Something’s fishy in Ottawa

Scientists from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were pressured to write speeches helping government MPs explain the collapse of salmon stocks, the Cohen Commission has been told.

Surely when nine million salmon disappear, the role of scientists is to provide factual information, not write speeches to make politicians’ lives easier. But on the day this story broke, things started looking even fishier for the Harper government.

Bruce Carson, a senior advisor to the prime minister, was accused of using his political access for personal gain.

Meanwhile media recently reiterated other disheartening news: the “in and out” scandal involving allegations of improper election spending; the un-tendered contract for fighter jets; a minister of the Crown’s doctoring of an official document; a different minister of the Crown using official government letterhead to solicit political donations; the government of Canada being found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to provide financial details of its tough-on-crime agenda, the cost of stealth fighter jets and corporate tax cuts, thereby triggering an election; and the government’s last-ditch hopes of buying its way out of this, by pacifying the Bloc Quebecois with a $2 billion cheque to Quebec.

Shall we drop in and see how the newly-minted speech-writers from Fisheries might handle all this, if called upon to broaden their skills?

“To fish, or not to fish?” No, nix that. “Friends, Parliamentarians, Countrymen, lend us your votes. We come to bury questions not to raise them.” Nope. Not quite right. How about: “Let the people sleep, perchance to dream that nothing’s rotten in the state….”

What a challenge for our fish scientists. Even Shakespeare would throw up his hands.

Barbara Lambert