contributes to the national debate). I've never heard such fawning praise for a newspaper from CTV. Funny, I don't recall the same for the Ottawa Citizen when they broke the story about the Cons stealing the 2006 election. Come to think of it, that story never quite seemed to be the LEAD two day in a row either.

This is turning into a witch hunt.

Karen said...

Anon 1. Do you want me to go through the list of who should be kicked out the Con caucus? It's long.

This isn't politics. This is garbage and some people seem to be comfortable sitting in it.

Karen said...

Anon 2. I doubt there is any way that Dhalla could take down your party...unless of course your party set this up?

Karen said...

Wasn't Fife a pip today Steve?

It seems to be completely lost that these are just allegations.

Blood...Sharks and some media trying to make their mark.

Now, I understand that the guy who broke all of this has been working on abused immigrant worker stories for a while, so I don't begrudge him that. It's the rest of the pile on that I have a problem with.

sjw said...

I say let these paternalistic troglodytes have their fun attacking this young and intelligent woman of colour. Do they really think it will do them any favours with anyone outside of their ritualistic, loony base? I think not. As a commenter over at the Globe and Mail said today in regards to Lawernce Martin's piece on the Vic Toews bilingualism spat:

"Mr. Toews and his party are quite phenomenal. They absolutely love to campaign against themselves. Canada's New Government. Strong.
Decisive. And thick as a plank."

So fucking true.

Anonymous said...

Sorry KNB, so far there are too many questions left unanswered.
Ms. Dhalla is doing the right thing at the moment but she should work harder to clear her name. If not, she will suffer from the taint of inappropriateness.

I don't understand why Dhalla seems to be distancing herself from the hired help - it was all under the same house and yes, she would have been aware.

You talk about a contract or documents - it should be up to Dhalla to produce these and clear her name... less she was paying them under the table...

Yes I agree that it does not add up - it does not add up all around.

Karen said...

sjw, it may well do them some good in that riding. The Cons have been gunning for her for some time.

In the grand scheme, no. Where it matters, yes.

Thick as a plank is true though.

Anonymous said...

The Dhalla lawyer did provide documentation which is posted on the Toronto Star. What it shows is that the women were paid $250/week by the mother, the brother applied to the government program at a higher rate of pay (using his number for room and board, this rate would be about $320/week), and one woman signed a letter saying the brother had her passport for immigration purposes. Ruby Dhalla's name does not appear. The documentation raises questions about the weekly pay, but otherwise seems fine. The forms say the work is 8 hours a day with Saturday and Sunday off and includes personal care and housekeeping.

Then you have the verbal allegations that the actual situation did not match the written documentation. What kind of documentation do you think Dhalla could provide to clear her name?

Karen said...

cwtf, it's been one freaking day! If you suddenly were charged with something yesterday, would you have all your eggs in a basket ready to present to the world today if you'd never heard of it before? Please.

The documents should be easily accessible from the agency so willing to give up all the other info, no? Why would Ruby have anything if she never had anything to do with it?

It doesn't add up, period. You're right on that.

Karen said...

What kind of documentation do you think Dhalla could provide to clear her name?I know it's not directed at me, but good question anon.

Given what you have said, it would appear thus far that Ruby herself had no dealings in the matter.

cwtf, there is also the consideration to be made of how a South Asian household may operate. It's all well and good to suggest that she would know, based on your life, but that excludes the reality of what hers may entail.

wilson said...

''Gordo and Tongson were sent to work at the Dhalla home by Akemi Taniguchi, who runs a placement agency from her tiny North York bungalow.
Taniguchi said she dealt mainly with Ruby Dhalla and placed the women after the MP assured her she could expedite the necessary work permits.

"I was told that she could work on it right away because she's an MP," said Taniguchi. ''

Aurelia said...

Having hired many many housekeepers, I can tell you that not once did I ever sign a contract with any of them.

No one EVER does at that level, not retail employees, not Mcdonalds, not housekeepers/cleaning ladies. And for an occasional employee, most are paid cash, which is legal, unless they are employed long term.

The only reason the documents exist for the live in caregivers is because Immigration wants them. But once they get their open permit, and immigration isn't involved, it's all verbal.

As for the pay--go here

Revenue Canada decrees that live in caregivers be charged $85.00/week for room and board. If you give it away for free, you must tax it as an EI insurable non-cash benefit.

So take their hourly pay rate, 9.25 multiply it by the number of hours, 40. then subtract 85/week. Two weeks pay deduct 170. Take the net dollars and put it through the magic linky machine from Rev Can and you will have very little left after taxes and EI and CPP. My quickie calculation is $505.40.

Which is why the net they gave her looks so small. It is however absolutely the average net pay that a live in caregiver makes.

A few months ago when I was filing my nannies T4s, it was so complicated I had to phone Rev Can and ask some advice.

The bureaucrat on the phone told me that I was paying my nanny way too much, way more than most and I should find someone cheaper!


