I know I’m beating this Team Trudeau/SNC-Lavalin/Jody Wilson-Raybould scandal to death, but, even after the shocking resignation of Jane Philpott, it needs to be seen in a broader context, and Erin O’Toole, the Conservative shadow foreign minister, has provided, on social media, a brief but comprehensive history of the Trudeau regime’s ongoing interference with the rule of law in the service of its corporate friends ~ the very reason Ms Philpott lost confidence in his leadership.. Here it is, all based on matters reported on by the media and, therefore, in the public record, albeit, in some cases, debatable ~ and many of Mr O’Toole’s points will be challenged when Team Trudeau launches a massive counter-offensive, starting this week:
Of course Jane Philpott’s resignation means that the issue will, most certainly, “be continued.”
My initial and personal reaction is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was serious when he told the former House of Commons ethics commissioner, back in 2017, as Konrad Yakabuski reported, 14 months ago, in the Globe and Mail, that he “views his role as “ceremonial” … [and seems to be] … detached from the nitty-gritty … [and is someone] … who apparently sweats neither the big nor small stuff.” I mentioned this back in April of 2016 when I suggested that Prime Minister Trudeau, like former US President John F Kennedy saw himself as more of a “sun king” than as an elected head of government … in the USA, of course, the president is both the head of government and the head of state but here, in Canada, we have a very clear and very valuable distinction between those two roles, even if Justin Trudeau might not understand it. He, the prime minister, seems, to me, to have taken the view, from the start that he was elected to be the head of state and that everyone, parliament, the great institutions of the state including the armed forces and the justice system are here to do his (highly political) bidding because what’s good for Justin Trudeau is good for Canada and, à la King Louis XIV of France, ‘l’état, c’est moi.’ As Mr Yakabuski wrote, “Mr. Trudeau’s managerial style suggests a leader somewhat disengaged from the job he was elected to perform. After Stephen Harper’s frigid personality, Canadians wanted likeability and empathy from their Prime Minister and Mr. Trudeau scores highly on both … [but] … no one could ever accuse Mr. Harper of being disengaged from his job. He inhabited it, often to excess. He was intimate with the “details” of government business.” But we didn’t elect a queen, we already have a magnificent one, and a Canadian governor general, too, to help with the (largely) ceremonial duties of a head of state; we elected a government, with a first minister at its head and we expected him to both obey the rules, himself, and to have seen to it that everyone else did, too … instead we got a trust-fund kid who believes that everyone and everything must align themselves with his wishes.
At first we didn’t mind; he was, after all the very antithesis of both the cold, calculating Stephen Harper and that mercurial bully, Donald J Trump; and we didn’t really mind when it became increasing obvious that he alienated global leaders because he is only an insufferable lightweight who brings nothing to the world except novelty socks. But when we look at Erin O’Toole’s chronology, above, it becomes more clear that, right from the start, Justin Trudeau and his government were more interested in running Canada for the benefit of their friends and paymasters than for the good of most Canadians.
Prime Minister Trudeau has, in no particular order:
- Messed up relations with all of Asia, but especially with Australia, China and India;
- Ignored a growing crisis ~ irregular migrants ~ on our border;
- Has been sanctioned, more than once, for being in conflict of interest and participating in ‘cash for access’ schemes;
- Put the interests of a few Québec firms (e.g. Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin) ahead of the national need and, in pursuit of one goal (climate change) he used his power to disallow or sabotage essential pipelines projects that mattered to many, many more Canadian workers and to the economy;
- Launched what, increasingly, appears to be a malicious, politically motivated prosecution of a senior Canadian Forces officer;
- Ignored the very real plight of veterans, despite his solemn promise to look after them; and
- Tried to subvert the office of the Attorney General to satisfy the needs of his cronies in Québec* …
… and that’s anything but an exhaustive list.
But, beginning this week, Team Trudeau will mount a massive counter-attack on Jody Wilson-Raybould’s damning testimony, as part of a grand offensive which will aim to discredit Ms Wilson-Raybould ~ and thanks to Bruce MacKinnon of the Chronicle Herald for that wonderfully evocative editorial cartoon ~ and try to make Canadians forget the sorry record of failure of the past three years, and fear Andrew Scheer for being ‘Harper Lite.’ Some of it will work; it shouldn’t but there are over 2.5 million Canadians who, based in the 2011 election votes, will vote for the Liberals (or at least against the Conservatives) no matter how scandal ridden those Liberals may be. Some of those Canadians, especially the real progressives (usually young NDP supporters) who united behind Justin Trudeau just to get rid of Stephen Harper, need to look at The Honourable Erin O’Toole’s chronology of sleaze, above, and think again: there are, we are learning, far worse things than having an introverted policy wonk in the PMO.
For 2019, as Canadian political scientist Lori Turnbull (Dalhousie University) explains, in the Globe and Mail, “In the wake of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s damning testimony, Liberal damage control efforts are in full swing. The former minister’s testimony delivered a devastating blow to the Liberal brand. With less than eight months to go before the next scheduled federal election, there is not much time to build it back up … [and] … The brand has consisted of several related themes, including feminist government, reconciliation, openness and accountability, cabinet government and growing the middle class. Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s allegations that she was pressed by a group of individuals – including the Prime Minister himself – to “find a solution” for SNC-Lavalin runs counter to each and every one of these themes. Instead of open and inclusive discussions geared toward fairness and prosperity for everyone, Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s words paint a picture of sustained workplace bullying directed at an Indigenous woman, with the aim of protecting Montreal-based politicians and corporate elites … [but] … Now that the shine is off, Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals have a choice to make in how they structure this year’s campaign messaging. Do they try to rebuild the old brand around openness, inclusion and governing differently in a postpartisan era, or do they abandon that to more fully embrace the ugly realities of governance? The latter would involve getting into the trenches with opposition parties on policy specifics, and maybe running some negative ads to match the many that will target them. It would involve more mudslinging than virtue-signalling, but it might be the only way to stay alive … [and] … For its part, the opposition has work to do. Both Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh must build relationships with Canadians and give them something to vote for. Watching the Liberals self-destruct is not enough. The 2019 election will be the nastiest, most negative campaign in years. And to survive it, the Liberals might need a new brand.“
Mr O’Toole’s chronology can be, very fairly, characterized as “mudslinging,” and it is something the Conservatives need to do, both well and intensively, so that the Liberals cannot change the channel away from their manifold mistakes and back towards Justin Trudeau’s sex appeal. The Conservatives need to keep the dismal Trudeau record of failure and corruption front and centre until the next election.