What a week in Canadian politics, eh?

Anticipating that the week’s highlight, news-wise at least, would be testimony from Gerald Butts, Michael Wernick, and Nathalie Drouin, I was blindsided on Monday by Jane Philpott’s resignation. As Rex Murphy put it,

Two serious women of unsullied integrity, who committed their fortunes to joining your government, have told the public that morally they could stay no longer. Mr. Trudeau owes them the courtesy of an answer, and the country of which he is the prime minister, a candid and complete accounting.

On this week’s events, of course, as on all other aspects of this mess, opinions still vary and likely will continue to. After listening to and reading commentators with various affiliations and varying degrees of partisanship, I think that people heard the new/reprised testimony through the filter of what they believed going in:

  • Committed Trudeau-philes heard confirmation that there was nothing wrong at all, at all
  • Liberals and Liberal sympathizers heard that there was now — Oh, happy day! — a reasonable doubt
  • Committed Conservatives, Committed Liberals who hate Team Trudeau (think of the long years of the Martin/Chretien wars), and Professional Skeptics heard an accomplished political operative cleverly throwing doubt on Wilson-Raybould’s testimony by speaking more in sorrow than in anger

What now? If nothing else comes to light, then this will be just one of many issues in the coming election. It’s pretty clear that the Liberal majority on the House of Commons Justice Committee won’t be voting to call any additional witnesses on this matter.

Hear no evil . . .

On the other hand, the unnamed source(s) of the original Globe & Mail story is/are still out there, as far as I know. So it’s possible that another shoe will drop.

Finally, this week also saw the beginning of Lent and a daily Lenten reflection in my inbox. I wonder what advice G.K. Chesterton might offer the Prime Minister.

The very worst sort of story may be the very best sort of confession.
– G.K. Chesterton (America, Oct. 30, 1926)

Additional Reading/Viewing

If withering (verbal) fire amuses you, check out this summary of comments (on a Liberal’s site!) on the Prime Minister’s press conference after all the testimony.  

If you’re a Westerner or want to understand their point of view, check out Brad Wall’s take on the focus on SNC-Lavalin jobs.

If you missed their statements in real-time:



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6 Responses to Wow

  1. I still think lawyers have a narrow view of morality and tend to “philosophical starvation,” in Chesterton’s lovely turn of phrase. The thread on The War Room you referred to, which debates whether the Indigenous Affairs post would have been an opportunity or an insult to Ms. Wilson-Raybould, probes one such philosophical issue worthy of discussion. Like you, I see people rushing to defend a priori political positions rather than looking at the points of view in this particular case on their merits.

    And in related news today, “A national charity that works to save old buildings estimates that 9,000 religious spaces in Canada will be lost in the next decade, roughly a third of all faith-owned buildings in the country.” Perhaps philosophical starvation is affecting our politics.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Oh yes, for too many this is mostly about scoring political points. I cannot weigh the morality of “saving” 9,000+ jobs against the immorality (and maybe illegality) of political meddling in our justice system, without considering two points. First, I don’t think the jobs are at stake. The existing work still has to be done and new contracts will continue to be let. The company as an entity might be at risk – which brings me to the second point: I don’t think that the objective of any interference was to save jobs. I think it was to protect the interests of big political donors.

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    I wonder why everyone (i.e. the media) focuses on the indiscretions cum lies cum distortions of the various political persons, while ignoring the cause of all this — SNC Lavalin. They’re the villains, it seems to me. They paid the bribes, and have a long history of doing so around the world. They lobbied far more intensively, at all levels of government, than the PMOffice. They have the most to gain by subverting the criminal code. I would not be at all surprised to find that they have been feeding the media juicy tidbits to ensure that the focus stays on personalities rather than crimes.
    Jim T

    • Barry says:

      Hear! Hear!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – The crimes and excesses of both companies and governments are to be condemned, for sure. I think you watch companies more closely than I do – and there’s certainly some point in that, because money can be an insidious form of power. I watch governments more closely, because they embody force by their nature, so their abuses of power have so few checks, none of them easy. But I expect we’d agree that both need watching.

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