The Excommunication Of Wilson-Reybould And Philpott
Although justified in ousting Jody Wilson-Reybould and Jane Philpott from caucus, Trudeau’s explanation probably revealed more about himself than intended.
First, he doesn’t consider Liberals to be a political party but rather a “team,” like a professional sports franchise. Next, by stating “there are no hyphenated Liberals” he made it clear that unless you’re a Trudeau sycophant there’s no place for you in the Liberal party … oops, sorry, … on the Liberal team. He basically confirmed that falling in line with his wishes trumps integrity and principle.
He also confirmed what many suspected: that, like his father, Justin has no respect for Parliament. He doesn’t acknowledge that MPs are elected to the House of Commons, not to a particular “team,” nor that their responsibility is to represent their constituents, not to kowtow to any leader’s unprincipled demands.
Liberals say that Trudeau’s recent behaviour is just because he’s frustrated with all the SNC-Lavalin fuss. I agree he’s frustrated; but given that he’s on record praising both the Chinese and Cuban dictatorships, it’s more apt to be because he’s finding it harder than he thought to be a dictator in a democracy.
Jody Wilson-Reybold’s Resignation From Cabinet
Anonymous sources have accused Jody Wilson-Reybould of threatening Trudeau that she would resign from cabinet unless he met three specific demands: 1) that he fire Gerald Butts, Michael Wernick, and Mathieu Bouchard (the PMO staffer who told WIlson-Reybould’s chief of staff that “we need to get re-elected;” 2) that he apologize for the inappropriate interference; and, 3) that he instruct her replacement to not grant SNC-Lavalin immunity from prosecution. It’s yet to be established whether this is true or is just another Liberal attempt to shift the blame for this sorry spectacle to the former attorney general and away from the prime minister, where it rightly belongs.
Bouchard is probably not important enough to matter, but she was certainly right about the other two. She would be only one of dozens of Liberal MPs who wanted Butts gone, and it’s clear that Wernick tried to bully her. It’s instructive that both Butts and Wernick have since resigned. But the other two alleged demands cause me to be sceptical about the whole leak.
First, the apology. The leaker said Wilson-Reybould wanted Trudeau to apologize to caucus and the public for the political interference. She would have known that Trudeau is far too arrogant and narcissistic to ever agree to that. As to asking him to instruct her replacement what to do, if he did that he would have to do exactly what she was objecting to: interfere with the judicial process. I think WIlson-Reybould is far too clever to have made either of those two demands.
An Interesting Provincial Election
PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan has called an election for April 23rd, one which will be very interesting from at least three standpoints.
First, there will also be a referendum on electoral reform, the third such kick at this cat in less than fifteen years. Premier Pat Binns held the first in 2005 and Islanders voted almost 2-1 to maintain the status quo. Premier MacLaughlan tried it in 2016, and although mixed member proportional representation received the most votes, the premier wisely refused to recognize the result because the dismal voter turnout (35.36%) meant that fewer than 1 in 5 eligible voters actually voted for the change.
Next, polls have shown the Green party with a lead above the margin of error, and the PCs and Liberals basically tied. The NDP, never a factor in PEI politics, were a distant fourth.
Finally, because it’s a very busy time for people involved in both fishing and farming, spring elections in PEI have always been unpopular, so voter turnout and mood are difficult to predict. There’s a lot on the line in a possible history-making election for the province. But it will hardly be, as Premier MacLaughlan grandly declared, a “beacon to the rest of the world.”
Unrest In Leafland?
It would be understandable if Brendan Shanahan occasionally wonders about giving coach Mike Babcock such a lucrative long-term contract and then replacing legendary GM Lou Lamoriello with the relatively inexperienced analytics-cruncher Kyle Dubas rather than proven hockey man Mark Hunter.
Even though Babcock has denied it, and Dubas has not addressed it, many hockey insiders insist that Babcock and Dubas don’t like each other very much, or at the very least least share a mutual lack of respect. It’s also persistently rumoured that Leaf star Auston Matthews is not a Babcock fan.
This situation also suggests a ponderable: Who is the most overpaid Leaf employee, William Nylander or Mike Babcock?