Why Progressives are mistaken in defending Trudeau et al.
” The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what sells.” ~ Confucious
Whoever said politics is a blood-sport, wasn’t wrong and if you’ve been a House of Cards fan you’ll know the quote: “The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties…”
The political arena in Canada right now is full of casualties and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of it with respect to the SNC Lavalin debacle involving Trudeau and the staff that surround him. And make no mistake, this entire affair IS about Trudeau et al.. no matter how much anyone tries to convince you otherwise.
It is not about Jody Wilson-Rayboulds personality.
It is not about her being ‘difficult’, a derogatory description often used to denigrate strong women who can’t or won’t be bullied or influenced.
It is not about her past as a lawyer. And it certainly isn’t about the opinion of any defence lawyer who worked with her in the past when she was a prosecutor who didn’t work with him the way he would have preferred.
It isn’t even about whether you like her, or her party. All of these points have come up and been used by the Conservatives of course, who are more than happy to pounce because an election is coming… but they have also been used widely by fellow progressives, including feminist women, to separate and marginalize the testimony of Jody Wilson-Raybould. It started during her testimony when her fellow Liberal MP’s, questioned her aggressively as if she were on trial and not their leaders actions.
It’s been embarrassing and shameful to watch. We just went through this here in BC when the media and BC Liberal partisans attacked Daryll Plecas. Many of the same people who decried the smears on Plecas, are now the among those attacking Wilson-Raybould. Many of the same people I have stood alongside in fighting Harpers regressive policies, and then Clarks, have been defending Trudeaus actions by saying even Wilson-Raybould had said they weren’t illegal… which, it has been pointed out, may in fact be incorrect:
Everything is upside down…but I digress.
Seeing this defence used by a very progressive and educated woman I know recently, who literally pooh-poohed Trudeaus actions as nothing, I asked her if she would have said the same thing if it had been Clark interfering in something serious ‘ because jobs’.
She didn’t respond…because she and I both know the truth is that she wouldn’t have excused it if it was Clark,or Harper, or any other leader so many were glad to see depart. There were many times Clarks actions in government rightfully garnered outrage and calls for resignation even though they weren’t illegal. I was there every single time, as were most of you. But turning a blind eye is a dangerous game.
That’s why, when Clark first appeared on CTV defending the Prime Minister, it should have given everyone a reality check. https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/christy-clark-says-jody-wilson-raybould-should-have-reported-any-inappropriate-pmo-pressure-1.4299629
Sigh. One would think she might only speak on the issue of unethical behavior once, but oh no, the premier that was so misguided her own party wanted her gone, came back a second time to comment. ( can you hear my eyes roll? Former SNC Lavalin director Gwyn Morgan was her transition advisor while he was still with SNC )
Paul Wells mentions her in this excellent piece today: https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/moving-the-goalposts-and-lowering-the-bar/
But why are we even getting upset, some Liberals would have us ask? This scandal is boring people to death, former B.C. premier Christy Clark opined on QP. The company didn’t even get what it wanted! The system worked! This isn’t even a vegan nothingburger it’s so nothing!
If you’re a Liberal joining the former premier in making those arguments—and I like to imagine Ben Chin, Clark’s former staffer now starring for Bill Morneau in between his bouts of pressuring the former attorney general on SNC, is—well, then, congratulations to you, I suppose. How quickly you’ve fallen. It usually takes governments 10 years to go from “real change” to “meet the new boss, way, way, way, worse than the old boss”. Who knew the one thing the deliverology unit actually delivered on was in stripping away the consciences of those elected to the Liberal benches in 2015?
Declaring this scandal as boring or a non starter shows how out of touch she still is with the average person. Defending Trudeau or giving him a hall pass doesn’t serve anyone,least of all Progressives. It does not serve the justice system. It doesn’t serve the goal of getting big money out of politics. And it doesn’t serve the goal of keeping other leaders with regressive and divisive policies out of the PM’s chair. Let me tell you why.
