I’ve just been reading the former Governor General’s statement announcing her (welcome) retirement. First, let me say that I wish her well. While, as I said several years ago, I believed (and still believe) that there was (and still is) a better choice, near at hand, she is a capable and accomplished, indeed an inspirational person. It appears that, despite her intelligence, ambition and courage, she was a poor choice for the role. That being said the statement reads, to me, like a rather hasty “cut and paste” job.
We have learned that Julie Payette’s long-time friend (and her secretary, which means de facto second-in-command in Rideau Hall) Assunta Di Lorenzo, who also resigned, “hired the Toronto law firm of high-profile lawyer Marie Henein to represent her in discussions with federal lawyers.” That makes me suspect that the statement reads like a “cut and paste” job because it is. My guess is that at the Tuesday meeting when (link just above) “Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc and Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart presented the findings of the independent review to Ms. Payette,” they also presented a first draft letter of resignation. My guess is that this was e-mailed, almost instantly, to Mme Payette’s lawyer’s office. It is likely that a second draft letter of resignation was given to Mme Payette, along with the warning that if she did not resign by Friday the PM would be forced to ask the Queen to relieve her and there would be no possibility of any sort of “soft landing,” when she met with Prime Minister Trudeau of Wednesday.
By early Thursday morning my guess is that two drafts stood, side-by-side:
- One prepared by Mr Shugart’s team in the Privy Council Office. I suspect it forms the base for the whole thing and that the first paragraph and the fifth and subsequent paragraphs are nearly as drafted by the bureaucrats, there; but
- The second version, prepared by lawyers representing Mme Payette and Mme Di Lorenzo, removed a few paragraphs from Mr Shugart’s draft and added the 2nd, 3rd and 4th paragraphs.
It is clear that Mme Payette admits to no wrongdoing, in fact she suggests that “the principles of natural justice, due process and the rule of law” have not been applied to her and she hints that if they had she might not be in this pickle.
The most interesting bit of the entire statement is this:
Which is, of course, a brilliant, but very nasty, tip of the rhetorical hat to this:
My guess is that there was quite a bit of to’ing and fro’ing over those five words. In the end I suspect that the Privy Council Office, the prime minister’s policy people, didn’t care, and the Prime Minister’s Office, his political arm, gave in so that they could get the resignation on to the evening news to replace questions about the prime minister’s mismanagement of Canada’s vaccination programme.
And that, changing the channel, again, away from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s malfeasance or ineptitude, is, I suggest, why Julie Payette walked the plank, so publicly, right now. The opposition needs to switch the channel back and focus on a mix of Justin Trudeau’s failings and their own plans FOR a better, stronger, more prosperous Canada with honest, ethical, Conservative leadership.