Not a good day for Justin Trudeau … or for Canada

Well, the reviews are in, and, not surprisingly:

  • John Ibbitson, writing in the Globe and Mail, says that “Justin Trudeau should ask the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament immediately, with a general election to follow in April. Instead, he and his remaining advisers will likely hunker down and hope that time dulls the public outrage over his actssnc-lavalin-20190227-e1551314394564[because, he adds] … let there be no mistake: According to Wednesday’s testimony from Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Prime Minister and his most senior advisers gravely undermined the rule of law when they repeatedly urged her as attorney-general to interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin for partisan political reasons. To have then threatened her when she refused, and to have removed her from her portfolio when she would not bow to those threats, was reprehensible … [and] … A prime minister who has been accused of such abuses by his own former attorney-general should no longer have the confidence of the House of Commons. This government should fall.” He concludes, and I agree, fully, that any reasonable person should “believe that Mr. Trudeau abused the powers of his office, and that his most senior advisers abused theirs, and that Canadians no longer have confidence in their federal government. That Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who also tried to put pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould to cut SNC-Lavalin some slack, no longer has a mandate to present a budget. That this government can no longer represent Canada before the world … [and] … The right thing to do is to let the people decide the fate of this government. The right thing to do is have an election now;”
  • David Akin, writing for Global News, says that “here’s some news for … everyone … in the Trudeau PMO: you know what’s worse than SNC-Lavalin moving out of Montreal six months before an election? The testimony Wilson-Raybould gave Wednesday afternoon at a House of Commons committee. It was bad. Real bad … [because] … Wilson-Raybould’s careful, measured testimony — based on copious notes she took after each and every one of the 10 instances last fall in which she or her staff were bullied to intervene in SNC-Lavalin’s court case — was one jaw-dropping revelation after another of misbehaviour in the most senior offices in the land.” He concludes with a bit of “he said/she said,” saying that “Meanwhile, Liberal MPs on the Justice Committee embarrassed themselves Monday by insinuating it was Wilson-Raybould who had done something wrong. Did she not have “an obligation” to holler wolf when all this inappropriate pressure was being applied? Why didn’t she quit? Was she sure she had the timing right? It’s impossible to report on politics without running into obsequious politicians but, good heavens, those Liberal MPs took the cake … [and then] … After she was fired from her job, Wilson-Raybould sat down with Gerald Butts, who has since resigned as the prime minister’s principal secretary. She knew what had just gone down. A strong, independent, Indigenous woman with the law on her side had spoken truth to white, male power — and had been punished for it … [she said] … “I know this is because of SNC-Lavalin,” … [and he said] … “Are you questioning the integrity of the prime minister?” … [then] … “I didn’t reply,” Wilson-Raybould told the committee … [and Mr Akin says] … She didn’t have to … [because] … The answer is crystal clear:” Justin Trudeau, the fairly elected prime minister of Canada is just another corrupt, ward heeling, Québec politician who governs for his big money friends in the Laurentian Elites … he is devoid of integrity; and
  • Paul Wells, writing in MacLean’s magazine, says that “The dangerous files are never the obscure ones. Scandals don’t happen in the weird little corners of government, in amateur sport or in crop science. They happen on the issues a prime minister cares most about, because everyone gets the message that the rules matter less than the result … [and] … It’s a constant in politics. In 2016 I took one look at Bill Morneau’s first budget and wrote this: “The sponsorship scandal of the late Chrétien years was possible because it was obvious to every scoundrel with Liberal friends that spending on national unity would not receive close scrutiny from a government that was desperate to be seen doing something on the file. A government that considers the scale of its spending to be proof of its virtue is an easy mark for hucksters and worse” … [but, he explains] … It wasn’t a perfect prediction … [because, he says] … I kind of expected the hucksters and worse to be outside government. Unless the Trudeau Liberals can produce persuasive evidence that Jody Wilson-Raybould is an utter fabulist (and frankly, I now expect several to try), her testimony 1551316205.558--75.996c1551316353.11--56.729_848x480_1449584195864before the Commons Justice Committee establishes pretty clearly that the hucksters and worse were running the show. Led by the grinning legatee who taints the Prime Ministers’ office.” He adds that “I’ve never met a Liberal yet who doesn’t reliably confuse his electoral skin with the national interest. So much of what Trudeau and his minions have done in the last year stems from that instinct. Take the ludicrous half-billion-dollar bailout for people in my line of work, never explained, sprung out of nowhere in Morneau’s fall economic update—or as I now like to think of it, between Trudeau advisor Mathieu Bouchard’s meeting (yet another one) with Prince and Michael Wernick’s chat with Wilson-Raybould. You can get a lot of op-eds written with that kind of dough. Take the cool billion the Canada Infrastructure Bank coughed up to pay for a politically popular and impeccably well-connected transit project around Montreal. That money appeared, from a brand-new bank that has not funded a single other project and did not then yet have a CEO, on the day before Philippe Couillard launched the Quebec election campaign. It is now impossible to believe on faith that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ben Chin, Mathieu Bouchard, Katie Telford and Justin Trudeau” … [and then he concludes that, soon] … we get to draw our own conclusions as citizens. What the former attorney general described tonight is a sickeningly smug protection racket whose participants must have been astonished when she refused to play along. If a company can rewrite the Criminal Code to get out of a trial whose start date was set before the 1504233018950legislation was drafted, all because a doomed Quebec government has its appointment with the voter, then which excesses are not permitted, under the same justification? If a Clerk of the Privy Council can claim with a straight face that ten calls and meetings with the attorney general, during which massive job loss, an angry PM and a lost election are threatened, don’t constitute interference, then what on earth would interference look like? … [and] … There’ll be time to contemplate mechanisms in the days ahead. I don’t think the ethics commissioner has a broad enough mandate to investigate matters like that Canada Infrastructure Bank investment and other tendrils of this affair. But in the end, the moral collapse of Justin Trudeau’s government teaches each of us a lesson, if we will only listen: There had damned well better be a limit to what we’re willing to do or say, whatever the cause we claim to serve. The rules need to be rules—not for the people we despise, but for ourselves. For myself. For you. Or else we have no souls.

