When an election looms, no turd is so smelly that you’re not ashamed to pick it up and hurl it at your enemies it seems, especially when one’s gullible constituents must be pandered to and manipulated.
Here’s the unedited text of Leona Aglukkaq’s mendacious reaction to the Senate’s vote of concurrence on Nunavut’s new Official Languages Act, which replaces a similar law inherited from the Northwest Territories.
When you read it, bear in mind that the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, dawdled over the language law issue for most of the past decade. Their process started in February, 2001, then crawled along for seven and a half years.
The Senate, on the other hand, got its work done in nine days:
Message from the Minister of Health, and MP for Nunavut
Nunavut Official Languages Bill
I am pleased the Senate has adopted the Nunavut Official Languages Act.
I introduced a motion in support of the Act in Parliament on June 2nd. But it was held up by the Liberals in the Senate.
When Nunavut was created in 1999, Nunavut inherited the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act. English, French and six aboriginal languages had official language status. This did not reflect the unique, linguistic reality of Nunavut. Over 70 per cent of the Nunavut population speak Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. Very few speak other aboriginal languages.
Nunavut adopted a new Official Languages Act in June 2008. It recognizes English, French, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun as official languages of Nunavut, and establishes official language requirements for the Legislative Assembly. This will help to preserve the Inuit language and culture and to establish mechanisms so that Inuit will eventually proudly control their institutions, speak their language and manage their future. It’s unfortunate the Liberals tried to stop this.
However, yesterday, the Liberals finally accepted the motion. Our Conservative Government will continue to work with Nunavummuit to support our culture and heritage.
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health Canada – Santé Canada,
Minister Responsible for the North,
Note the shameless distortion of reality: “It’s unfortunate the Liberals tried to stop this.”
The statement doesn’t, of course, acknowledge the Senate’s constitutional role as a chamber of sober second thought. When senators voted June 2 to delay their vote of concurrence on the Nunavut Official Languages Act, they simply did the work we pay them to perform on our behalf.
The Senate standing committee on legal and constitutional affairs did what they’re supposed to do. They took a second look at the bill. They invited a long, predictable list of Nunavut office-holders to comment on it.
In just seven days, the committee produced a decent report, which contains a useful section on the history of language legislation in the northern territories. They also made five recommendations. The first four are pretty bland but the fifth, a recommendation that the Governor General of Canada also concur with the bill, would, if carried out, appear to make the act even stronger.
Senators then voted to concur with the bill. Shame on them. They actually took the time to understand what it said before they voted.
Senator Joan Fraser, chair of the committee and one of those big bad “Liberals who tried to stop this,” had this to say:
“The committee unanimously supports Nunavut’s vision in protecting the Inuit language to ensure the survival and improvement of the Inuit social, economic and cultural well-being.”
It’s entirely possible that Leona’s statement was dictated for her by some wanker in the PMO — “Nunavummuit” is a common misspelling. All the same, I don’t know why she needs to play mean-spirited, boot-in-the groin party politics on this particular issue.
She’s a formidable politician who now has a job for life, if she wants it. The Conservative Party of Canada has realized, finally, that Nunavut is the kind of rural, socially-conservative, blue-collar riding that should have been represented long ago by a Conservative. And Leona knows how to sell the kind of populist message that Inuit voters love to hear and it doesn’t hurt that her government is spraying money over the territory with a fire-hose right now.
You would think then, that Leona should feel secure enough to be able to take the high road once in a while. Real leaders actually do that.