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Jason Kenney – ministerial overreach in the Ruby Dhalla nanny controversy?

That title would be in reference to whether Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is perhaps overplaying his hand in this whole question of whether a couple of nannies were not treated well by Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla and/or her family, and politicizing the Department of Immigration in an attempt to help get Dhalla de-elected, and get Jason’s pal Parminder Gill elected to that riding which Dhalla currently represents.

Now, some of you’ll say of COURSE I’d say that or wonder that, being a Liberal blogger and all. Of COURSE other Liberal bloggers are wondering about all of this, because they’re biased too. But, they and I are not the only ones wondering it – there are more then a fair number of the media publicly musing about it as well:

Some examples?

Aaron Wherry:

Really, seriously, Jason Kenney can’t comment. To do so would improperly politicize the situation and we can’t have that. Surely everyone can agree on at least that much. That said, Mr. Kenney’s spokesman would like to alert you to a “Liberal cover-up”

– From Susan Delacourt (who’s back to blogging at the Star by the way, if you hadn’t noticed):

At the immigration committee this morning, I was a bit surprised to see the Immigration Minister’s assistant, Alykhan Velshi, handing out some documents to reporters. It was three pages, stapled together — excerpts from this material, available on The Star’s website. The title: “Was Ruby Dhalla involved in the hiring of the caregivers?” What surprised me most was the active participation of the minister’s office in a committee hearing. Perhaps I’m naive, but I believed Mr. Kenney when he said he wasn’t allowed to get personally involved in any immigration case. That sure looked like personal involvement to me..

From Adam Radwanski:

..the close proximity of Kenney to this story – one he’d have done better to keep a healthy distance from and let play out on its own … highlighted the troublingly blurred lines between his duties within the government and within his party. You can’t be simultaneously in charge of the country’s immigration policy and your own party’s efforts to recruit ethnic voters without facing a potential conflict of interest on a daily basis – especially if you’re a win-at-all-costs type of politician, as Kenney certainly is. And his dabbling in Dhalla’s riding alone suggests he’s not handling that potential conflict especially well. That he appeared at a Sikh parade alongside Parm Gill – Dhalla’s Conservative opponent in the next election – isn’t a huge deal. But the fact that Kenney brought Gill along with him on a recent trip to India – a trip that was made on behalf of the government of Canada, not the Conservative Party – is a little odd. And it’s all the more so given that Gill was apparently freelancing to reporters that more Punjabi youth would soon be let into the country, which seems to have had less to do with government policy than with scoring points with voters. can’t simultaneously be in charge of overhauling immigration policy and wooing specific immigrant communities away from the Liberals without getting the two roles hopelessly entangled.

Just saying… it looks as if Kenney and his department and the Conservatives in general got too partisanly cute by half with this.


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