On the same day we are hearing from the three fired members of Rights and Democracy at the Foreign Affairs Committee (see below) comes an op-ed in the National Post by R&D board member Marco Navarro-Genie. And what a gong show stinker it is too.
According to Navarro-Genie, the Foreign Affairs committee is involved in “a kangaroo court” orchestrated by “the coalition-government- wanabees (Bloc-Liberal-NDP)” to “try and then convict good Canadian citizens whose only crime is to do their duty to look out for Canadian taxpayers”:
“They have concocted one fantasy in which Harper government neo-cons sought to destroy the ‘independence’ of Rights and Democracy, and a second fantasy in which pro-Israel foreign policy has been imposed on an innocent staff only interested in human rights. How wonderfully irresistible for Harper Haters and Israel Bashers.”
“There never was an ‘Israel issue’ at Rights and Democracy,” states Navarro-Genie, and then goes on to complain that the Foreign Affairs committee is beginning its hearings into the R&D controversy “starting on the first day of Passover which reflects its attitude toward Jewish Canadians.”
Particularly egregious is his statement that now deceased president Beauregard’s widow is being “dragged before Parliament by ghoulish Opposition members.” This after the Con committee member Jim Abbott filibustered the last meeting for its entire session with the precise intention of preventing her appearance after she had publicly requested permission to appear in a letter to the committee.
Navarro-Génie ends by saying “Only the board, maligned as it is, wants to protect the organization and the taxpayer,” a stirring ring of endorsement for R&D which would have greater credibility had he and the other board members not already written previous editorials in the National Post doubting whether R&D had any right to exist.
So what has put the wind up Navarro-Genie this morning?
Here are two notable moments from witnesses at the committee today:
One. Remember R&D interim Chair Aurel Braun’s “discovery” that $10,000 each had been awarded to “toxic anti-Israel” organisations Al Haq, Al Mezan and B’Tselem by R&D to document human rights violations committed during the invasion of Gaza?
Panoussian testified that he had told Braun of the three one-time grants — which represented .2% of the R&D budget — within the first hour of his first briefing with Braun on Braun’s first day on the job. If true, so much for “The board discovered the information only by diligently pursuing the facts.”.
Two. Secretary of the Board Marie-France Cloutier testified that after Mr. Beauregard informed the Board in a March 2009 meeting that “Rights and Democracy would not participate in any way in the Durban Review Conference even if invited,” Aurel Braun asked her to “change the minutes of the meeting to attribute this decision to himself and the board” instead. She refused, offering to bring his suggestion up at the next meeting for a vote. Yes, she’s been fired.
Written evidence from the three fired R&D witnesses here.