I have looked, not even The Star can find any good news in Ms Wilson-Raybould’s condemnation of the gang of crooks who inhabit the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa. It’s editorial board says thatAt this point, the Liberals need to stop hoping, as they apparently have been doing since the story broke three weeks ago, that this affair will just fade away, that the public will get bored with arcane legal details about deferred prosecution agreements and the like … [because] … That won’t happen. Wilson-Raybould provided enough fodder for the opposition, the justice committee and the media to chew on for some time to come. To begin with, there will be pressure to hear from others deeply involved in the saga, starting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, and his chief of staff, Katie Telford. They must be called to give their versions of what happened.” But will anyone, beyond say about the 15 to 20% of the electorate who will always vote Liberal, even when it is perfectly clear that the Librano$ are back, or, perhaps never left, believe anything that Trudeau, Telford and Butts can say?

The Globe and Mail says, in its editorial, that “It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of these allegations. All of the people she has named, including the PM’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts, his chief of staff Katie Telford and the Prime Minister himself, must give a full and complete answer. There is no avoiding it … [and, despite what the Liberal spinmeisters will tell us to do] … Canadians can neither move along nor look away. Nor can the government. What has been alleged is just too big.

The Toronto Sun‘s editorial summarizes Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony and concludes that all that she testified to “is not just sloppy messaging. This is not just a sign that the Liberals are too cozy with SNC-Lavalin. This is not just a sign that perhaps Trudeau is not as committed to running a clean ship as he’d previously pledged … [instead] … This is a major red flag that Criminal Code violations concerning obstruction of justice have been broken … [and] … Following Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-assuredly stated: “I completely disagree with the former Attorney General’s characterization of events.” Good luck with that … [the Sun’s editorial board says that] … Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer was correct to call for an RCMP investigation into this mess … [and they say] … Expect one to commence immediately.”

D0hK97-X0Agalpg (1)There will be another side to this story … I see, on social media, that Gerald Butts has written to the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights Committee, and one Liberal MP has already started to attack Ms Wilson-Raybould and has, on the same day, retracted his comments and apologized. I expect we will hear form more and more witnesses ~ it is a Liberal dominated committee, after all ~ who will try to change the channel or rewrite the script so that Justin Trudeau appears somewhat less corrupt and/or stupid and/or insensitive and/or racist and/or anti-woman. I suspect that the channel changing efforts will not work very well … my sense is that the media, through which all this will be filtered, believes Ms Wilson-Raybould and is, largely, inclined to accept that “her truth,” as one Liberal put it, is more believable than the PMO’s ever changing stories.

My own take is an amalgam: First, if Justin Trudeau had even one slim shred of self respect he would understand that he is a disgrace to his office and to the great Liberal Party which he represents and he should resign and allow the party to begin the slow, painful process of rebuilding without the dreadful influences of the Trudeaus, père et fils, and Jean Chrétien; Second, his interim replacement, Ralph Goodale, I suppose, should call a general election for about mid to late April, 2019 and he should also call for a full, public, judicial inquiry; and Third, the many decent, honest, sincere Liberals should cleanse the party of people like Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre) (centre picture in the array), Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills) (left) and Ruby Sahota (Brampton North) (right) …

… all of whom disgraced themselves and their party at the Justice Committee hearings by trying, and failing, miserably, to discredit Ms Wilson-Raybould.

Since I don’t really expect any of those things to happen, I call upon those decent, honest, sincere Liberals ~ and I assert that’s most of the people in the caucus and in the party …

… need to get out, publicly, behind Ms Wilson-Raybould (and, concomitantly, against the Chrétien-Trudeau-Wynne clique) and lead their party forward. That, of course, will split the party and cost it the next (October) election … but it will also save the Liberal Party and serve Canada well. Those good, decent, honest, sincere Liberals are a solid majority in that party and they can, and I think must seize control of the party for Canada’s sake.

This is, I am pretty certain, a more serious betrayal of Canadians than was the sponsorship scandal a decade ago. Paul Martin did the right thing then; people like Marc Garneau, Ralph Goodale, Andrew Leslie and Jane Philpott need to do the right thing now.

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