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Julian Fantino: The Perfect Antidote to Bev

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When Jackie Robinson shattered the Major League colour bar, the commissioner and Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers ensured that he was a man of great character and values who would not jeopardize future black athletes competing in the majors.

Jackie Robinson lived up to every expectation. On the mid-April anniversary of his first Major League game, all players wear his number (42), as a tribute to his greatness.

When Bev Oda became the first Japanese-Canadian to be elected an MP (in 2004) and first one to be appointed to the cabinet (in 2006), it seems Prime Minister Harper cared not a fig about her ethics, her values, or the impression she'd create as minister for International Cooperation.

Whatever she is, she was no Jackie Robinson.

Diplomacy and Bev Oda were strangers, if not enemies.

She's finally been fired -- persuaded to resign, if you like -- and the PM even thanked her for the job she'd done, and indulged in nonsensical rhetoric about her "guidance" in saving the lives of "mothers, children and newborns in the developing world."

He didn't say a word about her lavish spending of taxpayers' money on herself.

No once, not twice, but whenever she could. When caught moving to the fanciest hotel in London while her delegaton staff were billeted in a hotel that was merely luxurious, and when nailed for spending $1,000 a day for a chauffer and limousine, she apologized and paid a token amount back.

One feels her "regrets" were at being caught, not for looting the till.

Bev also was caught ordering a staff member to add the word "not" to a report that recommended funding for KAIROS which, among other things, describes itself as advocating "social change" and "deliberates of issues of common concern, striving to be prophetic voice in the public sphere." And so on. More nonsense.

Fair enough to cut off funding, but Bev Oda initially denied knowledge of the change in wording, then said she was sorry. She was charged with contempt of Parliament.

Nor was she reluctant to chew out staff and civil servants in public -- a sort Kamikaze approach to employee relations. Ontario's non-smoking laws were for other people, and few dared to suggest she lead by example and butt out in the office.

All in all, hardly an encouraging icon for young people to emulate.

And I haven't even mentioned orange juice that cost taxpayers $16 a glass.

Bev's background is in T.V. -- another media type elected to the gravy train.

As minister in charge of CIDA, she brought changes and accountability that were needed, and hadn't been exercised until her roughneck approach intimidated even CIDA's "do-it-our-way" dogmatism. They'll be relieved she's gone.

Meanwhile, it's unlikely her successor, Julian Fantino, is addicted to $16 orange juice. More likely is that he'll provide tough leadership when it comes to international aid programs, and will keep the CIDA gang under ideological control.