On May 2nd, the Harper government staged a ceremony to commemorate the Canadarm and Canada's contribution to space exploration. Curiously, Marc Garneau, Canada's first astronaut -- who was later made president of Canada's Space Agency, and who was the first person to operate the Canadarm -- was not invited to the event. The Canadian Press reports:
Garneau was miffed at being excluded, blaming the lapse on the "highly partisan" Conservative government.
Two senior ministers, however, said museum and space agency staff fumbled the ball and that their own ministerial offices played no role.
But internal emails, guest lists and proposals show that the offices of James Moore, Canadian Heritage minister, and Christian Paradis, industry minister, were closely involved in the planning for more than two months.
Numerous draft lists of potential VIP guests included at least four former Canadian astronauts: Julie Payette, Roberta Bondar, Steve McLean and Robert Thirsk — with Garneau's name conspicuously absent.
The roster swelled to 62 names by the time of the event, though not all invitees accepted. Cmdr. Chris Hadfield participated by video link from the International Space Station.
Names were supplied by museum officials, the Canadian Space Agency and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, the firm that recently refurbished the 15-metre Canadarm, which made its space debut in 1981.This isn't the first time the Harperites have blamed bureaucrats for their own mistakes. But what is truly disturbing is the way they lie -- they do it without blushing. Their lack of embarrassment betrays their own deep insecurity.
The Canadian Press obtained the Canadarm museum file through the Access to Information Act, though no correspondence from the ministers' offices was included. Some key elements of the file were also censored.