JONESIE: Why the SNC-Lavalin affair is indeed scandalous and 'so Canadian'

 


OPINION


I love this SNC-Lavalin scandal for many reasons. It’s so Canadian, especially the way people say 'this is so Canadian' with a nod like, 'kids, this is what grown ups talk about all the time'. No, we’re not talking about email servers or Russian hookers, just a little matter of rule of law and prosecutorial independence. These are actual issues. More on that later.

Anyone else actually sort of heartened by this entire thing? Isn’t this closer to how Parliament should actually work? Shouldn’t the immense power of the Prime Minister’s Office be kept in check by Cabinet members with integrity who say no on occasion? I realize Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have resigned and have no real chance at returning but it’s a shame this entire escapade isn’t a regular scene in Ottawa to see ministers not always nod their heads when the PM pulls the strings.

After Wilson-Raybould made her statement to the Justice Committee, I just felt pride. Seeing bravery and integrity on display reduces me to near-tears.

That wonderful clear display of integrity isn’t the basis for Wilson-Raybould to ascend to party leadership. Before she’s anointed by social media, you might want to hear her thoughts on running the country first. Underlying integrity should be the basis for all politicians. Let’s not equate that with actual policy.

Another reason I love this controversy: Watching Conservatives back Wilson-Raybould and Philpott — Liberals — and hold them up as Saints. That's gotta hurt. 

Another reason: Watching all the ‘because it’s 2015’ #ibelieveher progressives in the Liberal Party choose their attacks with such care as they accuse Wilson-Raybould of being wrong. Minds are surely blown.

I think if you are imposing Wilson-Raybould’s gender and ethnicity in this — in any way — you are part of the problem on both scores.

I thought of Stephen Fuhr, the Kelowna-Lake Country B.C. Liberal during all this, what it must be like watching his party tear itself apart from the inside. Other MPs can perhaps weather this kind of scandal, but he’s a Freak of Nature, an anomaly who would need five years of amazing government to retain his seat. I imagined he might have been torn about all this. Doesn’t sound like he is, he has chosen Trudeau as it appears has the rest of the Liberal caucus.

I think even something less than full support for Trudeau might have helped him. I predict imminent doom. 

Fuhr gave me plenty of good reasons why he couldn’t back Wilson-Raybould and Philpott. It was important to him that even they didn’t allege criminal wrong-doing. He talked about the testimony of Gerald Butts and the Clerk of the Privy Council. And on the subject of pressure and who said what to whom and explanations of 'pressure', cabinet shuffles, lost trust, new minister, new legislation, some confusion — yeah, it’s not as clear anymore about what happened. Wilson-Raybould may indeed have been wrong about a couple things. If you think this is a discussion only about the finer points of whether Wilson-Raybould was unduly pressured, go ahead and flip the coin, I guess.

But if we can interrupt the regularly scheduled program for a minute, I'll remind everyone that the Prime Minister was pressuring the Attorney General/Justice Minister to intervene… ON BEHALF OF A QUEBEC COMPANY KNOWN GLOBALLY FOR BRIBERY AND SHADY DEALING! A company that has lobbied the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party! They enacted legislation that SNC Lavalin pushed! For the purpose of escaping criminal prosecution for its actions!

(Please appreciate that I just used four exclamation points and all caps to hit my point. I HATE exclamation points and all caps! This is worth it.)

Trudeau claimed he did it for jobs. Really. I’m not saying 9,000 jobs is nothing, I don’t mean to be crude in suggesting those people can find other work. But Canada is holding Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese citizen and CFO of Huawei, China is retaliating and Trudeau is on the world stage claiming the defence of Rule of Law.

But at the same time, he’s interfering with it. 

This scandal is 'so Canadian' because Justin Trudeau courted an international audience to cast himself as Canadianism personified. I can handle the socks, whatever. I can even handle the costumes and bad dancing. Being a hypocrite? Not a chance.

I knew when I held my nose and voted Liberal in 2015, he plays old Quebec politics and I knew about all the cat turds in that sandbox. I knew he’d get it on his hands and it would stink. I also felt and still do, that the Conservatives need more time in the corner. I don’t vote NDP on logic alone.

So I am stuck again.

But the thought dawned on me several times through the past few weeks of what this government would look like if cabinet and the caucus rallied together and dumped Trudeau before the election on ethical grounds.

Nothing about that stinks. 

— Marshall Jones is the editor of iNFOnews.ca


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