Susan Delacourt: What Trudeau needs to do to get past the SNC-Lavalin affair

Susan Delacourt: What Trudeau needs to do to get past the SNC-Lavalin affair
Up until six weeks ago, it looked like Justin Trudeau had fine-tuned his operation into election readiness for 2019. The SNC-Lavalin affair has blown those best-laid plans to smithereens, to say the least.

Now, with a budget on the immediate horizon and an election just seven months away, Trudeau has some immediate repair work to do, which will go well beyond the mere fine-tuning originally envisioned for this year.

It’s an important, if low-profile job in government and right now, it’s being carried by Carla Qualtrough, one of the more impressive performers in Trudeau’s cabinet. But she can’t keep doing double duty as Treasury Board president and minister in charge of public services and procurement. So once again, the prime minister has to do some kind of shuffle — his third one this winter — and he’ll be gambling that this one causes him less trouble than the January shuffle that started this whole mess in the first place.

, and from what I’ve gathered, he’s well and truly gone — perhaps back in some role for the campaign, but no guarantees. So Trudeau now has to figure out how to replace this powerful friend and ally with one, or possibly two people. There’s no shortage of senior Liberals waiting by the phone these days, waiting for the call to suit up and report for duty in the PMO. But Trudeau is apparently not looking for veterans of previous regimes, so some may want to abandon the vigil or auditions on TV panels.

One name that keeps popping up is the current ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, who already is considered part of Trudeau’s inner circle. But MacNaughton has said he feels he has more work to do in the job he now holds. (He would say that, though, regardless of what his immediate future holds.)

Trudeau could want to consider beefing up his caucus-outreach efforts in the weeks ahead, either with the appointment of some type of staff envoy, or simply paying more heed to frustrations that are surfacing in the wake of the Wilson-Raybould and Philpott resignations.
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