While this insane ‘defend Trudeau,attack Jody’ strategy has been playing out, the Conservatives are gaining ground. Maxime Bernier and his ” We’ll fix everything” crew are also not so quietly gaining ground in certain areas…a development that is truly alarming. My former editor from 24Hours Vancouver offered his take on this here: https://www.burnabynow.com/federal-election-2019/is-this-the-last-we-ve-seen-of-laura-lynn-in-burnaby-politics-not-likely-1.23645513
You are worried about Scheer winning the next election?Me too, so stop swallowing your discomfort in spades to defend Trudeau when we all know what happened was wrong, regardless of whether it was legal or not. The second the coming election and votes were mentioned it was wrong. That’s political. Every move he has made has compounded the mistakes and every second this drags on the Conservatives grow stronger which puts everything progressive at risk, because no one truly can take SNC Lavalins side here.
SNC Lavalin has a long and often checkered history, particularly outside of Canada. As I detailed in depth recently, their connections to BC Liberal projects in BC is extensive and largely unexamined, and projects occurred during the same time period as the current corruption charges. SNC also had a lobbyist out here in BC talking to NDP mlas, Geogg Meggs and Rich Coleman about oil and gas pipeline project management while this Trudeau pressure was happening back east. https://lailayuile.com/2019/02/13/snc-lavalin-lobbyist-met-with-bc-mlas-last-year-just-as-trials-were-underway-back-east/
I’ve said often over the years that blind partisanship no matter where it lives, will be the death of democracy.
It’s toxic. It serves no one, and it fosters a culture where leaders and their inner circle begin to feel untouchable and thus start to appear arrogant. They know that their most loyal supporters won’t say a word… ‘ because Power”.
Christy Clark learned that the hard way…and I suspect Trudeau is about to as well.
While writing this, Liberal Treasury Board President resigned from the LPC cabinet. Her resignation letter is posted here: https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/read-jane-philpott-s-full-resignation-letter-1.4321826
Dear Prime Minister,
It is an enormous privilege to be the Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville and to have served as Minister of Health, then Minister of Indigenous Services, then President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government. It has been an honour to play a leading role in progress that has shaped our country: bringing Syrian refugees to Canada; legislating a balanced approach to Medical Assistance in Dying; negotiating a health accord with new resources for mental health and home care; improving infrastructure for First Nations to provide clean water on reserve; and reforming child welfare to reduce the over-apprehension of Indigenous children.
However, I have been considering the events that have shaken the federal government in recent weeks and after serious reflection, I have concluded that I must resign as a member of Cabinet.
In Canada, the constitutional convention of Cabinet solidarity means, among other things, that ministers are expected to defend all Cabinet decisions. A minister must always be prepared to defend other ministers publicly, and must speak in support of the government and its policies. Given this convention and the current circumstances, it is untenable for me to continue to serve as a Cabinet minister.
Unfortunately, the evidence of efforts by politicians and/or officials to pressure the former Attorney General to intervene in the criminal case involving SNC-Lavalin, and the evidence as to the content of those efforts have raised serious concerns for me. Those concerns have been augmented by the views expressed by my constituents and other Canadians.
The solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system. It is a fundamental doctrine of the rule of law that our Attorney General should not be subjected to political pressure or interference regarding the exercise of her prosecutorial discretion in criminal cases. Sadly, I have lost confidence in how the government has dealt with this matter and in how it has responded to the issues raised.
It grieves me to leave a portfolio where I was at work to deliver on an important mandate. But I must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations. There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them.
Although I must regretfully resign from Cabinet, I will continue to serve Canadians in every other way that I can. I was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville and I intend to continue in that role. I am firmly committed to our crucial platform priorities, especially: justice for Indigenous peoples; and implementing a plan to tackle the existential threat of climate change. Canadians need the assurance that, in all matters, Members of Parliament will act in the best interests of the public. My decision has been made with that spirit and intent.
The Honourable Jane Philpott MD PC MP
Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville