This is an open letter to all of you. I want to start it by telling you why I became a lawyer.
It was a movie, called The Oxbow Incident. It was a Western, released some 75 years ago, and it starred Henry Fonda. It was about how a mob hanged a man. The wrong man.
At the end, the lynch mob all gather in a bar, and Henry Fonda reads a letter the dead man wrote to his wife. Here is some of it.
“Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong,” Fonda says, reading the dead man’s letter. “It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody’s conscience, except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived?”
That speech is why I became a lawyer. What Henry Fonda said, in a long-ago Western. What he said about justice, and how it is the thing that makes us human.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, who I have never met – and Jane Philpott, who I have – remind me a little bit of Henry Fonda, reading that dead man’s letter. They seem to believe, as I do, that if we do not have justice, we have not much left. They proudly gave up everything for it, after all.
After what you Liberals did, I suppose you are expecting me to liken you to a lynch mob. And, it is true: you were a bit like that.
Hell, you expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould on the pretext of a making a tape on which a powerful man threatens her. When, a few days later, the Prime Minister of Canada spoke to Wilson-Raybould about why she’d been demoted – and he didn’t bother to tell her his Principal Secretary was secretly listening in. Keeping a record of what was said.
To use against her.
But, still, I will not call you a lynch mob. What you are, more accurately, is a group of people who belong to a cult. It is not a political party anymore. It is a cult.
It’s kind of understandable, although not ever forgivable. Justin Trudeau, to most of you, is the Liberal Party. He lifted the party from third place to first, and he propelled most of you into power. He made three big promises.
He said he’d be a feminist. He said he’d reconcile with indigenous people. And he said he’d bring back ethical government.
Well, he lied. His willingness to brutalize Wilson-Raybould, Philpott and Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes – and to cut a sweetheart deal for a sleazy donor – showed him to be none of those things. It showed him to be what this newspaper memorably called him this week: the fake feminist.
But still you follow him. Still you belong to his cult. Even when you know he has done wrong.
And so, you will end like all cults do: you will go down with your leader. You will perish with him, and you all richly deserve it.
Because voters understand – as they did at the end of The Oxbow Incident – that justice is all that keeps us from devolving into a lynch mob.
Which, as I say, you all resemble quite a bit.
And for which you will all pay.