Robyn Urback, writing in the Globe and Mail, says what I know millions of Canadians are thinking: “In a normal government – one susceptible to shame, subject to real consequences, humbled by its occasional fallibility – Finance Minister Bill Morneau would be made to walk the plank.” But this is not a “normal” government and these are not “normal” times and my guess is that Team Trudeau, AKA the Government of Canada, will try to change the channel or change our perceptions of the ongoing Trudeau-Morneau-Keilburger scandal.
In normal times and in a normal government, Ms Urback writes “It wouldn’t simply be that someone, anyone, would need to be sacrificed to demonstrate the government’s contrition for its phenomenal screw-up of the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) program. Tens of thousands of young Canadians, after all, are out an opportunity to earn some money at a time when jobs are desperately scarce – and the charitable sector is still waiting for its promised volunteer placements – all because the government decided to toss a contract worth upward of $43-million in administrative fees to a charity with close ties to the Prime Minister, his family and his cabinet … [but she says, and I agree, fully] … in a normal government, where leaders wouldn’t even try to wash away the stink of this scandal with a mere apology, Mr. Morneau would be simply too noxious to keep in cabinet.“
“Through a trickle of revelations,” she reminds us, “we now know that this Finance Minister has overseen the distribution of millions of dollars worth of grants and contracts to an organization that has employed one of his daughters, partnered with the other and provided his family with free trips to the tune of $41,366. Mr. Morneau has not recused himself from past or recent cabinet discussions about awarding contracts to the WE organization, even though Section 21 of Conflict of Interest Act quite plainly required him to do so, and Section 11 prohibits the accepting of gifts that “might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the public office holder.” In a normal government, no finance minister could survive such a flagrant ethical breach.” How many of you, my friends and readers, have ever forgotten a $41,000+ trip? How many of you have even been on a $40,000 trip? Of course, he also forgot about a beautiful chateau that he owns in France until the media and the ethics commissioner reminded him … maybe he’s just forgetful or too rich to even notice.
Ms Urback concludes that “In any normal government, Mr. Morneau would be positively radioactive. In this one, for now, he remains the Minister of Finance.” I fact, I would add that in any “normal,” self-respecting country Messers Moreau and Trudeau would both have been given the boot by voters in 2019 due to any or all of their past ethical violations, broken promises about running deficits and monumentally stupid policy blunders ~ like the trip to India. But they’re still here and very recent data (20 July) says that even after the revelations of the WE Charity fiasco became public the Liberals remain in the lead …
… and are even near slim majority territory if a snap election is held soon.
That, I’m afraid, says more about us, Canadians, than it does about Bill Morneau and Justin Trudeau and “normal;” governments.