Joseph Nye Welch: remember that name.
He was an American lawyer, and chief counsel to the US Army. He died long ago. But even from the grave, even after so many years have gone by, Welch has something to important to say about the sordid, seamy scandal known as LavScam.
The Ethics Commissioner had something to say, too, as it turned out. And this week, he said it: “The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. [Jody] Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”
That sentence – and the commissioner’s finding that Justin Trudeau and his thugs did, indeed, conspire to stop the criminal prosecution of a Québec-based donor to his party, SNC-Lavalin – has myriad implications for many people. Here are just a few.
• Andrew Scheer: When the LavScam story broke in the Globe and Mail, the Conservative Party leader was criticized by some in his own party for demanding Justin Trudeau’s resignation. It is clear, now, he was right to do so. It’s also equally clear that Scheer need not worry himself about Trudeau’s puerile threat to sue him for defamation. Truth, after all, is an absolute defence to a libel claim.
• Jody Wilson-Raybould: Everything that the former Attorney-General said – and Trudeau petulantly refused to let her say all she had to say – was also true. All of it. She was, in fact, pressured by Trudeau and ten of his minions (including his Minister of Finance) to cut a sweetheart deal for SNC-Lavalin on 22 separate occasions over a four-month period. She spoke the truth. And, in so doing, Wilson-Raybould revealed more integrity and courage than Trudeau could ever hope to possess in ten lifetimes.
• Trudeau’s Office: His most-powerful aide, Gerald Butts, resigned at the height of the LavScam scandal. At the time, it was unclear why. Not now. Butts should tender his resignation again – as should Katie Telford, Ben Chin, Mathieu Bouchard, Elder Marques and others in PMO. Bouchard and Marques, both lawyers, additionally deserve the scrutiny of the relevant law societies for their role in LavScam.
• The Mounties: It is known that the RCMP seized Butts’ government-issue laptop and cell phone when he first resigned. It is also known that Butts, Telford and the others “lawyered up,” and retained counsel for an anticipated criminal probe. And then…nothing. While Scheer and others demanded a criminal investigation, the RCMP gave every indication they were having an extended, collective nap. The Ethics Commissioner’s extraordinary report will force them awake. Or should.
• The Media: For various sycophantic media voices – most notably the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt and HuffPo’s Althing Raj – the SNC-Lavalin affair has been a trifling matter, and Wilson-Raybould deserved to be exiled by Trudeau and his lackeys. The damning Ethic Commissioner’s report should oblige Delacourt, Raj and other Trudeau-flatterers to radically revise that assessment.
But what, one might ask, of Joseph Nye Welch? How is LavScam relevant to him, and vice-versa?
Watching Justin Trudeau simultaneously accept the Ethics Commissioner’s report – and then condemn it, all dewy-eyed sincerity – Welch might have said what he famously said to Joseph McCarthy, during the Democratic Senator’s hunt for communists and subversives.
“Until this moment, I think I have never really gauged your recklessness,” Welch might’ve said to Trudeau. “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Justin Trudeau, at long last, does not.