Musings —10.07.2016 07:57 AM—
Alison Azer does.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion jeered and gave a thumbs-down gesture in the House of Commons Thursday when the Conservatives raised the case of four Canadian children abducted by their Iranian-Kurdish father, an incident their mother says she witnessed in disbelief and shock.
“It was the first time I felt truly disrespected and dishonoured, not just on behalf of myself and on behalf of my children but my parents,” she said. “I was truly disappointed to see the Foreign Minister exhibit such unbecoming behaviour.” It has been 14 months since Ms. Azer’s children were abducted by her former husband, a medical doctor now living in northern Iran.
I’m a big Stephane Dion fan, from way back, so I don’t believe for a moment that he was in any way making light of Ms. Azer’s agony. That part doesn’t trouble me.
What troubles me is this part, which has been eating at me since last night, when I first read Bob Fife’s story:
The senior government official suggested that Ms. Azer has not been helpful in her criticism of the government. She has accused Ottawa of foot-dragging and is asking Mr. Trudeau to call Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the situation directly.
Ms. Azer’s agony began on Aug. 21, 2015, when RCMP officers arrived at her door in Comox, B.C., to say that her children, now aged 4 to 12, had not boarded their return flight from a vacation with their father in Europe.
See that? A “senior government official” – usually code for a central agency – telling Bob “Ms. Azer has not been helpful in her criticism of the government,” quote unquote.
That is an extraordinary statement.
If any of our kids were stolen, we wouldn’t be nearly as composed or restrained as Ms. Azer. We would be losing our minds. We would be screaming at every government official, at every level, to do more.
To insinuate that Ms. Azer has hurt her case because she has been critical of the government isn’t just outrageous. It is something that should concern every citizen. That is, because she has been critical of the federal government, the federal government will perhaps punish her by being slightly less diligent in returning her children to her.
One, we live in a democracy. Ms. Azer, like any citizen, is entitled to be critical of government. No exceptions.
Two, when a “senior government official” – speaking like a coward, without attribution – hints that there is a connection between the fate of her children, and her rather mild criticism of government, we have all reached a very dangerous place.
I don’t know what the Hell is going on up there in Ottawa, lately, but they need to stop it. This isn’t just offensive, it’s disgraceful.