I had a post planned for today that you will never read. That is the drawback when you choose to write about current events.
That post was about the latest investigation by Canada’s Ethics Commissioner into the Prime Minister and his office. I was going to comment on the nature of the scandal (involving interference in the legal process) and suggest that the cabinet minister at the centre was likely to be the only one looking good once the truth became known. I even suggested she might be the next leader of the Liberal Party, as the incumbent may be retired by voters this October.
Yesterday though, Jody Wilson-Reybould resigned from cabinet. Much of what I was going to say is now no longer relevant to a developing situation. I’m still fascinated by the case, still have opinions, but think maybe it might be wiser to let events unfold a little more.
We don’t know what happened. The Prime Minister has spoken, saying neither he nor anyone in his office did anything wrong. A well-respected newspaper says there was an attempt to pressure Ms Wilson-Raybould to drop prosecution of a politically-connected major engineering firm. Ms Wilson-Raybould was very careful in her response. By not denying the allegations she appeared to confirm them. I suppose she could have just been extra-cautious about speaking about the case, but it doesn’t look that way to the average person.
It also doesn’t look good for a government that trumpets its transparency. Prime Minister Selfie has run afoul of the Ethics Commissioner in the past, though he doesn’t seem to understand why he was found to have transgressed. I suppose it is possible that lack of comprehension of what is allowed (and what isn’t) could have led to another crossing of the ethical line.
Which is too bad. I’ve worked in government and in opposition. The Opposition is rejoicing at this scandal (such as it is so far), seeing the opportunity to score political points and maybe use it as a springboard back to power. I would probably be thinking the same thing if I still worked on Parliament Hill.
Taking a look at the bigger picture though, there are no winners here. When we elect our politicians we hope for good government, for leaders who will deliver on their promises and provide just legislation that delivers a better life for all citizens. Any hint of scandal, proven or not, diminishes politicians in the eyes of the public. We think they are all the same, all dirty.
When politics is no longer seen as an honourable career option for those with ethics and ideals, that leaves the field to those desiring to serve themselves rather than the community. That can’t be good for the municipality/province/state/country.
Canadians are now asking for answers as to exactly what is going on with this latest scandal. A well-respected cabinet minister has quit, apparently on a matter of principle (and law). The people deserve a full explanation.