Monday, May 11, 2009

Dhalla does Debbie

I see that my former member of parliament, Ruby Dhalla, is much in the news lately, being accused of illegally employing immigrant nannies and then mistreating them.

A lot of stuff about Dhalla has been surfacing almost daily. One of the things that caught my attention was that fact that she has one of the highest staff turnovers on Parliament Hill. This is a sure sign of a bad boss, but, in my experience, many politicians make bad bosses, particularly if they have had no good prior experience in management. They are a paranoid, untrusting, micromanagement lot.

The high turnover in Dhalla’s office may explain the fact that the only time I contacted her I never got a reply. I had sent her an e-mail asking if she supported her fellow Liberal Keith Martin’s private members bill to reform the Canadian Human Rights Commission. An office aide sent me back a standard reply that my message was being forwarded to Dhalla. Three weeks later, I sent a reminder. Four weeks later, I sent another reminder. I never did get a response.

Mind you, my situation has not improved any. I am now in the riding of Jim Flaherty, the Finance Minister. When I was formerly in his riding and he was an Ontario cabinet minister I also sent him a question. I never got a reply from him either.

Ruby is very popular in Brampton. I recall when she first ran and put “Dr. Ruby Dhalla” on her election signs. I thought that was highly pretentious, but then I heard she was trying to distance herself from the image of a steamy Bollywood actress. Still, I don’t consider chiropractors to be real doctors, so it still seemed a bit pretentious.

I have been reading the letters to the editors and the blog commentary sections of the newspapers and we are getting the usual allegations of racism: She is a woman, she is South Asian, the media are mainly white males, and they are trying to do her in.


This is a woman who considered running for the party leadership which means she has pretensions to being Canada’s Prime Minister. She is not a retiring wallflower backbencher. The charges against her are serious no matter what her sex or ethnic origin. The only thing that might not work to her advantage is that she is very lovely and people do like to see the bright and beautiful laid low.

I hope the allegations prove to be false because I think Dhalla brings a lively and colourful dimension to federal politics. Plus, she is easy on the eyes.

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