What passes for straight-faced, these days. . .

Yesterday, Foreign Affairs minister John Baird declared the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development done and stuck a fork in it, saying something along the lines of "it's time to put the past behind us and move on into the future." Deep, that. But not, I'm thinkin', nearly as deep as the fork thrust. I digress.

Baird claimed fiscal responsibility among other justifications, and opined that the formerly-respected NGO's functions would be better rolled up into his department. Possibly, he meant "just rolled up".

There was, sure as hell, dysfunction. The argument that killing the group was the kindest thing to do is at least plausible. The last couple of years were the exact opposite of pretty. Rights and Democracy was under attack by ideologues, and its board of directors was hallmarked by vicious infighting, including one meeting in 2010 that appears to have led, hours later, to the heart attack and subsequent death of the president at the time.

But examining that dysfunction, it's hard not to think that the Cons themselves caused rather a lot of it. Although begun by another Con PM, Brian Mulroney, Rights and Democracy was non-partisan in pursuit of its international goals and was respected for this, worldwide. It held this in common with a good many late, lamented, Canadian international efforts that the current government has seen fit in its, ummm, wisdom, to spike.

Most seem to fall afoul of the Harper Government's malign indifference to any international negotiations not involving either blowing crap up good in faraway places, or resources ripped unceremoniously out of the ground with scanty oversight, and sold quick. Disliking what they saw there, the Cons attempted to stack the board with partisans that would turn Rights and Democracy into something they could truly love. Which may or may not have had anything to do with actually promoting global rights and democracy.

The cons screwed it up. Then, yesterday, scrammed it for being screwed up, with what these days passes for straight-faced sanctimony in that increasingly dysfunctional house on the hill.

Hey. I wonder if they think they've screwed up Parliament enough, yet...?

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