First, Michael Wernick Resigns
By indicating this week that he is going to take early retirement, Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick did exactly what he probably should have done after his first testimony before the commons justice committee, and definitely should have done after his second testimony before it. He pretty much admitted in his resignation letter that he appeared to be in SNC-Lavalin’s pocket and was a Liberal partisan when he said, “It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties”
This is a sad ending to a pubic service career that spanned over three decades. But he brought its shameful ending on himself when he abrogated his role as an objective, non-partisan resource to all MPs and became a Liberal lackey.
Wernick’s resignation represents a complete repudiation of Trudeau’s position that the pressure on Jody Wilson-Reybould was normal politics.
Next, A Laughable Characterization
Either Justin Trudeau is incapable of realizing when he makes ridiculous statements or he believes we are all gullible illiterates. On Monday he announced in the House of Commons that he has hired former Liberal MP cabinet minister and current Liberal fundraiser Anne McLellan as a special advisor. The problem is that he added the word “independent” to her job description. Anne McLellan will be about as independent in this role as the commons justice committee proved to be in its. All Trudeau accomplished by adding the word “independent” was howls of derisive laughter in the House of Commons.
Trudeau deepened his cover-up of the SNC-Lavalin scandal by ordering his puppet majority on the justice committee to again refuse to allow Jody Wilson-Reybould to return to continue her testimony (which he had allowed cronies Butts and Wernick to do) and then shut down the hearings altogether.
It’s becoming increasingly hard to imagine just how serious whatever he’s still hiding can be. The committee shutdown, rather than helping put out the fire simply fanned the flames.
SNC-Lavalin CEO, Neil Bruce, in an interview with BNN-Bloomberg, completely discredited Trudeau’s mantra that all he and his cronies were trying to do was save jobs, not obstruct justice.
Bruce said that SNC-Lavalin had no plans to leave Canada, only had one Canadian federal government contract, and any employees who lost jobs because another construction company won future contracts would easily find work with that other company. Bruce indicated he had no idea where Trudeau got his erroneous information from, but made it clear it wasn’t from him.
Then Came The Budget
Another Trudeau miscalculation was that a typical election-year budget would distract people from the SNC-Lavalin situation. Like all election-year budgets, it was basically a non-event, but did contain one significant feature: another major promise broken by Justin Trudeau.
In 2015 he loudly and widely campaigned on having a balanced budget by 2019. The Liberals own forecast is for a deficit of about twenty billion and, given their propensity to spend other people’s money, especially in an election year, that may prove to be grossly optimistic.
On Thursday, potentially the biggest bombshell yet in the SNC-Lavalin scandal was dropped when the highly-respected Jane Philpott, who recently resigned from cabinet on a matter of principle, in a damaging interview with Paul Wells of Maclean’s magazine, threw Trudeau under the bus and then backed it up over him.
She said, “There’s much more to the story that should be told. I believe the former attorney general has further points to make. I believe that I have further issues of concern that I’m not free to share, If nothing wrong took place, then why don’t we waive privilege on the whole issue and let those who have something to say on it speak their minds and share their stories? I think Canadians might want to know why I would have raised that with the prime minister a month before the public knew about it. Why would I have felt that there was a reason why former minister Wilson-Raybould should not be shuffled?”
Parse this any way you want, but the clear message is, although she went on to say that she still believes in the Liberal party and its ideals, that she has lost respect for its leader.
We are far from hearing the end of this one, folks.
Still More Liberal Disingenuousness
A number of Liberal MPs and sympathetic journalists have suggested that both Wilson-Reybould and Philpott could stand on a point of order in the House of Commons and tell their entire stories. That is far from certain. The amount of time either would be given is entirely up to the speaker of the house, who happens to be Liberal MP Geoff Regan.
Given the Liberals’ record on the justice committee, Trudeau’s refusal to broaden Wilson-Reybould’s and Philpott’s immunity to the same extent that he did for his cronies Butts and Wernick, and that the House rules could be interpreted to guarantee them only thirty seconds each, it’s easy to understand why the former ministers would be reluctant to do so.