Hey look: Minister Kenney’s letters (UPDATED)

From the print edition, my column revisits the letter exchange between Jason Kenney and Amnesty International.

In part I’m still just marvelling at how little coverage the whole thing received — my friend Tabatha Southey’s Saturday column in the Globe, four days after Kenney’s letter appeared, appears to be the only coverage that paper has given the whole business. Which I find odd.

But in the column I also consider the substance, and give the debate, on balance, to Kenney. Probably a lot of readers will be surprised. He’s a polarizing guy. To them I would say only this: I covered Jean Chrétien for a decade, half of it at the National Post, whose readers were, on the whole, predisposed to think the man an idiot. You should have seen the letters and emails I used to get in those days. I’m thoroughly familiar with what it looks like when people dismiss a politician’s intellect and political instincts, just because they don’t like his politics.

There is more to this Kenney-Amnesty debate that I couldn’t fit in the column. (This week’s double issue also includes new reporting by Michael Friscolanti on precisely what some of the men on Kenney’s wanted list are alleged to have done. I hope we put that story online at some point, and will let you know if we do.)  I hope to add to the story with more blog posts soon.

UDPATE: Those blog posts — three of them! — on different aspects of the Kenney vs. Amnesty story are now up. This one takes Amnesty’s side, to some extent, with a reminder that when you publish suspects’ names and photos, there’s the possiblity you’ll get false-positive identifications. This one explains in further detail why some people are angry at Amnesty, for substantive reasons having to do with the way the organization has changed its focus over the years. And this one comes up with a tenuous link to the Rights and Democracy schmozzle, in case you were feeling nostalgic.

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