The summer is coming along slowly. Baseball season is only three days old and already the Blue Jays have won 66.666 per cent of their games. Over in England Theresa May lost a third attempt to get her disastrous Brexit deal approved. She might go for a fourth try soon. The margins of defeat keep getting smaller, convincing her that even if it takes another dozen votes she’s bound to win sooner or later. In Ottawa, Jody Wilson-Raybould unloaded the rest of her evidence implicating the Prime Minister in an attempt to subvert the judicial process.
The SNC-Lavalin affair has settled comfortably into a back and forth he-said-she-said debate. These things never end well because it’s not a simple matter of who said what and when it was said. On the credibility front, both Justin Trudeau and Wilson-Reybould have taken hits.
Trudeau’s supporters accuse Wilson-Reybould and her ally Jane Philpot of betrayal and, as of today, committing her own ethical breaches. Everyone from Neil MacDonald to Heather Mallick thinks the Liberal caucus in Ottawa should throw them out for breaching team spirit. Wilson-Reybould’s supporters say Friday’s evidence dump proves her right.
Trudeau’s supporters think it was unethical for Wilson-Reybould to tape her telephone conversation with Michael Wernick without telling him. They have a point. The tone of the talk would have been much different if she had. As well, lawyers aren’t supposed to tape conversations in which they are offering legal advice which is what she was doing.
Once again, Wilson-Reybould’s supporters say Friday’s evidence dump proves her right, which is all that matters. Trudeau and his crew were pressuring the Attorney General to interfere in a prosecution for political reasons and she said no. It’s a lot like what the Chinese government is doing with Huawei, but hardly anyone’s connecting those dots. The ones they do connect run from SNC_Lavalin in Montreal to General Motors in Oshawa and to the Liberal re-election campaign in Ottawa. Wernick makes these connections early in the taped conversation.
These are the dots we should worry about. When all is said and done, the Liberal government will bend over backwards to help a corporation that gets itself into trouble. They did it for General Motors and Chrysler about ten years ago. Remember that? The financial bail-outs they gave the auto companies? All justified by the notion that some corporations are just too big to fail. But GM is failing to stay in Oshawa, and Chrysler is failing to keep jobs in Windsor.
While we as a society look after General Motors, SNC-Lavalin, and others, those companies look after themselves. When they need to cut back their workers, they do not hesitate.
We live and work in a capitalist society. Our government looks after the capitalist economy. It looks after the biggest companies most vigorously. What do they mean when they say that one of them is too big to fail? They mean that the consequences of failure would reduce popular support for capitalism itself. It would increase public demand for fundamental reforms that will enhance social, economic and environmental justice.
The finger pointing in Ottawa will not help. It will not stop future governments from rushing to save a giant corporation from itself. Read through the transcript of the phone call. You will see how susceptible the governing parties are to corporate blackmail. It is all part of the one percent looking after itself. Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau are loyal soldiers in this cause.
Never think for even a minute that a Conservative government led by Scheer would be any less duplicitous than a Liberal government led by Trudeau. Yet most Canadians still view their political options in this binary way. Get angry at the Liberals so throw them out and bring in the Conservatives. Then get angry at the Conservatives and bring back the Liberals. Time after time after time. Election after election. When will we ever learn? How about trying it before the election in October.\?
Would a government led by Jagmeet Singh be any better? I don’t know. It certainly couldn’t be any worse and that should be reason enough to vote for one. Singh won’t end the capitalist system but he could cut back its worst excesses.
We are three days into baseball season and the ground is covered in freshly-fallen snow. We know the weather will improve. Will the government?