Oda admits she ordered memo to be doctored
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda admitted that she ordered a document to be doctored to deny funding to the church-backed aid group Kairos.
The word "NOT" was written into the text regarding funding for Kairos, so the initial recommendation of giving money was reversed.
"The 'not' was inserted at my direction," Ms. Oda said in the House of Commons Monday. "Given the way the document was formatted allowing only for concurrence this was the only way to reflect my decision."
The House of Commons foreign affairs committee has voted 6-4 in support of a motion rebuking Oda, and is asking the Speaker to rule if parliamentary rules were breached.
So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is standing behind his minister, CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reports.
"A senior official said Harper will not throw (Oda) under the bus for an isolated incident and he think she's doing a good job as minister and she's apologized," Fife said.
Speaker Peter Milliken rebuked Oda last week over what he called a "very troubling" case. But he said a procedural rule prevented him from ruling on whether Oda misled the Commons and broke its rules.
The case concerns the Conservative government's decision to deny funding to the church-backed Kairos group. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney initially said it was cut off because the government didn't like the group's views on Israel, but Oda insisted it was a routine decision.
While aids groups argued the Tories cut off aid to groups whose views didn't match their own, the government said bureaucrats at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) made the decision.
But documents in December show that CIDA officials signed a documented recommended funding for Kairos before someone inserted the word "not" into it, overruling the recommendation.
Liberal MP and foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said the problem is that the doctoring "gives the impression that CIDA recommended the change, and that's not what happened."
"And that's important because for a long time the government's defence not to fund Kairos was … ‘This was a CIDA decision,'" he told CTV's Power Play.
Conservative MP Rick Dykstra responded on the program: "To try to shuffle and move this as being a conflict between the ministry and the minister is completely unfair."