Raif Mair befuddles Gomery and the Establishment

A great word, befuddles.

I was reading over at the Tyee today, Raif Mair latest column.

In it, he lets us know what he told the Gomery Inquiry when he was asked to testify. No, he didn’t say that Chretien should be fired, nor did he say that the Liberal party should be cleared of all wrongdoing… what he said was much much deeper than that. And apparently it didn’t fit in well with Gomerys’ Agenda… which tells you it must have been good.

Some snippets:

When my turn came I used the opportunity to tell Justice Gomery of the slipshod way I was approached and how I had protested that neither of the subjects chosen for me were suitable.

is it enough that we wait for wrongdoing to become scandalous rather than, by constant vigilance, deter it? And is the rot one infers is in government harmful to our national unity?”

What there is not is a media culture of holding governments’ feet firmly to the fire.

Pierre Trudeau once said that 50 yards off the Hill, the MP was a nobody and I always wondered why the geographical limitation. MPs individually, and in committees with real power to investigate, should hold the Prime Ministers’ Office and the various ministries to close account — they don’t because they can’t.

I’ve been there — for the politician and too many bureaucrats, the only passion greater than hiding things is the compulsion to cover up and distract.”

“If we the people cannot have a constant bright light looking into the goings on of the government, there is no democracy. Since there’s little enough democracy in the system itself we are in grave danger of losing our country unless those we vote into power, and the free press, so essential to a free people, start doing their jobs properly.”

“That, sir, is how important your deliberations and recommendations are to all who love their country and want to revive it and keep it.”

Raif, as usual, brings up very good questions. It’s no wonder that his presentation “drew no comments”. They probably thought he was a nutbar, or a knew them all too well.

He has hit the nail on the head though. Our country, and really every country that I can think of, has a major deficit when it comes to real, investigative reporting into the affairs of the government. It doesn’t matter whether your current government is “right-wing” or “left-wing” the only way to ensure that it is truly working for the betterment of the state is to ensure a rigorous oversight. We can’t rely on committees and other government organs to do this for us, because they are, by definition, run by those who would rather not be revealed. Individual legislators, AND the media must be both willing and able to expose wrongdoing when they see it.

Right now, they are able… but the willingness is sorely lacking.

To take this out of the purely Canadian context… just imagine if the media started does serious investigations of their own into UN operations. How long do you think Oil for Food would have lasted then?