TORONTO - It’s been a hard lesson learned. Prime Minister Trudeau has lost two Cabinet Ministers, in part because his principal advisors misread and mishandled Cabinet dynamics, but the suffering is not yet over.
Fortunately, for him, Trudeau is still able to manifest Leadership. It starts with demonstrating decisiveness. No Prime Minister can be captive of any issue or any single Minister. He may be primus inter pares, but he carries the responsibility for the entire country and the lives of each and every citizen.
Politics is and should be about both the country and its citizens. If any advisors or administrators need to be reminded of that, a new broom should sweep them out – no questions asked. Clean house. There is never a “balance between the rule of law and public policy”. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Capable, competent advisors on the political and administrative side know when “retail politics” and the “big picture” may push up against legal frameworks. They develop strategies to inform the Leader and still safeguard the “system” and its abilities to serve the country’s long-term interests.
At the Corriere Canadese, we are not yet sure that Trudeau’s Ministers have grasped the concept. Nor, for that matter, have we been impressed with Opposition responses to that vacuum.
“If the SNC Lavalin aair”, or the bungling thereof, has been “all about jobs” (some 9,000 in total according to Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former Principal Secretary, but 10,542 as per SNCL’s website), then what are we to think about the over 500,000 jobs filled by “undocumented workers” and their families, in Ontario alone?
Do they and their children count? Or are their “outside of the law” because they have no status and no-one, including the Minister for Immigration, can lobby on their behalf?
Is it reasonable to turn these well-employed, [some self-employed] workers – about 50,000 and more in the construction industry alone – into “ghost workers” whose labour allows thousands of others in the economy to thrive?
Gerald Butts may have had Canada’s interests at heart when he thought about then “SNC problem”, he has ignored the earnings and contributions of the tens of thousands of jobs the “undocumented” created and sustain.
Interestingly, that net of concern wrapped around Jody Wilson-Reybould but not around her Cabinet Colleagues Nav Bains (Industry), Patricia Haiju (Employment and Workplace Development), or Ahmed Hussen in Immigration. Maybe it is a mere oversight.
However, under his watch, the only connection to the human resources shortfall in Ontario were related to some Pilot Projects involving post-secondary, International Visa Students.
Now that he is gone, a more adroit and compassionate filter of issues and people will have to be found to inform the prime Minister of the contributions of hundreds of thousands of men and women who toil to create an ambitious future for the country, even as it turns their back to their contributions.
These economic contributions are integral to the economic health of Ontario and to the mainstay of “respect for the rule of law” which underpins sound demographic policy.
By refusing to address issues that are totally within the realm of his Ministry to rectify, Minister Hussen is compromising the legitimacy of workers and their employer.
He is nurturing an environment where to “scu law” will be view as “this is the way the world operates” … ala SNC Lavalin. Resolve the problem before it eats the Minister and the Government.