Canadian Politics

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It’s been an interesting time for Canadians looking at the changes in Canada’s democracy. The SNC-Lavalin scandal continues to resemble a feeding frenzy by irate pugs. A lot of barking for posture but with no real rhyme or reason.

Yes, the company may be guilty of bribery, but the focus is not so much on dealing with them as it is tarring the Liberal Party. Yes, there may have been some pressure, but in the end the final decision was always going to be the Justice Minister’s. It may have been wrong but it’s nothing close to what pressures US President Donald Trump has inflected on the justice system south of the border.

We have yet to see a Canadian politician proven to have been bribed by that giant company or gotten money fraudulently as a result of their actions. However, many Conservative senators defrauded Canadians while that party was in power. Almost all were cleared of any wrongdoing. Some, like Patrick Brazeau even faced charges beyond that, including arrests for cocaine possession, assault and more. In 2016, he pled guilty to the cocaine and assault charges, but this didn’t affect his ability to continue as a senator. Many male Canadians still regret not going to the strip club where he was working while suspended and denied his Senate salary. Senator Mike Duffy was even paid off by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, and continues to sit in that august chamber.

Back in the news is former Conservative and now independent Senator Lynn Beyak. She has been found to have violated the upper chamber’s conflict-of-interest code by posting racist letters about Indigenous people on her website. Senate Ethics Officer Pierre Legault stated that her conduct did not uphold the highest standards of dignity required by a senator and that she did not perform her duties with honour and integrity. Legault asked Beyak to delete the racist comments on her Senate website, post an apology and undertake a cultural sensitivity course. The ethics officer said her testimony “demonstrated a lack of awareness about racism in Canadian society.”

In his March 19 report, Legault added, “The grounds expressed by the Complainants and the views expressed by Senator Beyak raise fundamental issues about the role of Senators, their right to freedom of expression under the Charter and its limitations, their privileges, rights and immunities (including their right to freedom of speech as part of these privileges, rights and immunities), the Code, its status, and the interrelation between these matters.” While Beyak refused to follow any of Legault’s requests it is unclear what consequences she will face as a result.

March 20 saw Whitby, Ontario MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes quit the Liberal Party to sit as an independent. Apparently it stemmed from her decision not to seek re-election. When she told Trudeau about this, she claimed, “He was yelling. He was yelling that I didn’t appreciate him, that he’d given me so much.” While the opposition has called the PM a “fake feminist”, the PMO has denied Trudeau was hostile.

Looking at how our politicians act is illuminating. One wonders why these issues, actions and incidents take so much time. They should be dealt with in a clear and understandable manner. There are many other more important matters Canada should be working on. We can all look around and ask why has this (chose your concern) been allowed to continue? Well, we all know the truth. It’s taken a while to get here. As Mark Twain used to say, “A lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.”

And in the end, the lie seems to be that politicians are actually concerned about Canada, the people and our well-being. Instead they mostly look to be simply self-serving.


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