Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

See. I am doing my job. Really.

The winning Tool for the 13th of December 2004 is Immigration Minister Judy Sgro. Let me count the ways…

  1. The oh so creatively named “Strippergate.”
  2. The related scandal of a senior staff member hanging out in strip clubs for official business.
  3. The apparent improper yet indirect campaign donation scandal.
  4. Denying appeals to people under threat of torture or death in their countries of origin and deporting them anyway.
  5. The obnoxious line she’s taken with supporters of the Sanctuary concept. (Don’t take this as agreement with them – I have problems with the arguments used on the other side, too.)

I could go on, I suppose, but most of her other Toolish transgressions have been relatively minor by comparison. Besides, she’s today’s Tool for a reason related to number 5.

She wants to continue to do her job “to the best of my ability” until the ethics commissioner reports in. Whenever that happens to be. Maybe before Christmas. Maybe after. Fine. The ethics commissioner is slow and will give Parliament what it wants someday. In the meantime…

Amidst the cries of the opposition calling for her dismissal and her accusing the opposition of cheap politics and cheap theatrics, she’s come up with a strategy. In desperate need of some good press to counter her obvious Toolishness, she’s reversed the decision of her immigration board and allowed two, count ’em, two, Sanctuary cases to stay in Canada pending a formal review.


Sgro is smiling and saying, “Look, the system works.” Sanctuary advocates are smiling and saying, “Look, we’re making progress on changing the broken system.” Reality is likely somewhere in the middle, a little closer to the broken end, but the point here is that she’s taking a lot of credit and trying to get some good press in the midst of all the bad by making a really loud, really visible flip-flop.

The Honourable Minister is on record as telling the Sanctuary crew that they should piss off and stop interfering in government policy that they couldn’t possibly understand. She used slightly nicer words, of course, but that’s what it comes down to. She’s not really interested in talking to them or taking them, or anyone else, seriously, if it interferes with the little fiefdom she calls a Ministry.

And yet, she’s suddenly granting stays of deportation to gather a little public support. Cheap politics? Cheap theatrics? Certainly doesn’t seem like an honest concern for the lives of the people she’s just given reprieves to.

No one is buying it, you Tool.


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