With its primary consequence of disrupting circadian rhythms, Daylight Savings Time [DST] will have many jurisdictions artificially consuming an hour of the day to be repaid this autumn. If only the alleged savings of daylight could be spent keeping the light on the SNC Lavalin affair [SNC] that would be some justification for keeping DST, an otherwise bad idea.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government would prefer that the SNC affair just go away, and quickly. There is an election to be held and political power to be maintained, whatever it may cost.
If the cost includes discrediting a political colleague as naïve and inexperienced at the “realities” of conventional politics then so be it.
Mr. Trudeau addressed Canadians in his “learned” fashion to say that “mistakes were made” in handling the SNC affair but that no improprieties occurred in pursuing a “challenging issue”. The challenge seemed to be maintaining political power while attempting to thwart the pursuit of justice.
In addition he stated that there had been an “erosion of trust” between his office— including in particular, his friend and former principal secretary Gerald Butts—and the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
He stopped well short of issuing an apology as many in the media have observed. However, an apology would have been admission of some guilt and Mr. Trudeau apparently feels none. If he were apologizing out of context on behalf of the mistakes allegedly made by governments of many decades ago that would have been doable. In such instances his “sorry” spills as easily off the lips as when a Canadian bumps into another.
When Gerald Butts resigned he was not a loyal soldier “falling on his sword” for the leader. Rather this action appears to be part of a well-orchestrated political effort to characterize the SNC affair as simply “politics as usual”. Part of his statement to the parliamentary committee and Mr. Trudeau’s follow up tries to establish Wilson-Raybould as a novice politician who didn’t have the good sense to make her concerns known to Mr. Trudeau much earlier last fall when the “pressure” she felt was being applied.
The Butts statement before the parliamentary committee contradicts much of what was contained in the earlier statement by Wilson-Raybould. The respective recollection of events has effectively been downgraded to a “he said, she said” disagreement. Additional information would be willingly provided by Wilson-Raybould if called to appear but so far no decision has been made in that regard. This too appears as possibly politically motivated.
Some have called for an RCMP investigation but I think that would require much of what is revealed to be kept from public scrutiny. Far better to keep the light on this affair for public consumption. In any case there is unlikely a criminal intent at the root of the interference with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General’s office but simply grotesque political manoeuvring. Politics, just dirty politics.
And that is why the light should continue to shine on the affair. An independent commission charged with revealing the truth might help. The media could continue to follow and report on the investigation. This would mean a break from the role of “shaping society,” especially as practiced by the carefully diversified collective at state media, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Even if the Prime Minister and others were just doing “the business of politics as usual” it would be good for individual Canadians to see that it is “dirty politics as usual”. “Real change” can only occur when enough Canadians understand that the involvement of government in economic and business matters is a bad idea and inevitably leads to the kind of corruption and injustice we are witnessing in the SNC Lavalin affair. And this is just the tip of the bad idea iceberg.