The document concerned government funding of seven million dollars to the Kairos alliance of religious groups involved in international development projects. Oda inserted the word "NOT" into a report (or she ordered the insertion to be made), reversing the decision for funding.
To repeat for the benefit of the people (Harper included) who don't seem to understand the issue:
A Cabinet Minister overruling the recommendation of her officials is perfectly acceptable.
But that is not the issue.
It is a red herring offered by Harper that Oda had the right to overrule the bureaucrats.
There is no justification for altering a document to hide the fact that she had done so is deemed OK by this government.
A Cabinet Minister lying to The House and a parliamentary committee is definitely not acceptable.
And a Prime Minister should not be commending one of his ministers for doing so. He should be firing her if she does not resign.
This is more than an integrity issue. A legal document was altered after it was signed. It is illegal to do so.
Even if it wasn't a legal document per se, it is a document signed by other people, which Oda altered to make it appear as though the other signatories recommended the denial of funding. It is a falsified document. That is forgery, which is crimina fraud.
The "NOT" was hand written on the document. If this was done before it was signed, then it would have to have been initialed. If it was done after it would have to be initialed by all parties and and dated.
But a document that concerns seven million dollars that has "NOT" hand written in is
a defaced document and is void. It reverts to a draft document.
Oda was also caught in a lie and possibly an attempt to deceive a Parliamentary committee and Parliament. If Harper does not understand that allowing this to pass as though it is insignificant is evidences either his complete contempt for the fundamentals of parliamentary procedure or his lack of understanding for why those procedures must be upheld. Either explanation reveals him to be one of the least responsible Prime Ministers Canada has ever had.
If Harper cannot see the seriousness of Oda's actions, he should not be Prime Minister.
To allow this to pass without, at the minimum, an acknowledgement of wrong-doing and an appology by both Bev Oda and Stephen Harper is completely unacceptable. But in truth, one or both of them should be dismissed.
Bev Oda claimed that she did not know anything about the change. Then she admitted she directed that the change be made (presumably she did not want to soil her hand by printing "NOT"), but she claims not know whom she directed.
Now it is solely her decision, but she can't/hasn't explained why she reversed her own department's recommendation. Perhaps Harper hasn't briefed her on this yet.
It is not as if only partisan opponents of Harper are calling for Bev Oda to be removed from Harper's Cabinet.
Oda must resign, says the Ottawa Citizen.
Oda must (not) stay, says the Calgary Herald.
Oda discredited for misleading Parliament, says the Vancouver Sun.
Oda, Kairos, should both be pruned, says the Toronto Sun.
Oda should resign, or be fired, says National Post.