Big news and more tangled webs (this is #5, I think)

So, as I mentioned a few hours ago, the big news is that Jody Wilson-Raybould has resigned from the Trudeau cabal cabinet and, according to a CTV News report,  “In her letter of resignation as Veterans Affairs Minister Wilson-Raybould said she has retained former Supreme Court judge Thomas Cromwell as her lawyer to provide advice about speaking publicly about the scandal, as she has been called on to do since the news broke last week in The Globe and Mail.

Additionally, I see four items, all in the Globe and Mail, that relate, directly, to, at the very least, deceit, and, very possibly, real political corruption in Justin Trudeau’s inner circle:

  • First, Sandy White, who is a Montreal-based entrepreneur and former adviser to the Conservative government, and, therefore, likely suspect to some readers, writes that “The close relationship between the government and the private sector is nothing new in Canada … [but, he says] … one would have hoped that our provincial and federal governments would be somewhat more discerning about the companies they choose to support … zuzktfrg_400x400[however] … Last week, The Globe and Mail reported that the Prime Minister’s Office put pressure on then-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to abandon the continuing prosecution of beleaguered Montreal-based engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and let it reach a ne­go­ti­ated “re­me­di­a­tion agree­ment” in­stead of go­ing to trial.” Mr White explains that “The company faces mounting troubles resulting from a fraud and corruption trial surrounding almost $50-million paid to the regime of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It is also being charged for defrauding Libyan investors of $130-million … [but, he explains] … This is nothing new to SNC-Lavalin, as for years the company has been accused of habitually stepping over the line into criminality. Earlier this month, its former chief executive officer was sentenced in a $22.5-million fraud case over the construction of a Montreal hospital. Yet rather than receiving jail time, he was given a suspended sentence with community service, and asked to donate $200,000 to charity … [he adds that the fact that] … the Prime Minister’s Office would seek to intervene in any prosecution is deeply unsettling … [but] … It is all the more so on behalf of a company with SNC-Lavalin’s reputation.” There is, at the very least, a whiff of special treatment and, potentially, even corruption in all this. Look at this little video clip of an exchange between the CBC’s Wendy Mesley (it is from her social media account) and former Ontario (Liberal) Attorney General Michael Bryant. Something is, as he said, “extremely fishy.” My old Grandmother used to say that a fish rots from the head … I suspect that may be what’s happening to Team Trudeau, today;
  • Second, Janice Dickson reports thatVice-Admiral Mark Norman’s defence lawyer alleged in an Ottawa court that Crown prosecutors have been discussing trial strategy with the Privy Council Office, calling the Crown’s actions more concerning than political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin … [and] … The allegation of Privy Council Office intervention prompted the Ontario Court of Justice judge presiding over the Norman case on Monday to question the independence of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. “So much for the independence of the PPSC,” Justice Heather Perkins-McVey interjected.” This suggests that Prime Minister Trudeau’s inner circle doesn’t understand that matters of prosecution MUST be separate from matters of political calculation;
  • Third, Robert Fife, Steven Chase and Sean Fine follow up their blockbuster dkgne5fxkailakiallegation from last week and say that “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded on Monday that he discussed the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin last fall with then-justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould but provided few details – citing cabinet confidentiality.” The prime minister claims that “he said to her that she alone would determine how to proceed in cases handled by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada,” but, of course, Ms Wilson-Raybould remains (deafeningly) silent; and
  • Fourth and finally, John Ibbitson opines that “There is an iron law in major political scandals. Everything eventually comes out. Everything … [and] … In the matter of who in the Prime Minister’s Office said what to Jody Wilson-Raybould last autumn over the SNC-Lavalin corruption case, how the then-justice minister reacted, and how that exchange influenced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to remove her from the portfolio, the public will eventually receive a full accounting. Monday’s decision by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to investigate the affair only reinforces that certainty … [and, therefore] … The Prime Minister and his advisers will either clear Ms. Wilson-Raybould to offer her version of events, while also offering their own understanding of what happened, or the Liberals will pay the price at the next election. The choice is that simple.” We can only hope that Canadians will be shocked and appalled at the conduct of Justin Trudeau and his inner circle and will consign them all to history’s political trash heap, where they belong.

It is not just partisan Conservatives, like me, or independent journalists like Messers Fife, 37888996_1217951281681400_9126462108479782912_nChase and Fine who are interested in this scandal. Wayne Long, a Liberal Member of Parliament representing Saint John-Rothesay in New Brunswick wrote, on social media: “When I read the allegation of attempted political interference in a criminal prosecution on the part of officials within our government in Thursday’s Globe and Mail, I was extremely troubled, and everything I have heard and read in the press about this allegation since then has left me feeling this way … [because, he explains] … As politicians, we make the laws, but we do not directly apply them to the citizenry. How the law treats individuals or corporations in our society is not, and should never be, incumbent upon the political pressure they can exert upon politicians. This is why it is extremely important that we do not apply the law on a case-by-case basis; it ensures that everyone is treated equally before and under the law, rather than subject to the transitory and arbitrary whims of politicians … [and he says that he believes that] … This principle, that of the rule of law, is a key tenet of our democracy that is entrenched in our constitution, and we, as parliamentarians, must uphold it, even when it may not be in our best interest from a political perspective, in order to protect everyone’s rights … [and, therefore] … That’s why the allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office “attempted to press Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution of Montreal engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.”, which was published in Thursday’s Globe and Mail, left me deeply unsettled. Because I can only rely upon the information that has been reported in the press and am not privy to any inside knowledge when it comes to this matter, that’s also why I continue to feel this way … [further, he says, going against what appears to be the Liberal party line] … Indeed, just like the people of Saint John – Rothesay, I also am seeking answers that will clear the air regarding exactly what happened here, and, because I was raised to believe that full transparency is always the best approach to addressing such uncertainty, I believe that a full and transparent investigation is necessary to ensure that my constituents, and all Canadians, can be confident in the veracity of those answers. That’s why I support the opposition’s motion to launch an investigation of these allegations at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.” Perhaps even loyal Liberals, most of whom are, like Mr Long and Ms Wilson-Raybould, decent, honest people, are starting to see through the Trudeau facade … perhaps some will abandon ship sooner rather than later and sit as independents or even consider joining the Conservatives, Greens or NDP, depending on their personal views about issues.

Again, sooner rather than later there needs to be more than either the House of Commons Ethics Commissioner, who, by now must have quite a fat file on prime Minister Trudeau, given his improper trips to lavish Caribbean resorts, paid for by lobbyists, and so on, or even the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police should have, by now, enough allegations to justify a criminal investigation, as at least one former judge has suggested. That, and the full public, judicial inquiry for which Paul Wells has called, are the ways in which, as John Ibbitson said, “Everything eventually comes out” which is what the people of Canada want and deserve.

For the moment, it is damage control for Team Trudeau. According to CTV News (second link near the beginning of this story) “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an emergency cabinet meeting for Tuesday morning, though ministers are in their ridings or fanned out across the country, so many will be teleconferencing in and not all together around the cabinet table in Ottawa. It is expected that her departure will be central to that conversation … [and] … Her departure will also likely prompt another cabinet shuffle to fill her vacancy.” I wonder if Ms Wilson-Raybould can convince herself to remain in the Liberal caucus; and I wonder if other ministers and MPs are not having serious doubts about the gang in which they serve. It is time, I think for all good men and women to come to the aid of the country they swore to serve and, therefore, abandon Team Trudeau to its fate … a fate, that right, not, in mid February, looks pretty grim.

 

 

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