Intolerance and groupthink – the “new normal”

di Joe Volpe del 27 June 2021

Federal Minister Carolyn Bennet just found out that one flippant word uttered, toward a former Cabinet colleague, can have far reaching consequences. Some people, especially those she has served unquestioningly in Cabinet, are “calling for her head”.

Her crime? She “implied” that Judy Wilson-Raybauld admonished the Prime Minister because he was pursuing an electoral timetable that could compromise her own eligibility for a Parliamentary pension. Minister Bennet has already qualified.

Yawn. It is a tired “accusation” levelled frequently in a Parliamentary environment against one’s opponents; and Wilson-Raybauld is an Independent MP. She is also an Aboriginal, former Minister of Justice and a former First Nations Chief. Oh, Oh… Welcome back to Earth Minister Bennet.

Madame Bennet does not need the Corriere to run to her defense, were it so inclined to do. The Prime Minister jumped in immediately. She apologized for her insensitivity and hurt she may have caused. He tried to steer the ship in the proper direction.

The Media and some contemporary Chiefs would have none of it. They want a “head to roll”. The odds do not favour Bennet. It will be a question of timing.

A famous French statesman, Duke of Richelieu – ironically, also a high-ranking prelate of his era (b. 1585, d. 1642) - claimed he could find reason enough to hang an honest man if the person were to write six lines on a sheet of paper. Today one needs only one word on Twitter.

In a related event, a priest from Mississauga, Monsignor Owen Keenan, “preaching balance and perspective” on a “teachable moment”, found himself in the eye of a hurricane of condemnation unleashed by the same Media and political hyenas. He too apologized.

His prelate, the Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto, “accepted Mr. Keenan’s resignation” and placed him on indefinite leave. It is a precedent that should have some people looking over their shoulder.

Even if they had no direct input in the Residential Schools issue, both the Prime Minister and the Cardinal have now set a standard they too will have to meet.


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