Let her speak.
That was the headline on an iconic Toronto Sun headline way back in February: let her speak.
Let Jody Wilson-Raybould – then still a cabinet minister, then still a member of the Liberal caucus – tell Canadians what she knew about Justin Trudeau’s attempts to influence the prosecution of the corruption trial of Quebec’s SNC-Lavalin, a big donor to his party.
It was important. In early February, the Globe and Mail had revealed that Trudeau and ten of his most-senior advisors had attempted to short-circuit SNC-Lavalin’s prosecution no less than 22 times over a four-month period. Wilson-Raybould said no, 22 times.
It would be wrong, she said. It was obstruction of justice, others would say.
Enraged by this proud Indigenous woman who didn’t know her place, Justin Trudeau demoted Jody Wilson-Raybould to Veteran’s Affairs. But the LavScam story wouldn’t go away. The scandal grew. There was a cancer on the Office of the Prime Minister, and everyone knew it.
Desperate, Trudeau relented somewhat. He issued a cabinet decision permitting Wilson-Raybould to speak about some – but not all – of what she knew. She testified before a Commons committee, and what she had to say plunged the Trudeau regime into one of the biggest scandals in recent Canadian political history.
When she testified, however, Jody Wilson-Raybould made one thing clear: she had more to say. She knew things Canadians needed to know.
But still, Trudeau would not let her tell all. And, even now, with the election campaign underway, Justin Trudeau refuses to let Jody Wilson-Raybould speak.
How long the RCMP have been investigating LavScam is unknown. Trudeau and his senior staff lawyered up months ago, so perhaps it’s been that long. But the Mounties are on the case – and Justin Trudeau is doing his utmost to stymie their investigation. He’s adamantly refused to waive the cabinet confidentiality that would let Wilson-Raybould speak to the police.
Reached by the Sun on Friday, Wilson-Raybould said that she has spoken to the police, and more than once. But she says there’s not much she can say to them, or me.
Said Wilson-Raybould to the Sun: “Thanks for your inquiry. I can confirm that I was interviewed by the RCMP on Tuesday of this week. I am not going to comment any further on the nature of those discussions.”
Not because she doesn’t want to, of course. But because Justin Trudeau – the guy who solemnly promised in 2015 to return ethics to Canadian public life – won’t let her. He says the Clerk of the Privy Council – his personal bureaucrat – makes that decision, not him.
It’s unknown if lie detectors beeped to life across Canada, when the Prime Minister said that on day one of the election campaign. They could have. They should have.
The Clerk serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister, not the other way around. Trudeau is the boss. That’s not all: decisions of the Prime Minister and his cabinet have the force of law; the Clerk’s doesn’t. Trudeau has true power, not some unelected bureaucrat.
His prevarications are cowardly and craven and dishonest. But they’re not the main reason Justin Trudeau shouldn’t be believed.
The main reason is this: Justin Trudeau, personally, was the one who authorized the February 25, 2019 cabinet decision – number 2019-0105 – to waive confidentiality and permit Jody Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Justice Committee. Right in the very first line, it said the decision had been made “on the recommendation of the Prime Minister,” quote unquote.
Him, Justin Trudeau. Not some bureaucrat. Not a member of his cabinet. Him.
Justin Trudeau had the power then to let Jody Wilson-Raybould speak. Now he claims he doesn’t.
And he needs to let her speak – because she knows the truth.
Daniel Johnston died a few days ago. Here is his greatest song, True Love Will Find You In The End.
Yes, I have something in my eye.
At Hoss’s Diner in Carrying Place, getting a bite before Brian Lilley and friends arrive, and spotted this reprobate in the Sun!
That’s what Justin Trudeau had to say when he launched this, the 43rd federal general election. Zero, zippo, zilch.
Oh, sure, he said some stuff. He stood there in front of Rideau Hall, a focus-grouped gaggle of ethnically-diverse Canadians behind him, and he sprayed the usual Trudeau-esque word salad all over the unimpressed ink-stained wretches.
“I’m for moving forward for everyone,” he squeaked, oozing boyish charm. “We’ve all got a choice to make: keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made, or go back to the politics of the Harper years.”
