I see, in the Globe and Mail, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his team, specifically chief of staff, Katie Telford, Quebec adviser Mathieu Bouchard and senior adviser Elder Marques, have availed themselves of the services two outside law firms to help them cope with an investigation by the federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s office and, one supposes, a request by Andrew Scheer for a criminal investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Justin Trudeau and his minions are taking advantage of the fact “that Treasury Board rules allow for hiring of outside counsel when government officials are either sued, threatened with a suit, charged with an offence or under threat of being named in a legal action … [and] … “As per the Treasury Board Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification, counsel has been retained to advise on the matter in question,”” Mr. Cameron Ahmad, a Trudeau spokesperson, said in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail.
That’s all well and good, and no one should deny the prime minister all the help to which he is entitled, but it looks terrible when one considers that Team Trudeau denied those same benefits to Vice Admiral Mark Norman, whose highly political trial is coming up later this fall, because, as David Pugliese reported, while “Federal employees can apply to have their legal costs covered under a special program for public servants facing legal issues arising from the course of their employment with government. “The Treasury Board Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification is engaged when Crown servants are subject to legal claims or actions in circumstances where they are acting in good faith, and within the scope of their duties or employment” … [but] … the government “rejected Norman’s request for financial assistance in 2017 as it claimed the senior officer was guilty of disclosing confidential information. Government officials reached that stunning conclusion — contained in a justice department letter leaked to Postmedia — even though Norman had not been charged at the time and no formal internal investigation was carried out by the Canadian Forces or the DND.“
Both Andrew Scheer, who, like Justin Trudeau (and Gerald Butts and Michael Wernick) is not a lawyer, and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who is a very good lawyer (and, for 20 years, a judge) who now teaches at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, believe that the Trudeau “government “absolutely” has a reason to be concerned about criminal charges – whether obstruction of justice, or an attempt to obstruct justice … [because, while] … “Apparently Ms. Wilson-Raybould did not relent,” she [Judge Turpel-Lafond] said in an interview. “But an attempt is also an offence.”” Now, those (many, actually) who are in the ‘Trudeau can never be wrong‘ camp (or it’s counterpart, the ‘no Conservative can ever be right‘ faction) will note that Judge Turpel-Lafond is an indigenous person and will conclude, therefore, that she must be siding with Mr Scheer only as a way of supporting Ms Wilson-Raybould; but one should also note that she is extremely well qualified, indeed very learned in the law, because, as the University of British Columbia points out (link above), in addition to many years as a judge, “Early in her career, she was a tenured law professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie. She has also instructed in a number of law schools across Canada and the United States. Turpel-Lafond holds a doctorate in law from Harvard Law School, a master’s in international law from Cambridge University, a JD from Osgoode Hall at York University and a bachelor of arts degree from Carleton University.” I think she knows the law, well, and I believe her when she says that the “government “absolutely” has a reason to be concerned about criminal charges.”
So, appearances to the contrary, but appearances do matter at lot in politics, there is nothing wrong with Justin Trudeau and his cronies lawyering up, as they say, They seem to have good reason to be a bit worried. But what stinks to high heaven, what reeks of trying to rig the justice system to achieve shady political ends, is that the prime minister and his henchmen are using the very programme, “the Treasury Board Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification,” which, without a shred of real evidence, they denied to Vice Admiral Mark Norman. It looks mean, petty, and shifty, too.
The Trudeau regime will bring down a good news budget in less than 24 hours. They must hope that it will make all this ~ the whole Philpott/SNC-Lavalin/Wilson-Raybould crisis ~ fade away in Canadians’ minds, replaced by visions of jobs and tax breaks and green energy, but I suspect that will not happen … my guess is that there are, indeed, ethical violations to be uncovered, yet again, (this will be the sixth, I think) and I suspect that Dr Philpott and Ms Wilson-Raybould still have something to say on the subjects of political leadership, ethics and values, and a politically devastating RCMP investigation is not beyond the realm of possibility. My hope is that neither the budget nor, even, an early election call will solve this crisis of morality for Team Trudeau … they have, since the very beginning, when they decided to frame Vice Admiral Norman for pure, petty, political spite, run an immoral regime that is designed, only, to benefit themselves. Justin Trudeau is not fit for the office he holds, but that’s not surprising because he was never anything but a puppet dancing to the tunes of the Laurentian Elites.
Now, I see, on CBC News, that Prime Minister Trudeau has reached all the way back to the sponsor scandal era to appoint Anne McLellan, a former deputy to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, “to examine the dual role of justice minister and attorney general in the federal cabinet — and whether the two roles ought to change … [he said that] … “Significant issues have been raised recently about relations between the former attorney general and justice minister and government. And I am announcing today that Anne McLellan will be appointed to investigate independently .. [and] … As former justice minister and attorney general and deputy PM, she has a unique understanding of the role” … [then] … Trudeau said that McLellan will act as a special adviser, examining whether the cabinet roles of justice minister and attorney general — which are occupied by the same person in Canada — should be reformed in the wake of allegations of political interference in the SNC-Lavalin affair.” Of course the roles should be split, and the only reason that Justin Trudeau needs another advisor is to further try to deflect attention away from the very real
possibility probability that he has broken the law.
The Liberal Party of Canada can and must do better; Prime Minister Trudeau must be sent packing and a rejuvenated party, led by one of many, many good Liberals out there, must face the electorate in 2019 …
… the alternative is, I fear, the destruction of a great national institution and a move towards UK or US style politics. That would be bad for Canada.
Canadians have a choice, too … and the better choice, for Canada, is to elect Andrew Scheer and his Conservative team in 2019. He may not be sexy and exciting, but he appears, to me, to be competent and honest … the very antithesis of Justin Trudeau.