(P.S. his paperwork looks like shit, it would have been much neater and done right if he hired an agent to file it all. Frankly, corporate tax returns are easier to do than those nightmarish forms...)

Anonymous said...

Aurelias, my heart bleeds. eyeroll.

Aurelia said...

Anon, my eyes were rolling because I like to pay my nanny a decent rate, as is my decision. She is a wonderful woman who deserves good pay.

So who the hell is the government to advise me to pay domestic workers less? And then they go yelling at those who do? pfft

Anonymous said...

A conservative tells a bad black humor joke and the outrage is sensible.

A leading liberal apparently enslaved poor immigrants, and the outrage is "suspicious".

Spoken like a true Liberal.

Anonymous said...


the more Liberals rally the wagon around modern day slave owners,

the more they tie their party to this horrendous act.

"Liberals for slavery and exploitation of immigrants" Has a nice ring to it.

penlan said...

It is no coincidence that all this crap hit the fan immediately after the Libs Convention. Why? Simple. To remove any bounce in the polls the Libs might have gotten from the Convention. This would then make the Cons look like they're holding steady & possibly even rising in the polls - which could happen after this onslaught.

It's imperative that the Libs remind the public of the scandals within the Con Party that haven't been cleared up yet (like In & Out, or another one, take your pick).

IF Dhalla is guilty of these infractions then she has to, & will, pay her dues for this. To paint all the Lib MP's with the same brush on this issue is ridiculous. No Con MP's were painted with the same brush when issues arose with a particular MP (Lukiwiski & his gay bashing, eg.).

And, yes, added to all of this is why is it that these 2 women suddenly come forth after more than a year of leaving the Dhalla's employment. Odd. Add to that the salivating by the Cons to get their own candidate, Parma Gill, elected in Dhalla's riding & other attacks, not credible, on Dhalla in the last year or so. She is being targeted & there's no doubt about that. This will all be cleared up at some point, one way or another. It's not instantaneous, these things take time & there is due process - just like everything else.

That last statement is for C_WTF. You attack on this issue but where are your words on the Con issues, like Cadman, In & Out, just 2 of many others that are still not resolved, yet you want instant answers with this one? Please, get a life.

Anonymous said...

That last statement is for C_WTF. You attack on this issue but where are your words on the Con issues, like Cadman, In & Out, just 2 of many others that are still not resolved, yet you want instant answers with this one? Please, get a life.I find the double standard, hypocrisy and assumptions for certain Liberals to be astounding, bordering on the farcical.

Penlan, do you know how I feel about Cadman, In & Out and others? I am quite outraged by them. But, lets not forget that the Liberal does not have the political will to push these issues. Harper drops the Cadman suit and Liberals say "Thank you sir"... The "In and Out" is still before the court.

You have quite the temerity and shallow mindlessness.

This is hardly an attack. It does underscore that Liberals are nothing than partisans hacks - on the same level as Conservatives. Liberals are no better finger pointing babies....

For those complaining about the "timing" should look to the round-table meeting that occurred two weeks ago. The 800 that these women were told to call did not work.

There is now a third worker that has come forth.

But of course, to Liberals, this is different, because it always is ....

penlan said...


"Penlan, do you know how I feel about Cadman, In & Out and others? I am quite outraged by them."

No, I did not know as you do not have a blog. You comment at other's blogs frequently & it's always some negative comment about Ignatieff or the Libs. I've never seen you comment about Harper et al. & if you have I've never seen any of them.

"You have quite the temerity and shallow mindlessness."

And I love kids wading pools too!

RuralSandi said...

Reminds me of what the Cons/NDP coalition tried to do to Goodale during an election.

What's bothering me is Kenney. He's a cabinet minister - supposed to be statesmanlike, fair, etc. Why the hell does he have that constant smug look on his face as if he knew something? He doesn't pass the face test.

Also, under the circumstances, should these nannies/caregivers/maids or whatever their positions were be doing interviews (gasp CTV of course)?

Anonymous said...

Penlan, I hold the Liberals to the same standard that I do the Conservatives.

I am quite outraged by the Cadman affair and have posted about it on this blog. The "In and Out" is another issue that I have heavily criticised.

If you want to go back, I'm sure that those post are easy to find.
Once, I criticised the Conservatives for their pro-Isreal slant - only to see the Liberals take their views. Now when I write about that, it's being seen as anti-Liberal...

RuralSandi said...

Hmmmm....interesting comment (I've pasted it from Morton's Musing blogsite):

With all the discussion about whether this is in the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commissioner:

"What if, just what if, the Ethics Commissioner has been brought in because maybe, just maybe, Dhalla has something on another MP who may be involved with the smear? That would be reason to call in the Commissioner wouldn't it?

I know this idea is far fetched, but really, does anyone really know what's going on?


penlan said...


You & I are on the same page about many issues, believe me. If these allegations about Dhalla are true then I would expect her to leave caucus. But not until proven. I don't condone the mistreatment of ANYONE by ANYONE.

