One step too far

According to a column by John Ibbitson in the Globe and Mail, Parliament’s Ethics Screen Shot 2019-08-17 at 20.53.04Commissioner Mario Dion said, in his report last week, that ““Nine witnesses informed our Office that they had information they believed to be relevant, but that could not be disclosed because, according to them, this information would reveal a confidence” … [but] … his repeated appeals to allow the witnesses to testify were rebuffed by the Prime Minister and his advisers … [and] … As a result, neither Mr. Dion nor anyone else on the outside fully knows what went down, especially during the cabinet shuffle that saw Ms. Wilson-Raybould removed as attorney-general.” That might be outrageous to some, but not to me.

M Dion also said that ““If our Office is to remain truly independent and fulfill its purpose, I must have unfettered access to all information that could be relevant to the exercise of my mandate … [and, he added] … I must be satisfied that decisions made by the most senior public office holders, including those discussed at cabinet, are free from any conflicts of interest.” So much for the PM’s promise of “a full airing.”

That’s rubbish.

It’s going a step too far … a big step and far, too far.

M Dion and other officers of parliament, including ministers themselves, must understand that the word privy. It means “sharing in the knowledge of (something secret or private).” It used to refer to a hidden or secret place. The Queen’s Privy Council is the group that shares the greatest secrets of the state; it is a most exclusive group and its deliberations, which are central to our, Westminster form of responsible, parliamentary government, are and must always remain beyond the reach of anyone not sworn to be a member. If parliament had wanted M Dion or anyone else to have access to these most secret deliberations then parliament would have said that he must be a privy councillor. Parliament didn’t mandate that which means that he does not need such access. I am absolutely sure that, no matter how much some Canadians may be outraged, a Conservative government will not change that. Notwithstanding his own sense of his own importance, M Dion is not a sworn privy councillor and, therefore, some things, some information is not available to him, he must do his duty as well as he can without that information.

Screen Shot 2019-08-17 at 20.56.50Did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in effect, “cook the books” or “stack the deck” by deciding just which snippets of information might be released? Yes, of course. We should not have expected otherwise. He is nearly totally devoid of any sense of decency and honesty. He is the very definition of unethical in almost everything he does. But the fact that almost 40% of Canadians voted for a weak, intellectually vacuous, unethical trust-fund kid is not a good reason to change one of the foundation stones of our system of parliamentary government; it is, however, a reason to vote for a party led by a responsible adult in October … that would be Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party fo Canada.

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