Sunday, December 23, 2007

Will Pablo Rodriguez Speak Up?

Rodriguez has some questions to answer as well

In a recent op/ed piece published in the National Post, Ian MacDonald raises an intriguing point:

Pablo Rodriguez rarely asks questions in English.

In fact, during this past session of Parliament, Rodriguez asked a single question in English. He asked an additional seven in French.

Yet, MacDonald notes, when Rodriguez appeared before the committee, to address Brian Mulroney (who speaks fluent French), he asked (in English), "Mr. Mulroney, you said you made no presentation to Maxime Bernier on the wireless spectrum issue. While he was the industry minister, have you ever had a private or public dinner or lunch with him in Montreal, or any other city? Have you ever met with him at all? If so, how many times, in which city? Have you ever placed a telephone call to him, or has he called you? On any of those, did you discuss the wireless spectrum issue?"

MacDonald asserts that the question was crafted "with lawyerly precision", and his assessment may not be altogether unfair.

To add a caveat, to treat the innuendo stirred up by noting that Rodriguez uncharacteristically asked his question in English as conclusive of anything would be unfair. However, to discard the suspicion it raises out of hand would also be altogether unreasonable.

To put it simply, it raises questions about who wrote -- or, rather, helped him write -- this particular question, but by the same token there are plenty of reasonable answers. Certainly, a Liberal staffer could have helped him translate the letter into English, and craft it with such precision.

But, by the same token, why ask the question in English at all when Rodriguez's self-noted language of preference is French?

Perhaps someone listening to the answer prefers to communicate in English.

On the other hand, Rodriguez could have simply been asking the question in English as a courtesy to Mulroney, whose first language is English. It seems a reasonable tactic to ensure a straight answer from Mulroney.

But who, other than Rodriguez, knows for sure?

For his part, Rodriguez claims that he was "inspired by what I saw on TV, inspired by the questions in the House of Commons, inspired by the fact that Mr. Bernier never wants to answer questions."

Now it's time for Rodriguez to answer some questions about his relationship with the as-yet-unnamed CBC reporter.

This is merely another reason why a public inquiry should be held. Otherwise, Canadians may never get the answers they deserve.

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