The problem with trying to make the Federal Cabinet as representative as he can is that PM Stephen Harper is sometimes forced to appoint ministers who clearly are in over their heads. Take the current Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, who spent several minutes yesterday in an interview with Bill Carroll on the CFRB Toronto radio station responding to questions about the delivery of body bags to native communities as part of H1N1 flu preparations.
I don’t believe I have heard a less inept attempt by an MP to explain anything on radio or television. She said she was offended by what had happened, but also claimed not to know the full facts and had ordered an inquiry into the situation. She also said what happened is unacceptable, insensitive and offensive—all without having the full facts of the case, by her own admission. The rest of her statements were confusing and barely coherent, leaving radio host Bill Carroll almost at a loss for words.
Our northern communities deserve representation at the cabinet table and there is a political imperative to provide it whenever possible. There does, however, need to be better matching of the person to the post than seems to have been done with this cabinet appointment.
Sadly I find myself agreeing with Bill Carroll’s assessment, which went something like: if this is our health minister with a major flu epidemic on the way, we’re in big trouble. I think that’s a fair paraphrasing of his comment.
Ms. Aglukkaq needs to be less concerned with knee-jerk political correctness and more concerned with straightforward delivery of explanations of her ministry’s policies and practices.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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