What now?

What, now, I wonder, for e.g. Wayne Long, the fair minded Liberal MP representing Saint John Rothesay in New Brunswick or, for that matter, for any Canadian interested in learning the truth about the SNC-Lavalin/Jody Wilson-Raybould affair? Some people, notably John Ibbitson, (same link) think that “Everything eventually comes out. Everything;” and he said, (same article), by way of offering some wise counsel to Team Trudeau “There’s a piece of strategic advice appropriate for such times that I call the Rhodes Maxim, after Paul Rhodes, who was a senior adviser to former Ontario premier Mike Harris … [who said] … “Ask yourself: ‘How will this end?’ Go there,” … [and Mr Ibbitson suggests, and I agree, fully, that] … This affair will end with Ms. Wilson-Raybould offering her version of events in full – who spoke to her about the SNC-Lavalin case, what they said, how she reacted, how she views her subsequent demotion from Justice to Veterans Affairs … [and, then] … Mr. Trudeau’s advisers will offer their version of events. If the versions conflict, one or more resignations may then follow … [and, of course, Ms Wilson-Raybould did resign, before she even spoke, but, he says] … All of this will happen sooner or later. The sooner it happens, the more time the Liberals will have to heal their internal divisions and to shift the narrative away from the scandal in the lead-up to the October election. Ragging the puck in the hope this will all somehow go away could prove fatal … [therefore, he concludes, in what I think is excellent advice for Gerald Butts, Katie Telford and Justin Trudeau] … Remember: How will this end? Go there. Now.

Coverup?

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 07.49.32But, as some predicted, going there, to the ‘end game,’ now, is not how Team Trudeau thinks … they prefer to delay, dissemble and dismiss and, as Joan Byrden reports, in another Globe and Mail article, the Trudeau “Liberals faced accusations of a coverup Wednesday after they agreed to hold limited committee hearings into an allegation that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was improperly pressured to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution … [and] … Their short list of three proposed witnesses does not include Wilson-Raybould, who resigned from cabinet MPSXOZJM5FGUVMISATCOFEHVFYTuesday … [and as those who watched the committee on TV saw] … The five Liberal MPs on the Commons justice committee used their majority to block an opposition motion that would have seen the committee hear from nine key players in the controversy, including Wilson-Raybould, current Justice Minister David Lametti, clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick and senior aides in the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, including chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerald Butts … [instead the Liberals voted for] … their own motion, which called on the committee to hear behind closed doors from just Lametti, Wernick and the deputy justice minister … [and, in the same meeting] … The Liberals defeated an attempt by New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen to strike a compromise of six witnesses, adding Butts and two other senior PMO aides … [then] … They also defeated a Conservative motion calling on Trudeau to immediately waive solicitor-client privilege, which Wilson-Raybould has cited as preventing her from commenting on the allegation … [thus, in the end we have only] … The Liberal motion [which] calls on the committee to study the legal principles at the root of the controversy – including the recently added Criminal Code provision that made it legal to negotiate remediation agreements in cases of corporate corruption, a form of plea bargain in which a company pays restitution, but avoids criminal prosecution that could bankrupt it … [and] … The motion also included looking at the so-called Shawcross doctrine, which spells out the degree to which an attorney general may consult with cabinet colleagues about a prosecution.

Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault , who is, I believe, also a special advisor of some sort to Prime Minister Trudeau, is reported, by the Globe and Mail‘s Ottawa Bureau Chief Steven Chase (on social media), to have said that “The role of the justice committee is not an investigative body … at best, committees of the House of Commons are political theatre that can occasionally achieve good studies.” That’s arrant nonsense and suggests that Mr Boissonnault knows little, and probably cares even less about the role and functions of parliament.

Ms Bryden reports that “Conservative MP Michael Cooper said the Liberals’ motion is “part of a coverup” and an attempt at creating “a diversion” with lengthy hearings on legal principles … [saying] … “At the end of the day, this is really not that complicated. This is about the fact that certain officials in the PMO were alleged to have put pressure on the former attorney general to interfere in a criminal investigation, nothing more, nothing less … The Liberals aren’t interested in that. They’re interested in covering this up” … [but] … Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault, who proposed the successful motion, defended the Liberals’ refusal to call Wilson-Raybould to hear her side of the story. He said she’s bound by a rule that prohibits a former minister from commenting on her previous portfolio and by solicitor-client privilege, noting that Wilson-Raybould has hired a former Supreme Court justice to advise her on what she can say .. [and he said that] … “I think it’s important for Ms. Wilson-Raybould to speak to Canadians on her own terms. It doesn’t need to be something we do here at the justice committee,” … [and] … Trudeau, meanwhile, was sticking to his message that Wilson-Raybould had a duty to speak up months ago if she had concerns about the way the government was handling the SNC-Lavalin case.

