12.08.2016 08:41 AM

Being a contrarian, here is my defence of Monsef

From next week’s column:

A year later, the electoral reform promise is in shambles. And, when you think about it, the “democratic reform” file has been a fiasco from the earliest days.  

The minister responsible, Maryam Monsef, bears responsibility for some of that. Monsef did herself no favours by criticizing the work of an all-party committee into the issue – or by sounding less-than-candid when some conservative conspiracy theorists earlier cooked up a racist “birther” narrative to destroy her and her policy.

 But she has also been subjected to more abuse and derision than any cabinet minister since Bev Oda, she of the $16 orange juice fame. This writer’s strong suspicion is that the hostility and hatred that Monsef has endured (as with Oda) possibly had something to do with (a) her gender and (b) her race. We’ll never know that for sure, of course, but (as with Oda) Monsef’s coming punishment seems to be far, far out of proportion to the offence.   

There is plenty of blame to go around in this ignominious mess. Personally, this space is unimpressed with all of the combatants in this hellacious mud-wrestling match.   There is much to oppose, if you are a sensible person.


  1. Ron says:

    Ms. Monsef is highly committed to public service here in Peterborough. That’s why she got the nomination, and won the seat.

    I’ve often wondered if she got that portfolio because she is considered expendable. There is so much polarization now that I
    doubted anyone could ‘reform’ the system. I don’t think it’s broken anyway, why fix it ?

    But one thing is written in stone. As an MP she is light years better than her predecessor.

  2. Aongasha says:

    I’ll admit off the top that I’m a conspiracy theorist and pretty cynical about those in public life. Thus I can’t help thinking that the lady was set up by the PMO, to take the fall for a rash campaign promise, they wanted gone. As pointed out she also did herself no favours when attacking the committee. Re her ‘birther’ issue, that’s a load of hooey. The only problem there is that others right now are in similar situations & facing deportation hearings, simply because of a parent’s error. That has to change

  3. dave constable says:

    I have for decades been interested in a mixed proportional voting system. So I have followed this committee for the last six months. To defend this minister, and the PMO, on this, leave it to a real baffle gabber like of Member of Parliament from Winnipeg North. Blame properly goes to the PMO, Monsef, and the Liberal MP’s on the committee who did such good work, then, in the end, caved in so shamelssly to the PMO…to noone else.

    Even the NDP and Conservatives put party aside and compromised: NDP agreed to a referendum, and Conservatives agreed to mixed proportional.

    This ‘lots of blame to go around’ is deliberately not true.

    • Charlie says:

      That is complete and utter fucking bullshit.

      One, the NDP and Conservatives didn’t put shit-all aside when it comes to party politics: both of these factions colluded, not comprised. Conservatives agreed to PR on the condition that it goes to a referendum first. They (the CPC) know full well that a referendum would succeed in killing a clear decision. The NDP agreed to support a referendum on the condition that the Conservatives support PR and cut the Liberals out of this contrived “consensus”. Both of the NDP and Conservatives would prefer no change if it meant preventing the Liberals from forcefully (legally using their majority in the House) to implement Ranked Ballot. Its pathetic pussy-footing by both Opposition parties and they are no less guilty of partisan stupidity than the Liberals.

      Two, shamelessly caved? Its evident from your comments that you’ve seldom supported a party at the federal government that has ever succeeded in forming government. Thus, you know nothing of the realities that face a party when in government and how voting solidarity works on agenda matters. You may not like what those Liberal committee members did, but they have been every bit constructive in trying to find an agreeable approach as their counterparts. That doesn’t mean the Liberal MPs aren’t going to jump into the NDP-CPC designed set-up just to placate the other members on the committee because they found some common ground.

      Three, yes, the bulk of the blame does lie with PMO and Minister for not being able to manage the file adequately. I am just as dissatisfied with the Liberals and their directionless approach as I am with the NDP’s duplicity and the Conservative’s feigned/new-found passion for democracy. I blame the Liberals for even attempting to do this through non-partisanship and blame them for continuing this charade. But don’t shit yourself; they are all working for their own success.

  4. rww says:

    I just wish the committee had been less ambiguous in it’s recommendation and straight out endorsed MMP.

  5. Charlie says:

    Look, there are plenty of reasons to interpret Monsef’s time as minister. While I do agree that she has faced a shit-storm of displeasure in Ottawa, some of that derision has been of her own doing.

    I can only speak to the politics of it all:

    The minute it became clear that Monsef’s recollection of her past may not have been exactly entirely accurate, the Liberals should have had an immediate plan to at least decrease her presence in cabinet. Instead they chose to make her an even more prominent minister. To be clear, I completely condemn those stupid asshole “journalists” who fixated on refugee story for weeks on end; the details that emerged of her story made her no-less of a refugee as far as any sensible person is concerned and was a blatant fixation on the part of conservatives.

    Having said that, I think some of the dissatisfaction with Monsef is due to the fact that the Liberals sold her way too hard as a symbol and she ended up under-delivering. They gave a rookie MP a ministerial role that is incredibly important under this government’s agenda, they completely screwed her as far as the strategy went and then she fumbled the communications altogether. It was a mess from the beginning and I think a lot of frustrations — including from within the Liberal party — is that Monsef is not performing as well as hoped and is almost coming off as condescending as the previous government’s ministers.

    Which is why I strongly believe that she should be shuffled out of cabinet over the holiday break. If the PMO isn’t going to get their shit together as far as strategy, they should at least do something on the public relations front. This is rapidly becoming a management disaster.

  6. bluegreenblogger says:

    I don’t know much about Monsef. I think the birther thing was atrocious. It basically a sick story about highlighting her place(s) of origin. Grotesque. But her comments about her lazy colleagues were amateur and unacceptable. And her one big thing is a mess.

  7. Bill Templeman says:

    Was Maryam Monsef arrested? Hauled into court before a judge? Was she sentenced? Was she led away in cuffs and leg chains to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure while images of said shaming ritual were broadcast on national television and posted on social media for global derision? Has she chosen to resign rather than be expelled and lose her pension? What dark and devious scandal did I miss out on? I work, live and vote in Peterborough. We endured the Del Mastro fiasco and witnessed our MP become the laughing stock of the nation. I never voted for him, but lots of friends and neighbours did. Am I disappointed in Trudeau’s use of Monsef as a sacrificial lamb for their wildly irresponsible campaign boast (“This will be the last FPTP election” and we’ll do it without a referendum)? Of course. Did I initially believe them? Yes. Did Monsef make a few mistakes? Of course. Is she the right person for this file? Absolutely. I worked on her campaign and will do so again, Heaven and Donald Trump willing. Regarding the moronic smear campaign of Monsef because of her gender, birthplace, ethnicity and religion, it is time to name names: Ezra Levant, and his propaganda minions at the Rebel Media, and Candice Malcolm of the Sun. This birther rubbish needs to to be hung around the partisan necks of its authors like Levant and Malcolm. Free speech does mean free to abuse. Oh Perspective, where art thou in this moment of our greatest need?

    Here’s a local take on Maryam from Peterborough’s Electric City Magazine, a good alternative journal. http://www.electriccitymagazine.ca/2016/12/the-minister-monsef/ “I think we’ve smiled enough.” Monsef is a self-made woman, who came to this country as a refugee without any money and not a word of English or French. She knows more about courage, resilience, and perseverance than most. She is the real deal. Levant, Malcolm and their allied hate-peddlers are not.

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