Sunday, January 21, 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

Onetime Liberal MP Sarkis Assadourian says he never did a day's work after being appointed a special adviser to former Prime Minister Paul Martin. Asked if he regrets accepting Martin's job offer and giving up his seat, Assadourian said: "I regret knowing him as a person." That seems a bit harsh.

Mr. Assadourian makes no mention of the fact Mr. Martin did subsequently appoint him first to the Immigration and Refugee Board and later as a Citizenship judge. Presumably these are paid positions, and it is highly probable that he could safely do nothing in either job but still be paid. It is unclear what Mr. Assadourian’s qualifications for either job might be, save for the fact that he was born in Aleppo, Syria.

Mr. Assadourian might safely have remained in comfortable anonymity doing nothing, but for the fact that his name has been bandied about as a result of the floor crossing of former Liberal Mr. Khan. The Liberals are upset because they suggest Mr. Khan isn’t doing anything for the Conservatives as the special adviser to Mr. Harper on affairs in the Middle East. Doing nothing while a Liberal MP is all right, but doing nothing for the Conservatives puts Mr. Khan beyond the pale. The Conservatives have countered with Mr. Assadourian’s claim that he didn’t do anything for the Liberals either, suggesting a pattern when it comes to Liberals.

Mr. Khan’s credentials for being a special adviser to the Prime Minister are somewhat of a mystery. He is a former pilot in the Pakistan air force. I suppose that infers he has had many occasions to observe the Middle East from 30,000 ft. He might still have some friends in the Pakistani military, no doubt he has told Mr. Harper and Mr. MacKay that he has. I confess to being less than sanguine about the value taxpayers are getting from Mr. Khan role as special adviser, to say nothing of my assessment of Mr. Assourian’s contribution to Canada past or present.

All of this is rather confusing to a simple fellow like myself who doesn’t expect to get paid for doing nothing. I don’t even expect to take on a volunteer job where I don’t have to do anything – what’s the point of volunteering seems like the obvious question to ask.

It just goes to prove that the whole world of politics has proven to be more confusing than I could ever have imagined. More and more I see validated the proposition that my vote for the Rhinoceros candidate John Eh McDonald in 1980 in Vancouver was my most informed and gratifying act as a voter.