Consider these problems that demand the attention of Canadian lawmakers:
- The Great Recession — the impending collapse of General Motors and the deepening trough of economic malaise around the world
- The Tamil protests in Toronto that verge on civil violence and which the authorities seem powerless to resolve
- The wave of gun killings and gang violence that has scarred the streets of Vancouver and Toronto.
And what were Ottawa’s politicians focussed on this week? A dispute between an MP and her family’s servants, carrying all the soap opera elements of high comedy, tears, and doubtful protests of people who think they’ve been badly treated.
The media have covered the testimony before the House of Commons Immigration Committee of Ruby Dhalla, the Brampton MP, and her accusers, Magdalene Gordo and Richelyn Tongson. There’s no need for me to repeat any of it.
So what have we learned? Essentially nothing. The care-givers in the Dhalla household told their stories, but could provide no independent support for their complaints. Ms. Dhalla forecefully rebutted their testimony. If anything, she may have been too forceful. It would not have hurt her to have shown empathy for the obvious distress of the care-givers.
The Committee hearing was all bread and circus. If there’s been any violation of federal laws governing immigant care-givers, or of provincial laws setting out pay, hours and working conditions, it is up to the responsible authorities to take action.
Controversies of this type do not belong on the agendas of House of Commons committees.
Let’s hope this fiasco on Parliament Hill has put an end to the matter. Eventually, the voters of Brampton Springdale will register their own judgement — the one that counts.