Where do you stand Mr. Bagnell?
At the time of this writing, things are not looking very good for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
A growing list of incumbent federal Liberal caucus members have announced they will not seek re-election and (so far) two very capable female members of his oft-lauded gender-parity cabinet have resigned in the wake of the SNC Lavalin scandal.
The affair has seen certain portfolios go through more ministers than Spinal Tap has had drummers.
On the same day as the most recent cabinet resignation by the Hon. Jane Philpott, assuming another one hasn’t spontaneously combusted by the time this letter is printed, Ipsos released a poll suggesting two thirds of Canadians believe Trudeau has lost the moral authority to govern and over half think he should resign.
A revolving door of bizarre messages, supportive op-ed pieces in friendly media, talk of protecting jobs in Quebec, attempts to divert attention to a lunar mission or even a good old-fashioned evoking of the climate-change bogeyman have been unsuccessful at diffusing public confusion and outrage.
Most Canadians likely don’t understand yet alone care about the legal intricacies of Trudeau’s transgressions, but they certainly recognize a full-blown dumpster fire of a scandal when they see one.
Much of the defense for the Prime Minister from the dwindling stock of remaining Trudeau loyalists hinges on a reframing of the big question.
By all admissions, it is grossly apparent that the pressure the PMO and its agents applied to influence since-fired Attorney General Wilson-Raybould was inappropriate, yet the Liberals seem to want to imply that technically it wasn’t illegal.
But this isn’t about whether Trudeau’s actions were appropriate or legal; it’s about whether they were ethical.
Political interference in the administration of justice is by definition unethical.
The weight of the law is meant to be applied equally to all Canadians.
Last month’s Justice committee testimony by Ms. Wilson-Raybould, a woman of formidable conviction, threw gasoline on a political firestorm unseen in modern Canadian history and has shaken faith in the Trudeau government from Yarmouth to Yukon.
This is more than your run-of-the-mill “he said, she said” paradigm, and yet Trudeau has employed the same tactic he used to deflect accusations of unwanted sexual contact levied against him last year in what was labeled “the Kokanee Grope,” wherein he has outright denied allegations of any wrongdoing and suggested that men and women can experience things differently.
Even when Minister Chrystia Freeland commented on her former gender-parity cabinet colleague’s bombshell testimony, she stated she believed Wilson-Raybould spoke “her” truth, as if facts are somehow a subjective or relative concept.
So, who’s truth is “the” truth?
And who does Yukon’s Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell believe?
When asked by local media if he considered the former Attorney General’s testimony credible or if he still had confidence in the Prime Minister, Mr. Bagnell answered “yes” to both.
For anyone who caught even a portion of Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, you will understand that to believe “her” leaves no room to believe “him.”
That would be akin to defending a PhD dissertation in astrophysics while remaining a card-carrying member of the Flat Earth Society.
Mr. Bagnell also indicated that in addition to the Justice committee hearings already underway, he believes that the subsequent investigation by the Ethics Commissioner is sufficient to deal with the scandal.
Ironically, Trudeau has said he too has confidence in the effectiveness of the Ethics Commissioner’s office, and he should know for he has first-hand experience as the first Prime Minister in history found guilty of ethics violations for accepting his billionaire private island holiday, yet he has not been held accountable in any meaningful way.
Given the shocking revelations to date, how much worse do things have to get before some real action is taken?
At what point will Mr. Bagnell stand up for Yukon and join the growing chorus of Canadians calling for a public inquiry or criminal investigation?
Jonas J. Smith
2019 Conservative Party Candidate, Yukon