Roy Green: Storm clouds for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
|globalnews.ca 22 Mar 2019 at 13:09|
The vote was caustically predictable. Five Liberal MPs assumed their no doubt assigned roles as political minesweepers and pushed past four of their contemporaries from the opposition Conservative and New Democratic parties.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, looking wan and for all the world as skittish as a mouse under an owl’s nest, had enacted a “notwithstanding” clause.
Now, this is not the constitutional lever grants Parliament and provincial legislatures the power to overrule court decisions, but rather Trudeau’s personal notwithstanding override.
Five Liberal MPs used their majority position on the justice committee to protect the prime minister and override an opposition motion to recall Trudeau’s former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.
This, notwithstanding the fact Wilson-Raybould had that she likely has much more damning evidence to offer Canada concerning PM/PMO interference with her federal duties, and notwithstanding IPSOS polling confirming 67 per cent of Canadians consider JWR’s truth to be rock solid, vis-a-vis 33 per cent who place their faith in Trudeau’s ever mobile version.
The justice committee voted 5-4, with the Liberal MPs voting against. Again. It’s always 5-4 to protect Trudeau, invariably raising howls of outrage and frustration in reply.
Then this week’s push back. Former Trudeau parliamentary secretary and Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes exited the Liberal Party of Canada caucus after accusing the PM of noxious behaviour when she informed Trudeau she would not be seeking re-election in October. The PMO’s reply? Caesar-Chavannes was clearly mistaken. The prime minister had not raised his voice to the then-Liberal MP.
Could it be Caesar-Chavannes’ experience was different to that of Trudeau?
Enter Jane Philpott, former federal minister of health and Treasury Board president. Having already expressed her lack of confidence in Trudeau’s ethical management of the growing SNC-Lavlin scandal, Philpott was rolling additional verbal grenades. There was much more to be revealed about Trudeau, the PMO, Jody Wilson-Raybould and the SNC case, she revealed to Paul Wells of Maclean’s.
And as if that weren’t enough, there followed SNC-Lavalin’s chief executive, Neil Bruce, who informed Canadians that he and his company had never cited a potential 9,000 jobs lost as the rationale for a seeking remediation agreement.
Trudeau’s perhaps only consistently insistent argument has been his intent to protect those jobs, now revealed as not-under-threat.
Wilson-Raybould returned to the headlines on Friday. The former attorney general has sent a letter to the Liberal chair of the justice committee declaring she will provide copies of texts and emails she referenced in her nationally engaging testimony to committee members last month.
Trudeau is powerless to discipline either Wilson-Raybould or Philpott and dismissal of the two former senior and female cabinet ministers from caucus would perhaps serve only to cause a further series of departures.