As I write, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, Chair of the same Commons Justice Committee that refused to call Ms Wilson-Raybould, is making the rounds of some media outlets (CJAD (Montreal) and CJOH TV (Ottawa)) saying that Ms Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the Attorney general’s portfolio because her French isn’t up to scratch. This appears to be part of a smarmy PMO campaign to discredit Ms Wilson-Raybould. It sure looks like a coverup to me.

How will this end?

This looks like a coverup and it sells like a coverup, probably because it is a coverup … Gerald Butts, Katie Telford and Justin Trudeau look like they did something wrong and now are trying to distract and dissemble, hoping that, by high summer, the time we Canadians start thinking seriously about how to cast our votes, this affair will all have blown over. They need to do that because, as Robyn Urback wrote for CBC News, this affair is “A bingo of betrayed commitments, wrapped in a package of a classic Liberal scandal … [because] … The Prime Minister’s Office is alleged to have pressured the attorney modern-libranogeneral to drop the criminal prosecution of a Quebec engineering company steeped in scandal and facing fraud and corruption charges. Hello, old friend. Haven’t seen you in a while … [and, while] … The evolving saga is not easily digestible, nor will it necessarily resonate as widely as some of the other moments that have pockmarked Justin Trudeau’s term. “Trudeau pays terrorist DD-3K6sUQAETbqe$10.5 million”lends itself better to campaign-time propaganda. Canadians will actually feel the impact of tax changes and sputtered pipeline timelines, and recall the abandoned promise of electoral reform next time they head to the polls … [but, and it’s a big BUT] … the SNC-Lavalin affair, convoluted and esoteric as it may be, cuts to the core of the Liberals’ central promise from back in 2015: That this government would be different in specific, measurable ways. It just takes one clumsy scandal to demonstrate the extent to which that has not happened.

They may think they have time on their side … I think they’re wrong. I believe that John Ibbitson is right, “Everything eventually comes out. Everything.” I also think that Paul Rhodes’ counsel was and remains very wise: ““Ask yourself: ‘How will this end?’ Go there.”” Time, I suspect, is on Jody Wilson-Raybould’s side … she has the time to consider warwoundshow best to make her case that she was a good, honest, loyal Attorney General who was demoted ~ in a move that shows, as much as “they’re asking for more than we are able to give right now,” just how little Team Trudeau cares about the men and women who fought were wounded, in body and mind and spirit, and even died for our country ~ because she put her duty to Canada and to the rule of law ahead of the Trudeau regime’s partisan political interests in helping out one of Quebec Inc‘s crown jewels. I am almost 100% certain that she will speak out, but perhaps she will decide to let this percolate a bit, first … maybe her contribution will not come util after the Commons Justice Committee and has tried to put us all to sleep. Perhaps them she will detonate a political bomb right in front of Justin Trudeau’s re-election campaign.

I don’t know how this will play out but I am sure Mr Ibbitson is right; I am equally sure that Team Trudeau is doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons. I think the ‘end‘ is that ‘everything comes out‘ and I suspect that ‘everything’ is not all “sunny ways” for the Trudeau regime.

I think the English language media, like sharks, sense blood in the water and are circling ~ for now at least,* and I suspect Team Trudeau will try to distract them with other “news” ~ a new gun law, perhaps? I think the Conservatives also see a real chink in Trudeau’s armour; I believe the Canadian people are getting worried about this and are starting to lose trust in Justin Trudeau … I hope this leads to a Conservative government ~ one that will have learned from the Trudeau regime’s ethical mistakes ~ in the fall of 2019.

What now?

Now is the time to think. For Conservatives it is time to think about how to exploit this affair, it’s not quite a scandal yet, to weaken Team Trudeau. For the media it is time to do what they claim they are meant to do ~ comfort the afflicted (that would be the Canadian LT-GEN-ANDREW-LESLIE-14-1-1-1people) and afflict the comfortable (that would be Team Trudeau) and tell the Canadian people the truth. For many Liberals, who, I reaffirm are, in the main, good, honest, decent Canadians, and some of whom have served this country well in many roles, it is time to think about the fate and future of their party which is, as I have said, a great and even precious national institution, and ask themselves: Can I best serve the great institution that is the Liberal Party of Canada, and, indeed, Canada itself by blindly, mindlessly supporting Justin Trudeau, Katie Telford and Gerald Butts? I guess that a few Liberals might want to leave the caucus and sit as independents or even cross the floor, but I hope that the best of them will stay in the Liberal Party to clean out the Augean stables that Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien and, now, Justin Trudeau have left behind.

———-

* Quebec based French language media appear, according to the Ottawa Citizen, to be taking a different, pro-SNC-Lavalin, tack.

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