Because of the oppressive fact that, unless I was able to produce something in writing to explain my absence, I was expected to attend school every single day it was open, I became, for the duration of my teens, an expert on the alteration of documents.
I'd make a follow-up appointment while at the dentist to get the appointment card. Then I'd cancel and rebook the appointment by phone. An initialled (simply done) card got a student out of school as easily as the note the dentist supplied after an appointment: two afternoons off instead of one.
I kept a file of appointment cards in my purse, alongside a museum-quality collection of differently coloured Bic pens. I'd flip through these cards to see if I could leave school whenever I felt the need, which was often.
Skipping class on the date on the card was easy, but I could also alter a card. Feb. 7 could become Feb. 17 or Feb. 27. I liked to keep my schedule flexible.
Obviously this kind of attendance meant that other documents in my life needed to be altered. I could change a B to a B+ on a report card easily, but then, who couldn't? It was more the need to change a D- to a B that took me out of the bush leagues of forgery.
This was done only if my parents demanded to see the report. If they didn't, I'd simply sign it with my mother's name and return it as required – because the first thing (and possibly the only thing) I learned in school was this: Don't ever let them see your mom's real handwriting in the first place.
All this is to say that if the Honourable Member for Ottawa West-Nepean, John Baird, was accurate when he stood up in the House and said the Honourable Member for Durham, Bev Oda, has been “brave” and “courageous” in carrying out her responsibilities as Minister of International Co-operation, it makes her a hero and inspiration to budding young frauds everywhere.
Sure, some of us were, and I imagine still are, capable of changing a C to a C+, but very few of us are “courageous” enough to change a C into a “NOT a C.” This is essentially what Ms. Oda did when she (or so she now claims) arranged for a recommendation prepared and signed by the Canadian International Development Agency to be altered to state that CIDA did “NOT” recommend that funding for the church-based foreign-aid organization Kairos be continued, when in fact continuing funding is exactly what CIDA did recommend.
This wasn't a matter of changing $7-million to $3.7-million in funding. Any of us could've done that. This was no such small feat. Fraudsters, we've found our saint.
Not only did Ms. Oda give a false impression regarding what CIDA had recommended, she oversaw the alteration of a document already signed by two signatories and possibly herself so that it would support her claim, if and when the document were ever to be examined by complete and utter morons.
And before you think that this is mere child's-play, getting-out-of-gym-level fraud, Ms. Oda then stated at a Commons committee in December that she did not know who had altered the document – only to announce this week that, oops, it had been her.
And then, on the subject of what sure seems like a lie to the House, she read something that all had the cadences of an apology but none of the confession or remorse.
“If some were led to conclude that my language implied that the department and I were of one mind on this application,” her statement read, “then I apologize.”
Possibly she was referring to the language she used in October of 2010 that indicated that she and the department were of one mind on the application or the signed document she tabled in April of 2010 indicating the same thing. That language.
Wow. Respect from the losers in the smoking pit, Ms. Oda. That takes guts.
Or at least it would take guts if a fraudster weren't certain that the principal was onside – the way Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been standing by Ms. Oda – or worse: Some of us remember which guy apparently likes to work with a pen.