Odd, that. Firstly, last time we checked, Stephen Harper isn’t running in this election. And, secondly, if the Liberals’ oxymoronic brain trust think Stephen Harper’s name still evokes fear and loathing from coast to coast to coast, they’re on drugs.
Smart Conservatives say that Harper ain’t reviled like he was four years ago. Not even close. Keep talking about Harper, Grits.
But that isn’t what was so bizarre about Justin Trudeau’s campaign launch. What was bizarre was this: nothing.
Meaning, that’s what he said: nothing. Apart from the jab at a guy who isn’t running, Justin Trudeau didn’t put the minutest amount of effort into defining the so-called ballot question. He didn’t say why he wants to keep being Prime Minister.
Years ago, Ted Kennedy blew his shot at the presidency when he couldn’t answer that eminently-reasonable question, posed to him by CBS’ Roger Mudd. Conversely, on Wednesday, all the other major party leaders said why they wanted the top job.
Invoking her inner Trekkie, the Greens’ Elizabeth May called us Earthlings, and said it’s all about climate change. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh said the vote is about the little guy and gal, and he’s all for the little people.
Andrew Scheer cheerfully reminded everyone to read up on how Trudeau is stonewalling a police probe of LavScam – and then said the election is about pocketbook stuff, and helping folks get ahead. Which he’ll do.
It’s Politics 101, more basic than never getting photographed while eating something: on Day One, you get your guy or gal to bound up to a microphone and say what the election is all about, and why you are the best guy or gal for the job. And then you charge off to your campaign plane or bus, and head out to the hinterland.
(Unless you’re May and Singh, that is, in which case you will be campaigning on bicycles, or using a brisk walk.)
Justin Trudeau didn’t do that. He did what Teddy Kennedy did: he said nothing, basically.
In fairness to the Liberal leader, there’s not much he can say. After mishandling relations with India, China and the US – to wit, where’s the new NAFTA, Justy? – foreign affairs ain’t anything to brag about. Likewise, domestic affairs: Trudeau has helped to elect seven, count ‘em, seven conservative Premiers across Canada.
Same with ethics: he’s the first Prime Minister in history to be found guilty of violating two federal statutes (over LavScam and the Aga Khan) while still in office.
Fiscal probity? It is to laugh: he giddily broke his solemn promise to balance the budget. Ditto electoral reform. Feminism? Um: Gropegate, elbowed a female MP in the chest, exiled two women who (a) are way smarter than him and who (b) wouldn’t do what he told them to.
And so on, and so on. Justin Trudeau has nothing to say, and nothing he said. So he stepped out into the Ottawa sunshine, that cloying grin playing on the face that isn’t as youthful as it used to be, and said what he’s done to improve Canada, and what he’ll do to improve it if re-elected.
Which, as we say, is nothing.
I never said that. I never called her a fucking liar and a lunatic, even if she is.
But I am tempted to sue her. Not to get my hands on her pension, worth millions since Paul Martin wisely dumped her.
No, I’d do it for disclosure. To see her communications with PMO.
That would be worth the trouble.
(And, no, I don’t work for the Greens. I set up their war room and moved on. Lisa, meanwhile, is capable of speaking for herself. She’s smarter and more credible than Sheila, among other things.)
Legal and political experts are rejecting Justin Trudeau’s statement that it is up to Canada’s top bureaucrat to decide whether to lift the veil of cabinet secrecy over the SNC-Lavalin affair, saying that waiving confidentiality is a political decision in the hands of the prime minister.
Retired judge John Gomery, who led a public inquiry into the federal sponsorship program in 2004 and 2005, said he was initially rebuffed by senior bureaucrats when he asked for access to cabinet minutes related to the national-unity initiative, which was marred by fraud and corruption. The Liberal prime minister of the day, Paul Martin, eventually over rode the senior bureaucrats and agreed to provide access to all available information.
“It is a political decision,” Mr. Gomery said in an interview.
…Yan Campagnolo, a professor of common law at the University of Ottawa, said that except in matters before the courts, the decision to release cabinet secrets is made at the political level through an order in council adopted by cabinet ministers.
“Outside the context of litigation, the only individual with the political authority to authorize the disclosure of cabinet confidences is the prime minister,” he said.
“The Prime Minister is the only person with the authority to broaden the scope of that order in council if it is deemed too narrow,” Mr. Campagnolo said.