TORONTO - The saga of the women in the Liberal caucus, some of them former members of the Cabinet, who insist that there something more nefarious in the SNC Lavalin affair that needs to be outed, is approaching the ridiculous.
It now has a life of its own. Its end game escapes the comprehension of mere humans like this publisher.
Those who follow our pages know Corriere Canadese cannot be accused of being an apologist for the Prime Minister. In fact, it has not shied away from criticizing his handling of issues and his reliance on obdurate, politically immature and insensitive advisors.
Having said that, one’s attention is diverted to the trio of female MPs – Jody Wilson Reybauld, Jane Philpott and Celina Caesar-Chavannes – and what they are doing to Justin Trudeau’s government.
Try to make sense of their goals in the methodical deconstruction of the Prime Minister as a “true feminist”, or one who is truly committed to a “progressive agenda”. I confess to no longer understanding what that means…to them. We are left to scratch our heads.
The democratic process, and our parliamentary government, is designed to permit citizens and their groupings to bring pressure to bear on the decision- making process and to bring about the desired result.
Along the way, a reasonable person may even suggest that the views of others may deserve an equal right to be considered in the balance. Did that happen in the SNC Lavalin affair? It should have; and did.
Two of the three women above were privy to Cabinet discussions, such as they were, on the matter. Now, they feel the need to give the public a blow by blow account of what they thought should have happened. I no longer know what made these women such indispensable candidates for Parliament or for Cabinet.
Their individual CVs read impressive enough, but there are a lot of impressive CVs in and out of Parliament. Not all of them make it to Cabinet. Like it or not, the Leader (in this case, Justin Trudeau) goes out of his/her way to pave the way for a nomination, eventual election and selection to cabinet of those “peoplekind” necessary for the execution of government’s agenda and the country’s interests.
That applies to the three mentioned above. In Jody Wilson-Reybauld’s case, she is also credited with the advances to the Aboriginal Agenda that has made great strides under Trudeau’s watch. In the last Budget, an additional $4.7 billion were allocated for line items dedicated to Indigenous Peoples and First Nations on top of the $21 billion allocated over the previous five years.
The Truth and Reconciliation agenda had already included a powerful symbolic gesture. The PM issued an invitation to the Pope for a visit to Canada so that His Holiness could apologize to Canada’s Aboriginals for the damage members of clerical orders inflicted on Aboriginal children in residential schools, as they carried out a federal Government program to integrate them. (Corriere Canadese would have preferred criminal charges against the offenders).
Jane Philpott, and MD and widely respected advocate for children and women su€erers of oppression everywhere, but especially in Africa, was first given the Health portfolio. It was partially her task to help focus Canada’s attention on the plight of Africans deprived of personal security and access to health services, as well as, other necessities of life, by their own governments and to advocate for greater access to our country as a solution.
It may be co-incidental, but our immigration department is now called Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, signalling the focus of our immigration programme. Consistent with the symbolism of so many other appointments to Cabinet, IRCC is headed by a former refugee whose time is consumed by…refugee issues. Nothing negative in all of this.
Whether the rest of us like their agenda or not, the individuals mentioned would appear to have the ear and the attention of the Prime Minister and his advisors. Perhaps Celina Caesar-Chavannes did not, at least not to the same extent. However, she was a Parliamentary Secretary pointed toward advocacy for children and women’s issues. During the last three cabinet shuªes, she was passed over in favour of others.
She has announced that she will not to run again, taking the occasion to reinforce the now common view that, like her other colleagues, she no longer feels that bond of trust with the PM. By most objective standards, we are dealing with three individuals who got to where they could affect public policy objectives, thanks almost exclusively to a Prime Minister who chose to convert their symbolic value into a material outcome.
Challenge those outcomes all one wants; the fact that the PM’s views and the “behind the scenes” talk may influence our personal perception of who is more right than wrong is little more than petty gossip at this stage.
Frankly, if anything, it proves yet again that the PM has placed his eggs in one basket without the gains that should have accrued to him.