Maybe I can and should be accused of kicking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he’s down, but if so I am in good, Liberal company. Stephen LeDrew, lawyer, broadcaster and former Liberal Party of Canada president puts the boots to the PM and the PMO in a column in the Toronto Sun. (I’m quoting it all.)
“Everyone knows,” Mr LeDrew begins, “that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reconnect tour is his effort to show Canadians that he is not just a privileged Canadian, but also is capable of understanding what the average citizen is thinking … But more importantly, it is also designed to change the channel from a disastrous cash-for-access program that defies all rules and common sense (which the PM still will not abandon), and from an elite private island-in-the-sun fiasco, replete with private helicopters and a retinue of friends.“
“It is clear,” he goes on, and I agree, that “after more than a week of hard work by some terrific reporters to get the details, why the Prime Minister’s Office tried to keep this trip a secret — the Christmas holiday was at the private island of someone to whom the PM gave $50 million of taxpayers’ money to last year alone … [and] … It does not matter that Aga Khan Foundation Canada does terrific work — or that the Aga Khan is a revered man whom Trudeau has known his whole life … [because] … It just looks really bad — and does not pass the smell test — and it brings the reputation of both the PM AND the Aga Khan into disrepute. It should not have occurred, and did not need to occur.“
That’s it! It does not pass the smell test. In fact it reeks to high heaven on the sort of self indulgent entitlement that we have come to associate with the trust-fund children of the 1% in society and it stinks to high heaven of Liberal corruption.
“In a well-functioning PMO,” Stephen LeDrew explains ~ and he should know, “someone should have had the good sense to tell Trudeau just so — before the trip. Every elected official needs someone to give him or her the unvarnished truth … [or] … In this case, the president of the Liberal party could have passed along the views of the rank-and-file of the membership — except she was also on this trip! Anna Gainey should have seen it coming.” He asks: “Is there no one who has the good sense to tell the PM what works, what is defensible, what flies (or more importantly, what shouldn’t be flying? ), or is the arrogance of Trudeau’s Ottawa so pervasive that it is above the law, the rules, and above what most Canadians call “common sense”?“
“If the first explanation is the case,” he says, then “there is still time to fix it — get someone in there who does not suck up, or is at least not bowled over by the Majesty of the First Selfie … [but] … If the second explanation is the reason for these stupendously inane mistakes, suck it up Canadians, only a few more years.“
In the National Post, David Akin reports that “The federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has launched an investigation into the circumstances of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s New Year’s holiday in the Bahamas, the National Post has learned, the first time a sitting prime minister has come under scrutiny by the independent parliamentary watchdog.“
This is not the end of the world, but it has tarnished the prime minister’s image just when he might need all of his political capital to adjust his policies in the face of President elect Trump. His PMO, Team Trudeau, screwed up: they tried to keep this secret; it looks like they’re covering up; they failed. least, as Brian Gable, drawing in the Globe and Mail, suggests: the honeymoon may be over.
In my opinion both Gerald Butts and Katie Telford have to go, now … they have screwed the pooch because, I suspect, they are more loyal to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s social-eco agenda than they are to the Liberal Party of Canada or to Prime Minister Trudeau himself. Political insiders are often agenda driven … but Prime Minister Trudeau has not been well enough served by someone in his office and Butts and Telford, as his key assistants, must answer for that.
Next, I believe that the Conservative party and the media, that part of it which is not, still, in thrall to Justin Trudeau’s name and celebrity status, need to keep on reminding Canadians that when they voted for change and sunny ways they got a shallow, vacuous, self indulgent rich kid who does not think the rules apply to him. Justin Trudeau should not have needed to be told that his winter holiday on the Aga Khan’s private island was ethically problematical and political poison. He’s supposed to be the head of government of a G7 nation, for heaven’s sake, he’s supposed to be able to work that out for himself.
Finally, I hope that millions of Canadians will remember what they got in 2015 and vote for someone else, preferably an honest Conservative, in 2019.