May. 29, 2019

The Canadian swamp is busy doing its dirty work

Many of us were aware that the knives would be out for Jody Wilson Raybould as soon she exposed the efforts of the law breaking (Conflict of Interest Act) Prime Minister and Minister of Justice to obstruct the normal course of justice by trying to interfere in the independent Public Prosecutorial Service. And when it happened we all heard about the nasty character of Ms Raybould. Of course, that wasn’t enough: the Parliamentary Committee was shut down by the Liberal governing party from hearing more about the scandal.

But the swamp is unrelenting. Now we have once-respected Andrew Cohen, professor of journalism and continuing journalist, spreading his partisan venom across the mainstream media, enhancing and making legitimate a seriously-flawed governance system within the Federal Government. In a piece carried by the Ottawa citizen and reprinted in the St. John’s Telegram (no doubt other newspapers) Cohen, without producing a shred of evidence, proceeds to undermine the character of Raybould and Jane Philpott, another Minister who resigned from the Government over the same matter.

Apparently there is no such thing as principle anymore just going along with the consensus, no matter what. 

Note the snide sarcasm of this quote from Cohen: "Expelled by the Liberals, they revealed their political future Monday with a touch of theatre. They held separate news conferences in their ridings, where they both wore white. As it happens, that’s the colour of the smoke sent up the chimney of the Vatican when the College of Cardinals announces a new pope."

Or describing Raybould: “When things did not go her way as minister of justice, she sulked, simmered, walked and then talked. She proclaims herself a truth-teller, as if her truth were the only one.”

And describing Philpott:, ”Yet, she too” did not always play well with her colleagues in cabinet, whom she dismissed and disdained and still does.”

But this is all based on rumour and innuendo perpetrated by former colleagues who must now toe the line to remain comfortably in their cushy jobs. No evidence, the cornerstone of good journalism, I had been led to believe.

And then showing his blatantly Liberal partisan ‘shirt’, Cohen declares:

“ – one of the western world’s last remaining progressive governments, referring to the Canadian Liberal Government whose leaders break the Conflict Of Interest Act, who break their promise of eliminating deficits but rather pile up billions in deficits each year, who have driven billions of dollars of resource investment from our country, and whose environmental bonafides are so conflicted that the Paris Environmental Agreement and Trans Mountain Pipeline stand “side by side,” billions of dollars later.

There’s objectivity for you. No doubt taught with vigor by Professor Cohen!

And then there is this: “which were over “a scandal” without money and criminality but an unfortunate difference of opinion and a misreading of temperament.”

Can you believe this? And from an award winning journalist!

Were not many of the employees of SNC Lavalin encouraged to contribute money to the Liberal Party Of Canada, and many did? Was not SNC Lavalin’s wholly owned subsidiary banned by the World Bank from being involved with Bank financed projects for ten years because the subsidiary was engaged in unethical, illegal practises ? Did not the Chilean Government Mining Company cancel a contract with SNC Lavalin over quality and time? Are not charges pending against SNC Lavalin regarding activities in Libya? Was not SNC Lavalin trying to minimize these charges which was what led to the Raybould/Philpott resignations in the first place?

This is only a difference of opinion and misreading of temperament?? Whew! Wow!

Cohen even mentions it being a managerial matter made into a moral one – “making a moral case out of a managerial one.”

Is this for real ? The attempt by the PM’s office and the Minister of Finance Office to interfere in the decision making of the independent Prosecutorial Service of Canada is a managerial matter, a matter of temperament?

It is, I submit, a matter of principle – that our Prosecutorial Service is beyond politics and political interference.

Is the rule of law now subservient to a partisan opinion concerning an alleged progressive Government?

Does the shutting down of debate in a Parliamentary Committee not count for something ? 

Does the PM and Minister of Finance breaking the law not count for something? 

To what condition has our country fallen when political interference in our independent justice system, the improper running of our Parliament, law breaking of our government leaders become only a difference of opinion, a managerial matter, a matter of temperament, subservient to and bowing on the altar of one person’s progressive vision of our nation?

Here is Professor Cohen’s full article:


Wilson-Raybould and Philpott begin their journey to obscurity

Ottawa Citizen (letters@ottawacitizen.com)

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, Our Ladies of Lavalin, have now written the coda to their long-running personal psychodrama, which, single-handedly, is strangling this government.

Expelled by the Liberals, they revealed their political future Monday with a touch of theatre. They held separate news conferences in their ridings, where they both wore white. As it happens, that’s the colour of the smoke sent up the chimney of the Vatican when the College of Cardinals announces a new pope.

No papal coronation here, just veneration of Saint Jody and Saint Jane. They will run for re-election as independents, and with that, they will sanctify and save our politics.
The two were courted by the Greens and considered joining them. Had they aligned themselves with Elizabeth May, they would have immediately doubled her small caucus and given the party two star candidates in the fall election.

But they rejected the Greens and the New Democrats, too. So Philpott and Wilson-Raybould will not be wearing green, orange or red this year. Just white, which they say is the colour of independents — and purists, too.
As Wilson-Raybould says, affiliation is not for her. “I know who I am, ” she says. “I am not a party person.”
No, she isn’t. Not much interest here in brokering interests or forging consensus, which is what parties do. When things did not go her way as minister of justice, she sulked, simmered, walked and then talked. She proclaims herself a truth-teller, as if her truth were the only one.

With a towering self-confidence, she vows to continue to tell her truth as an independent. Curiously, she was willing to withhold it as long as she was minister of justice. She resigned only when she was demoted, demonstrating that her truth was tied to her ambition.

Another way of putting it: Jody Wilson-Raybould is a narcissist, supremely confident of her instincts, assured of her judgment and persuasive enough to bring along a sympathetic Philpott.

It mattered to neither the impact of their resignations, which were over “a scandal” without money and criminality but an unfortunate difference of opinion and a misreading of temperament. When Wilson-Raybould could not win the argument, she decamped, making a moral case out of a managerial one. That you can’t always get what you want, it seemed, never stopped her. The Rolling Stones know better, as do people in every walk of life who make compromises every day because they have a larger view of things.
Wilson-Raybould’s departure was cheered in the legal community, which saw her as a weak minister with a thin résumé. She is no loss to cabinet.

Philpott, her soulmate, is. She brought talent to her portfolios. Yet, she too, did not always play well with her colleagues in cabinet, whom she dismissed and disdained and still does.

Whatever their complaint, though, it pales beside the survival of one of the western world’s last remaining progressive governments, whatever its flaws and failures. In calling into question the future of this government — in elevating their lament to a single point of principle — they moved their own private motion of non-confidence in the government and tried to bring it down. Which is why the Liberals expelled them.

If the Conservatives are elected, they will care little about Indigenous issues, gender parity, a pollution tax, public broadcasting, pharmacare and much else championed by both Philpott and Wilson-Raybould as members of the government.

No one will remember SNC Lavalin in a year or two, nor this pair of voices of conscience. Both are less likely to win their seats than split the vote and hand them to the Conservatives. Well done, sisters.

If, however, they do return to Parliament, there they will sit in the corner, far from the action, without party, platform or power. There they will blow their plywood trumpets and watch Andrew Scheer dismantle — see Jason Kenney’s “summer of repeal” — their legacy, piece by piece.
It will be an exquisite agony, entirely self-inflicted, as our two saints march briskly from here to obscurity.

Andrew Cohen is a journalist, professor and author of Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours That Made History.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019’