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Quite a time

by Dave Adsett

After pondering current events it became difficult to come up with a time more curious as it relates to politics and the hypocrisy that abounds within that sphere.

Case in point – at least as a start – is the rapidly devolving stature of our current prime minister. As of Tuesday this week, two cabinet ministers had resigned, citing an absence of confidence in how the Liberal government handled the SNC-Lavalin file.

The committee has yet to hear from Trudeau’s former principal secretary, Gerry Butts, who resigned a week ago. This whole tawdry affair will need to play out before we get too busy discussing who should do what. But one point is clear, regardless of how the spin doctors massage it: attempts were made to alter the course of justice relating to a criminal offence.

Some people, including sitting Liberals, are satisfied dismissing this issue as merely politics as usual, or a step more decadent, that former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was simply not a team player.

Regardless of what comes next, Wilson-Raybould demonstrated a competence and degree of integrity not witnessed in some time.

Imagine for a moment, bucking the system by refusing repeated requests, possibly demands, for political favours. That takes guts, but it also creates a problem. How does the system deal with a politician of integrity? With the second principled resignation by former Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, there are now two politicians who have drawn lines that they won’t cross. It’s quite a time to witness.

The question has been raised numerous times with us whether this is that big a deal. It most certainly is and in order to make it more easily understood, consider the following. How would any of us feel if the warden or a local mayor, perhaps some councillors or staff, decided to intervene in say a drunk driving case, or maybe a manslaughter charge. Politicians have no place directing the constabulary, the officers of the court or crown attorneys. It’s a treacherous slope for anyone to navigate, leading to corruption and untoward behaviour of those in authoritative roles.

There are lots of things people can agree to disagree on, but there are some fundamental values that just cannot be jeopardized or bargained away for expediency. Sometimes, things have to be seen for what they are, warts and all.

That civics lesson is all but lost on the provincial Conservatives’ handling of the new commissioner appointment at the OPP. The whistleblower who alerted citizens to the diminishment of criteria used by the selection committee so Premier Doug Ford’s friend could measure up for the post has been fired. It is claimed he released plans for the premier’s new customized van, jeopardizing Ford’s security and safety. That faux-pas, coupled with Blair seeking the commissioner job himself, has allowed political operatives to embellish his motives and distract the public from asking the real question.

Where does Ford get off seemingly rigging an employment contest to help his friend out? As an old lawyer friend used to say, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

Time will tell what this looks like when the Integrity Commissioner gets done with Blair’s initial complaint.

It is imperative Canadians demand ethical government at all levels.

 

March 8, 2019

 
 

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