I still find it circumspect the way this suddenly arrived in public view, after what seems to be a fairly lengthy time, by these 2 (3) women. Not being able to reach an 800# isn't reason enough for this not to come out sooner. There are other avenues to be used which it seems they supposedly did.

I am not on the same page as Ignatieff & the Libs in regards to Israel & the Gazan horror either. And there are many other issues.

wilson said...

''It is no coincidence that all this crap hit the fan immediately after the Libs Convention.''

It's an ugly scandal, but really, how could the CPC get the McGuinty Liberals to stage an immigrant meeting to set up Ruby?

And that isn't the start of this.
It started with the Toronto Star investigative journalist doing an indepth story weeks before.
Go to their website, it's really good journalism, for onece.

Your Ruby got caught in the Toronto Star story, it was not a trap set by anyone.

What makes it soooooooo juicy for the CPC, is the Liberal slogan
'we take care of the most vulnerable'
and your newly crowned leader is a human rights expert.

Reid said...

You Liberal conspiracy nuts don't actually believe the RedStar broke this story when they did to help the Conservatives do you?


Karen said...

Reid and Conservative anon's, no one is accusing the Star of anything. In fact, I've as much as commended the reporter for his work overall.

I'm not convinced however that the Conservative party has been hands off in this whole thing. Dirty politics isn't exactly new to the current crew.

Typically, your comment is just one of the red herrings that seem to be kept in great supply and thrown out there when mood strikes.

Karen said...

wilson, it seems to me that the provincial Libs didn't go out seeking these individuals. Who set up the meeting? Who urged them to speak to the Minister?

Aurelia said...

BCL say that no complaint has been lodged as of yet....and it's closing in on a week.

Guess the Star can't find the 1-800 either?

Mark McLaughlin said...

You're absolutely right LAaM, this is nowhere near as important as those horrific Con scandals that got so much attention.

- Gerry Ritz's cold cut joke
- Tom Lukiwski's 20 year old gay joke
- Vic Toews's marital affair

When an MP gets busted doing something stupid, it's bad. When they get caught doing something illegal (allegedly) it's potentially career ending, and brutal for the party.

You're spin is making me dizzy.

Karen said...

Mark, I guess the spin is making you dizzy because you're the one spinning.

Did I mention any of those issues?

Karen said...

Aurelia, that's weird isn't it?

Maybe they think they no longer have to go through the proper channels with all the publicity they are getting.
That incidently is all Fonseca was recommending they all do. BTW, he told them that the number wouldn't be active until the following Monday.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic is all I have to say. Liberals defending an MP currently under investigation for slavery. Blair Wilson is a good example. Out of caucus until she is cleared. I doubt it will happen as the allegations come from the Liberal Star.

Throw Dhalla under the bus and protect the party. She is not recovering from this.

Niles said...

Interesting, how the plethora of *slavery* accusations are all coming out of the usual talking point trolls. Programmed much?

By that definition 'little money for long hours of legal service work' with a presumption that there is no recourse to other employment, many minimum wage workers are slaves. And all I seem to hear about on the minimum wage issue is how we shouldn't burden small/medium business with wage increases and union organization for working conditions.

Talk about equating *human trafficking* to the vague statements made thus far in this one unofficial labour complaint that has involved employment agencies, government agencies, government officials and big city media is outrageous in and of itself.

Why not equate apples to apples? I would be happy to see *all* MPs and provincial reps presently employing live-in household service bring forth their payment paperwork and affadavits from said employees to attest no such impositions are being done in *their* situation.

What? We shouldn't force all MPs to prove they're not guilty of such accusations? Why not? Seems an entire party is getting the wide brush on less. Why shouldn't we spread it to *all* politicians are dirty employee-abusing scumbags? Where's the line?

I'm disappointed in DiNovo and the NDP demanding jail time before anything criminal has even been charged.

I'm also disgusted by the usual suspects dragging out the 'now the ambitious hottie bitch gets hers' sexist glee card. Oh look, let's reduce the politician to how you'd hit that now she's been slapped down from her uppity pedestal.

Leapin' hindbrain lizards bubbas, crawl to the frontal lobe will ya? See what the view is like from there for a change.

penlan said...

"I'm disappointed in DiNovo and the NDP demanding jail time before anything criminal has even been charged."

And that no complaints from these women have even be filed yet.

penlan said...

Go & read this, gives a lot more info on the Dhalla side which the press is not reporting.

Thankyou Jeff!

Anonymous said...

Yes Penlan, Jeff has a good link, I really enjoyed Kady O'Mailey's comment...

My favourite part was when he got in first one, and then a series of fights with a series of reporters over the substance of the very first question, refused to let his client speak, attacked the media – both in general, and specifically the “one outlet” that has been especially naughty, got into a debate with yet another reporter over whether he should let his client speak, and was finally beaten to the microphone *by* said client when she realized what a disaster it was turning out to be, whereupon he did his best to interrupt *her*, and eventually bid everyone a good day.

Worst. Lawyer-dominated presser. Ever.