Geeze bureaucrats piss me off!

Posted: June 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

Geeze bureaucrats piss me off — especially those devious but less than artful dealers in weasel words who are employed by Ministers of the Crown to answer straight forward queries made by earnest citizens, such as myself.

As a case in point, I recently wrote our Prime Minister asking, with characteristic politeness, why labour leaders invited to the Canadian Labour Congress convention in May were denied entry visas. The response completely evaded the question I had asked but assured me that my email had been forwarded to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration who, the Prime Ministerial factotum was sure, would “appreciate being made aware of [my] views.”

Diane Finley, Minister of Citizen and Immigration, who may -- or may not -- appreciate my views

Finley: appreciative of my views?

Well, however appreciative Hon. Minister Finley might have been (at left: are the shades in the official pic indicative of an unwillingness to reveal her inner thoughts, or are they merely cool? But I digress.), her Ministerial Enquiries Division was less than helpful. Not only was my initial question not addressed in the Ministerial Missive I received today, the response went into great detail explaining how I might get information on all manner of things that I had not mentioned.

By now I was feeling less polite. I responded with less typical sharpness: “In response to your totally unhelpful and needlessly bureaucratic reply to my request for information to the Prime Minister, I am a citizen of Canada who is outraged that Canada would bar people invited by the Canadian Labour Congress to its 2008 convention. My email to the PM was quite clear and to the point. It is disappointing that your response is anything but that.”

I pressed “send” and within seconds received the reply: “This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification. Delivery to the following recipients failed.”


FYI: The chain of correspondence follows. At the very least, you will get some potentially useful web site addresses. But then again, maybe not.

May 28, 2008
Dear Mr. Harper,

I wish to know why labour leaders invited to the Canadian Labour
Congress convention were denied entry visas (see below). In a world
where dialog and understanding should be encouraged, the exclusion of
these foreign labour representatives is incomprehensible.

I await your reply,

Paul Graham
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Middle Eastern and African Labour Leaders Refused Entry to Canada

May 26, 2008
TORONTO — The Canadian Labour Congress Convention in Toronto opens today without invited guests from the Middle East and Nigeria. Our Embassies in Tehran (Iran), Amman (Jordan), Tel Aviv (Israel), and our High Commission in Lagos (Nigeria) have refused visitors’ visas to our colleagues without explanation.

‘Why are delegates to our Convention denied the opportunity to hear from the labour leadership of these countries about workers’ rights situations and struggles in other countries, especially when they happen to work in development projects co-funded by the government of Canada?’ asked Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. ‘This situation is totally absurd.’

The decision to deny them entry seems arbitrary in the extreme. Despite repeated attempts to appeal the decision over the last weeks, all we have received was an e-mail saying that ‘when Visa requests are not granted, privacy considerations prohibit them from divulging the details of their decision.’

‘The working men and women who will attend the Canadian Labour Congress’ Convention in Toronto want a better explanation than this,’ Ken Georgetti concluded.

The CLC has invited international guests without incident to many functions for more than 50 years including many of those currently refused visas.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site:

May 29, 2008
Dear Mr. Graham:

On behalf of the Prime Minister, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail regarding Canada’s immigration policy.

You may be assured that your comments have been carefully considered. As the issue you have raised falls under the responsibilities of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, I have taken the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to the Minister, who, I am sure, will appreciate being made aware of your views.

Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. For more information on the Government’s initiatives, you may wish to visit the Prime Minister’s Web site, at

L.A. Lavell
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister’s Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

June 10, 2008

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