Wait for it. A teardrop is about to fall.
Nope. Apparently not this time. This time, it’s all smiles, with a gang of eager Liberals in the back, all lined up like a firing squad, ready to defend their fearless leader who comes in with a newly elected MP from Quebec and his daughter walking out with him. He finally faces the angry mob and the crowd of eager journalists who want answers to questions that arose from the testimony of former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t flinch, even after his confidant and Principal Secretary Gerald Michael Butts resigns, followed by Jane Philpott. This is a man who rehearsed what to say, and what not to say; to dodge the bullets (and the questions) as much as he can; to persuade Canadians that it was the Harper government’s fault, not his, and that he was noble in his intentions to save thousands of jobs at SNC-Lavalin by amending the Criminal Code to cancel a trial for a company that racked up a king’s ransom in lobbying bills to plead for this change so that the company bosses can go scot free.
In a matter of days, Wilson-Raybould goes from disgruntled government employee to hero of the day for exposing the truth; Butts becomes the second casualty, and is called to testify by the justice committee; and a few days after, Jane Philpott resigns from the Trudeau cabinet and has said she has a “loss of confidence” with the government, and that she must, “must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations.” At a press conference this time, Trudeau once again emerges from his comfort zone and faces the mob at a fundraiser in Prince Edward Island, with young children behind him.
It’s difficult not to think that Trudeau likes to put on a good show – one that tugs your heart strings and makes you think less of the dirt he brought into the room. He uses ordinary people, avid supporters of the Liberal Party, for his first go at re-attacking Wilson-Raybould and the Conservatives by picking at former PM Stephen Harper’s government so that it can cover his own iniquities. It’s not enough that he threw Wilson-Raybould under the bus many times after her resignation and initial revelation, that he had to do it again, and use Harper as a secondary excuse for his faux pas. He never does the same thing to Butts, and he rightly delivered to cover his former boss’ tracks when he testified to the justice committee that Wilson Raybould was “persuaded, not pressured”. He does the same “hide-behind-an-innocent-crowd” gimmick at a PEI fundraiser, using children this time, to mask the huge blow that keeps sinking him deeper with the resignation of Philpott.
It’s shameful for a PM not to know how to stand on his own to defend himself against allegations, without the help of feel-good ambiance. He begins his speech with a rallying cry of what his government has achieved – assisted suicide and the legalization of marijuana – as if these things are laws that Canadians would all be proud to tell other countries are Canada’s achievements. He answers questions with non sequitur responses. He smiles all throughout, smug, and tries to convince the public he did nothing wrong, treating Canadians as if we were all noseblind to the stink.
It is now very difficult to believe that Wilson-Raybould lost her position as attorney general for any other reason than that she refused to bend to the prime minister’s will. For new justice minister, David Lametti, to reverse her decision after Wilson-Raybould so clearly raised concerns about whether the independence of the office would stay intact after her departure would be disastrous. There is no way out of this one, JT. Even Quebec’s pundit classes and newspaper people have now concluded that the Prime Minister crossed the line in his dealings with SNC-Lavalin, and just recently, Sami Bebawi facing charges including fraud and bribery of a public official in relation to SNC-Lavalin’s dealings with the regime of the late Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi.
And the myth that the PM is pro-woman is old hat. No one believes that anymore, especially when he blames a female employee for not being forward with her complaint, and still smile smugly as the rest of his buddies laugh along with him, finding the woman too insignificant to take seriously. Nope, he is not celebrating International Women’s Day with us, ladies.
When there’s too much to catch up with, it will be difficult to pick up the pieces. You can’t pearly-white your way out of this one, Mr. PM. No baby is big enough to kiss and to cover the mess the government is in right now.