The Laith Marouf/CMAC incident took another turn today as Globe and Mail has a report that the Prime Minister’s Office knew for a month that the government was funding an anti-semite as part of its anti-hate program. And it did nothing.
I have written previously about how calling out government ministerial silence on this issue led Liberal MP Chris Bittle to suggest I am racist and a bully. I have written about the shameful silence from virtually all but Jewish MPs, leading MP Anthony Housefather to call on all to speak out (I also discussed this with Housefather on a Law Bytes podcast). I have written about the embarrassing solitary Canadian Heritage hearing, in which Minister Ahmed Hussen was evasive in answering questions and the time for discussion with department officials was lost over an unnecessary hour-long debate over whether to call Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez to committee.
There can no further evasion. If the Heritage committee does not conduct oversight over Heritage programs and department responses, who does? All relevant officials must step up and appear. Indeed, there are now so many questions that dealing with anything other than this or Hockey Canada at the Heritage committee is an abdication of responsibility. Questions include:
- What due diligence – if any – was conducted in awarding money to CMAC?
- Why did Hussen say nothing for a month?
- Why was Hussen’s first response to call on CMAC to investigate itself rather than take government action?
- Why did the PMO say nothing for a month?
- If Hussen announced a response on August 22nd, why did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still wait nearly a week to release a statement?
- Why has Rodriguez still not released a public statement?
- Why did the CRTC not ensure there was a full process before approving the funding for CMAC?
- Why did the CRTC not now take steps to review its approval of funding for CMAC?
- What are/were the consequences for officials involved? For the Minister? For those defending remaining silent?
As we wait for answers, I can’t shake the reality that the Minister knew for a month. The Prime Minister’s Office knew for a month. And they did nothing.