In politics, appearances matter. Unfortunately for the government, those appearances are as follows.
Having proven herself unwilling to be the cooperative puppet that Trudeau had hoped for from Canada’s first indigenous Attorney General, Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was quietly demoted from her post under the guise of a cabinet shuffle resulting from a resignation.
Initial murmurings have now become a full blown scandal, the likes of which we have not seen from the federal government since Jean Chretien’s Sponsorship Scandal, which is now almost a generation old.
The opposition was quick to recognize the gravity of the situation, and they only became more suspicious when the Liberals’ denial of the allegations appeared to be carefully worded and intentionally limited in scope.
“All we’ve heard are allegations in a newspaper”
Despite all this, the new Attorney General is retroactively earning his promotion by being a complacent party to the cover-up.
Yet, the new AG Lametti insists there is no need for an investigation by the Liberal-controlled House Justice Committee.
Yes, despite allegations that the Prime Minister tried to pressure the former AG to ‘go easy’ on one of the most corrupt companies in Canada, there is apparently ‘nothing to see here’!
Indeed, SNC-Lavalin is widely regarded as being corrupt to the bone, and this is not the only instance (or even the only country) where they have been caught red-handed for bribery or corruption.
And, of course, like Bombardier, the company is dotted with links to the federal Liberal Party dating back to pre-Harper times.
A close call
While SNC-Lavalin might have gotten away with a plea deal if Lametti had been Trudeau’s original AG, that door has now closed. Yesterday, the Federal Director of Public Prosecution ensured that the troublesome company would be taken to trial.
While the public service had taken fire for their apparent partisanship in favour of Trudeau, it is becoming clear that they are not going to let this government continue looting the country and buying voters with their own money.
Why is the government doing this?
SNC-Lavalin is a big employer based in Montreal that gets most of its money from government contracts. If found guilty of colluding with Libya’s previous regime under dictator Muammar Gaddafi, they would be barred from competing for federal government contracts for 10 years.
That would mean lay-offs in an election year.
But clearly, the calculus of the decision will have to change. The plea deal appears to be off the table, and the outrage about this scandal does not showing any signs of dying down.
Regardless of how she feels about the whole situation, the minister at the centre of all the controversy is unable to comment due to solicitor-client privilege.
The Ministry of the AG, as the government’s official legal counsel, cannot use or divulge any information acquired from her previous job.
We have heard what her father thinks, but we will not hear from her unless the government waives the privilege and allows her to speak.
Something tells me that that is not going to happen. At least, not before this year’s election.