The other day I said that one of the three legs of the stool which Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are using to excuse his mishandling of the whole We Charity fiasco is that the public service made him do it.
Andrew Coyne takes him to task for that, in a column in the Globe and Mail, in which he says “There are any number of things wrong with this [Justin Trudeau’s] explanation. One, even if cabinet had no option, as the phrase has it, but to approve the WE deal, it doesn’t explain why Mr. Trudeau didn’t recuse himself from the vote. Two, ministers did in fact have an option: to borrow another phrase, they could have said no. They could have told the civil service to find someone else to run the program or they could have nixed it altogether. Civil servants are supposed to take orders from ministers, not the reverse … [and] … The Prime Minister’s defence of his conduct would appear to be rooted in the idea that the obligations of public office holders under the Conflict of Interest Act are essentially optional – that ministers should avoid conflicts of interest in the design and implementation of government programs unless the program is really important to them or unless the civil service has assured them the organization in which they have an interest is the only organization available. These,” Mr Coyne says, and I agree fully, “are not interpretations of the act with which I am familiar.“
This is a made-up, Telford-Trudeau fairy story that is designed to provide a barely acceptable cover for a mix of greed, stupidity and an ongoing Liberal culture of entitlement. The story is meant to make this all go away so that the Liberals and their friends in the Laurentian Elites can return to their accustomed places at the trough.
My Coyne sweeps aside the prime minister’s feeble defence that there was no “real” conflict of interest, just a “perceived” one … that’s nonsense, and Justin Trudeau knows it. When someone knows they are being false they are telling lies. Justin Trudeau is a liar.
Then he deals with the prime minister’s time-line: “But back,” he says, “to that other startling claim – that neither Mr. Trudeau nor Ms. Telford knew about any of this until May 8. How plausible is this? Consider the goings-on in the days and weeks prior to that date. WE had communicated with at least three ministers in his own cabinet about it. The matter had been discussed by a bevy of senior civil servants and approved by a committee of cabinet. There had, by Ms. Telford’s account, been a “handful” of contacts between the charity and officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, including one on May 5, the day WE began work on the program … [so we had] … All these people, all that time, on a file of this magnitude, and no one breathed a word to the Prime Minister or his chief of staff? And this is the first we’ve heard of that? The Prime Minister takes the extraordinary step of pulling it from cabinet, and no previous witness, including the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, and the minister responsible for the program, Youth Minister Bardish Chagger, thinks to mention it?“
It’s rubbish, of course. Both Justin Trudeau and Ms Telford are being more than just “economical with the truth” here. I suspect they concocted this tale together in the hope that just enough Canadians will believe it to take the problem off the Globe and Mail‘s front pages. I don’t believe it. It’s another Trudeau-Liberal lie.