Candice Malcolm: Why the Maryam Monsef case matters


(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

Maryam Monsef was born in Iran, not Afghanistan as she once claimed.

Most Canadians have now heard about this story, and most fall into two broad categories.

Either they are sympathetic to Monsef’s story, believe she is the victim of a tragic childhood in war-torn Afghanistan, and consider her birthplace controversy another iteration of the hardships of being a refugee.

Or, they are skeptical of Monsef’s story, concerned about the legal implications for a person whose citizenship application is likely to have contained false information, eager for the law to be applied equally and worried about how a person can reach a top position of power in the government without basic facts about their life coming out.

I fall into the latter category.

I don’t believe Monsef is being forthright about her past. Her changing story, her time spent in Iran as an adult and her unwillingness to answer questions has led to major credibility issues in my mind.

And because I’m skeptical, I’ve been asking a lot of questions.

I’ve written more than a dozen articles — news reports and opinion pieces — uncovering facts and sharing my analysis about this evolving controversy.

While we at the Sun have been following this story closely, some other journalists have decided to ignore it.

Because these journalists appear to fall into the first category — sympathetic with Monsef and not skeptical — they seem to have decided facts are somehow irrelevant.

Some have decided it’s their job to attack me for asking questions.

For example, on Tuesday evening, CTV reporter Glen McGregor began berating me on Twitter for my interest in this story.

He claimed Monsef is a victim of “a clearly Draconian law” passed by Stephen Harper.

This is Liberal party spin, and it’s simply not true.

The law that may have been broken in Monsef’s case was passed in 1974 and has not substantially changed since.

But CTV’s top political reporter is using incorrect information to defend...(Read more)