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Commentary

The “Liberalist” of Scandals

Tue, October 27, 2020   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |   Volume 27    Issue 43 | Share: Facebook | Twitter   

How many recent Liberal scandals and ethical violations can you name? The SNC-Lavalin scandal, the WE Charity scandal (and its numerous related mini-scandals), the blackface scandal, the Aga Khan island vacation scandal, and maybe a few others? The list is getting longer and more convoluted.

Almost lost in the shuffle of headline-grabbing scandals is one that needs a closer look: a Liberal Party insider, François Landry, who worked in the Minister of Justice’s office, complained to his superiors about the way that judges were being appointed. And (believe it or not) the CBC actually reported on it!

To give some context, this happened after Jody Wilson-Raybould departed from that same office and criticized the government (on several occasions) for the political pressure it had placed on her during her time as Justice Minister. With that in the background, one would hope that this office would be particularly careful to steer clear of ethics violations in the future. But this latest complaint tells a different story.

The process of appointing judges is not exactly front-page in Canada most of the time; in fact, it is rarely talked about (how many current Canadian Supreme Court justices can you name? Any?). Because this is so out-of-sight, out-of-mind, the concern being raised about the process of appointments might soon be forgotten — but it should not be.

How important should it be that a judge has been a member of the Liberal Party? Participated in the activities of the Liberal Party? Donated to the Liberal Party? The Prime Minister’s office wanted the Justice Minister’s office not to ignore these important considerations … by checking “Liberalist” (the Liberal Party’s database) for potential judges’ past activities. These were not the only background checks; undoubtedly, there was also consideration given to the legal and academic track record of potential appointees, and other truly important matters. But Mr. Landry’s complaint over the concerns that would be raised by pressure to include partisan political considerations to the process must not be ignored. What should be looked for in judges is impartiality and understanding of the law, not political involvement.

A different, more run-of-the-mill scandal that has recently come to light is one in which a government contract was awarded to (surprise!) a business owned by a former Liberal MP. The contract was for medical ventilators for COVID-19. Of course, in the normal course of supply-and-demand, a former MP is not necessarily excluded from government contracts, but it does raise the question of political favouritism in the awarding of this contract. However, that is not the only issue; the government overpaid for these ventilators to the tune of $10,000 — per unit! And they ordered 10,000 of them leaving us, the taxpayers, with an expense of $100 million more than what they should have cost! (And they probably won’t be needed for COVID-19.)

In last week’s election scare, some eyebrows were raised by the fact that the Liberals made a Conservative motion to form a committee into a confidence vote. The proposed committee would have looked into how money was being spent on COVID-19 measures — and the WE Scandal — as well as several other questionable expenditures, including the expensive ventilators. Forming a committee to look into something is not as difficult for Parliament to do in this minority setting; all of the other parties seemed to agree that the Liberals’ spending needed some back-checking. The Liberals, however, while insisting that they had nothing to hide, decided that forming such a committee would have showed a lack of confidence in the government — and so they made the vote a confidence issue (meaning that if it had passed, we would have been forced into an election).

Tactically, it was a brilliant move. While the other parties wanted the committee to be formed, they did not really want an election. The Conservatives and the Bloc were willing to risk it and voted for the motion anyway, but the NDP made an excuse about Canadians not wanting an election and voted with the Liberals.

While an election would not have been ideal in many ways, some additional oversight of the Liberals’ crazy spending was and is necessary. New information about the WE Charity scandal has come to light from time-to-time, but more often, the questions being asked are met with unclear and unhelpful responses (not answers).

It’s getting hard to write about Canadian politics without some reference to Liberal scandals. Right now, they do not seem to be worried about an election. But shouldn’t they be? Who would vote for them after seeing all these scandals and ethical violations? Unfortunately, based on regular polling, too many Canadians still would, unless…

The challenge for each of us is to show our fellow citizens that our government is using the excuse of a pandemic to spend and overspend in ways that are unethical. From there, we need to explain that integrity is what is missing. From there, we need to get to the foundation of true integrity — Biblical principles. That will take you, and hopefully them, to the CHP. To become a member of CHP, go to www.chp.ca and join!



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