Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why Is Curling Recalled?

When I was growing in a 3rd world country, some friends of my father, who were ambassadors to foreign countries, knew that their postings were temporary, until the government changed. When a new party would rise to power, the party leaders would appoint their own friends and inner circle to lucrative foreign posts. I never knew such a tactic would be present in Canada.

By mutual consent, most ambassadorial positions are appointed to men and women who deserve the honour, and their loyalty is mostly to the country rather than to a particular political party. Even if the Senate is a centre for patronage appointments, most of the Senate appointees are lawyers, judges, businessmen and other prominent figures in Canada's political scene, and their loyalty is to Canada first and foremost. They are a safeguard against politicians trying to leverage short term gains.

Canada's "New" Government must explain why it recalled MPP Alvin Curling from his post as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, a post for which he quit as MPP and Speaker of Ontario Legislature. He was the first black Speaker of a House for Canada, and served as MPP for over 20 years.
He [Curling] could think of no reason for being axed other than partisan preference, explaining he must have fallen out of favour with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He added: "I didn't come with a Liberal agenda; I came with a Canadian agenda."

A spokeswoman at Foreign Affairs said the department does not comment on appointments, and calls to the PMO yesterday were not returned.

Curling joins a growing list of Liberal-appointed diplomats who have been recalled - a not-unusual practice with a change in government.

After the Conservative victory in January, some resigned from their posts, such as Frank McKenna, the former New Brunswick premier who stepped down as ambassador to Washington, and former federal minister Allan Rock, who resigned his post at the United Nations.

Others are slowly being called back. In July, former MP Stan Keyes was recalled from his position as consul general in Boston, and, this month, former MP Karen Kraft Sloan's position as Canadian Ambassador of the Environment was abolished.

Last week, former MP Yvon Charbonneau was recalled as Canada's ambassador to UNESCO.

"I think Harper is being overzealous," said Delores Lawrence, president of Operation Black Vote Canada, which encourages black Canadians to participate in politics. Members of the black community are "very disappointed and very upset by this," she said.
- [Star]
Yesterday, Prime Minister Harper was out of town when the house apologized to Maher Arar, a man the Prime Minister at one time called a "suspected terrorist". When Conservatives think why they cannot get more votes from the immigrant or multicultural communities, they should ponder on the optics of a case such as this. No wonder we don't see the Conservative Party as one of our own.

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1 comment:

Jason Bo Green said...

Truth to tell, this is the first I've ever heard of this story - sharp eyes, Mezba.

(I've actually recently started to get a feeling that Harper is about to undo his own success by overdoing fervour and zest)