Is it just me? (3)

Way back in May 2016 I asked “Is it just me? Or have the Liberals, suddenly, gone tone deaf?” By summer, after “scufflegate,” the PM and the Liberal Party seemed to get back on track and on message, until December and January when cash for access and winter vacations and ministerial ineptitude seemed to remind us that the Liberals are, generally, entitled and self-indulgent and all too frequently corrupt.

Now, even the Toronto Star, generally a reliable Liberal journal, wonders if the PMO has lost touch with political reality. Bruce Campion-Smith, writing in the Star, says that “the road trip — which continues on to Quebec, Prairies, and B.C. — has taken on partisan overtones as Liberal MPs hosting Trudeau at some of his Ontario stopovers are using their websites to glean personal data of those who want to attend.” The “road trip” is, of course, the cross country tour “which kicks off Thursday in Ontario, was originally framed as an effort by the prime minister to reconnect with Canadians on their Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas, Caribbeanpriories,” but it may also have been designed to deflect attention away from the prime minister’s vacation on the Aga Khan’s private island which ~ since he says he took the Aga Khan’s private helicopter from Nassau in the Bahamas to the island must have, pretty certainly, broken written, black letter conflict of interest rules that, inter alia, prohibit ministers from travelling in private aircraft. Now, the PM could have chartered his own helicopter or hired some sort of air-taxi to take him 100 miles offshore, but he, like Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan and his husband, who joined the PM on the private island,  said that he and his family were flown to the island on the Aga Khan’s private helicopter … and while that’s OK for a back-bench MP like O’Regan; it’s not OK for a cabinet minister or the prime minister, according to Justin Trudeau’s own code of ethics. The problem, as the Globe and Mail makes very clear in an editorial is that “The federal Conflict of Interest Act is very clear about how something like this is to be handled: “No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the (Conflict of Interest and Ethics) Commissioner” … [and] … It does not appear that Team Trudeau sought such prior approval; it is not clear why, if sought, it would have been given.” That’s it in a nutshell: Team Trudeau knew that the prime minister was going to break his own conflict of interest rules but they didn’t care because he’s “entitled;” they decided to try the dishonest course of action: keeping it a secret.

I think the prime minister himself, and Team Trudeau, have lost the plot: they have bungled some key election promises and they may have to break several more in order to cope with President elect Donald Trump’s nationalistic agenda. I was and remain willing to cut some slack for a rookie prime minister and a new government; I advocated giving them the benefit of the doubt … maybe I was wrong. Maybe they are, just, the same old Librano$ with a fresh, new face 

You know, Rona Ambrose is and Stephen Harper was very comfortable chatting with all comers in a coffee shop or visiting the troops in the field …

… of course they have and had “advance men” and teams to smooth the way, but the management of the Trudeau tour seems excessive. Perhaps Team Trudeau understands that the pundits are right and that he’s just a “trust fund kid,” part of the 1%, who cannot connect with the 99%. Well, many Canadians voted for Change and we’ve gotten it. But, as former BC (NDP) premier and federal Liberal cabinet minister Ujjal Dosanjh suggests, maybe it is time to shuffle Team Trudeau, itself because, as he says, “Trudeau’s inner circle/PMO is mainly responsible for the mess he faces. His PMO team requires strengthening, whether by addition or subtraction. It certainly needs overhauling substantially, if not fully.” In any event our prime minister looks both weak and corrupt at the same time; we all Canadians deserve better, don’t we? … but maybe that’s just me, expecting too much.

One thought on “Is it just me? (3)”

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