May. 14, 2019

It’s scary when journalists can’t even see

I read Kelly McParland’s column in the National Post. Several had e-mailed me to read it. Of course, I had read it already, hound that I am.

Well, this is a bit scary; because if people like McParland are genuinely unaware of the state our country is in and even now put it down to incompetence and title it “ship of fools” we are really in one hell of a state.

This is not an accident, incompetence or just some “fools”, a one off. This is the way the country has been working, sometimes more, sometimes less, for a long time.

Depressing, I know.

When the “powers that be” in Ottawa decide on a course of action the players line up and play their part. And it is relentless and ugly.

Harken for a moment when Pierre Trudeau was PM. He and his cohorts decided that Newfoundland and Labrador should have little or no power over a burgeoning new resource, offshore oil and gas. Lies were told over long periods of time as I detail in my book (Some Day The Sun Will Shine And Have Not Will Be No More).

Yet, many believed the lies — somehow it was bad for the country (that word “Balkanize” was used) to allow a small Province to grow from its resources. How preposterous looking back at it now I am sure many would say. In the corridors of power I was persona non grata and was posed questions by the national media implying how ungrateful I was as a Canadian, how un-Canadian I was. Sure there were even attempts, covertly, for Quebec to get part of the action. I was trying to break up the country! In time (Brian Mulroney Government) a deal was done and the country did not fall apart.

Do we forget the unilateral, unconstitutional (The Supreme Court ruled, 1981) attempt to patriate the constitution? And later the myth making of how the Constitution was patriated constitutionally, denigrating the role many people from across Canada played in making it happen, and disfiguring our history. Je n’ oublie pas. Again detailed in my book.

That’s the policy side. And its worse if you are small with no “power.”

Then there is the more practical, personal, like the Norman case. McParland and others should research (older fellows like me remember) the sad story of Francis Beaudoin, President of the Federal Business Development Bank who was treated wrongly (house searched) as a result of opposing Bank financing relating to Prime Minister Chretien’s business associates. Luckily, in this case the justice system worked (it was not the Federal Justice system that was involved, thankfully) and Mr Beaudoin won his case in court (2004) having his salary and pension reinstated. How we forget so quickly?

From a Globe and Mail news story reporting the Quebec Superior Court Judge’s decision :

“The judge blasted two of the former prime minister's closest friends, BDC president Michel Vennat and former BDC vice-president Jean Carle, saying they mounted the kind of campaign that would break Mr. Beaudoin and ruin his career. The campaign included violating a severance agreement, unjustified claims that Mr. Beaudoin misappropriated funds, and illegal searches that included photocopying personal information such as Mr. Beaudoin's personal tax forms and accounting records, the judgment said.”

How about that swimming pool at the PM’s residence during Trudeau senior’s time. History? Let’s forget?

Do many today think such things no longer occur?

These are only tips of the iceberg—-both in public and private life (consulting) there are many stories I and others know that would elucidate and detail an unfair, corrupt system.

The most troubling thing, like the Norman and Beaudoin affairs, is how the Federal justice system, the supposed bedrock of our democracy continues to fail the citizens, and taxpayers of this nation. It’s one thing for political operatives to err in their narrow petty fields, as bad as that is, it is quite another to see the process of justice disintegrate, and at this moment, it seems, on a regular basis given SNC Lavalin and the Norman matter.

No, it is not a Ship Of Fools but rather a Ship of Thinking People exercising power in a most corrupt way in a system unable to correct itself.

Of course, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth again, but fundamental change? 

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, living in Nanaimo, B.C.

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