Guest Notes

Political notes

6 April 2019

9:00 AM

6 April 2019

9:00 AM

Trudeau & the Virtuecrats

It is too depressing to say anything much about the UK and Brexit.   Well over half of the elected MPs are nothing short of a disgrace. The Tories ran on an explicit pledge that No Deal was better than A Bad Deal.  For Theresa May and her overwhelmingly Remainer Cabinet that turns out to have been a blatant lie. Worse, the political class is doing its best to over-ride the referendum and deliver No Brexit. Even May’s supposed deal is in fact no such thing. It’s worse than staying in the EU. I have no doubt May will go down as one of Britain’s worst prime ministers ever. If not the worst.

So let’s turn to slightly happier vistas, my native Canada and its Boy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. No doubt you’ll have heard that the Bollywood Kid PM, the trust fund snowboarder who never had much of a real job before becoming prime minister, has found himself in a bit of strife.  That is to put the problem in the passive voice. In the active voice it would read more like: ‘My God has Boy Wonder ever screwed up’. You know all that corruption stuff that the Mueller inquiry in the US, with its dozens of lawyers (almost all Democrats) and unlimited funds, spent almost two years looking for but found zero, none, zippo collusion? Witch Hunt Mueller and his team wanted evidence that then candidate Trump pursued Russian collusion – supposedly by getting them to spend a couple of million dollars on social media buys in an election where billions were spent and where the Democrats outspent the Republicans massively. Is it remotely surprising that they found no such evidence? All they did was hit a few people with process crimes – meaning crimes unrelated to anything other than how a person responds to the investigators. No wonder that over half of Americans think the Mueller probe was a witch hunt. Having predicted in print a Trump win last time, I’m doing so already for 2020.

In Canada, by contrast, here’s what has come to light in the last few months. Boy Trudeau PM, the man who has lived off his last name his entire life but who can really dance and who looks really good (what else need I say voters?), came into office wallowing in virtue-signalling. He was going to be the most ‘women-friendly’ PM ever. So he insisted on a 50-50 split of male-female Cabinet ministers. When an allegation of sexual groping arose against one of the males he dismissed him on the spot, no investigation or weighing of evidence being needed (though interestingly when a similar allegation was later made against the Boy PM himself he said there were just different recollections and – this will shock you, I know – did not dismiss himself). As you will have suspected, virtue-signalling does not apply to the well-heeled, Davos Man males who indulge in it. It’s meant to apply to others, most especially to all the ‘deplorables’ out there.

Anyway, time ticks on and then only a few weeks ago Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, a centre-left paper that is not as left as they come but which certainly doesn’t support Tories, came out with a big scoop. The gist of it went as follows:  The then Justice Minister and Attorney- General, Ms Jody Wilson-Raybould, who had very recently been moved out of the office into a lesser Cabinet post, had been subjected to massive pressure by the PM and his then Principal Secretary Gerald Butts. Why? Because one of the big companies in Quebec, with jobs in the PM’s own constituency, was looking at being charged with bribery of overseas politicos to get business. If convicted there would probably be six or seven thousand jobs lost in Quebec. Now the civil servant DPP had recommended prosecution as opposed to a statutory alternative, which amounted to a sort of ‘we’re sorry; we won’t do it again; here’s some money; no conviction recorded’ alternative. Trudeau and the boys wanted that overturned because a conviction would probably carry with it a penalty of ‘can’t bid for government work for ten years’. And the company would then probably leave Canada. Or so it had supposedly threatened.

The Globe reported that pressure had been brought to bear on the then minister Wilson-Raybould and she had said ‘no’. And then she’d been moved in order for someone else to take over. Trudeau denied any such gloss. Just the normal course of events where all factors are brought to the decision-maker’s attention. That was Justin’s line. But it has come apart big time. Wilson-Raybould had been muzzled under solicitor client privilege of all things, the government and Trudeau being the client and refusing to waive it. With the press going crazy it was partially, but only partially, lifted. Ms Wilson-Raybould – did I mention that not only is she a ‘she’, but she’s also a native Indian, Canada’s first aboriginal A-G – said she had indeed been subjected to pressure. Over a dozen visits. The PM’s principal secretary, his buddy from way back, eventually had to resign. Then the supposedly neutral top civil servant, who’d portrayed things as ‘nothing to see here folks’ also had to resign. The core problem is that this looked a lot like corruption in the sense that if the PM steps in for you then the normal legal rules and processes won’t apply to you. (And note again, the evidence for this in Canada, unlike the US, is pretty much right there for all to see.) And it looked that way to most Canadians.

So the Boy PM has now shut down all parliamentary committees on the matter and kept the gag on Wilson-Raybould. Last week’s budget, by what was already this biggest-spending of all Canadian governments, ramped it up even further in the hopes Canadians will forget this little incident. If in doubt, goes the thinking, try bribing taxpayers with their own money. Who knows, it’s a strategy that might work. But one thing that the annoyingly hypocritical Trudeau can never recover is his virtue-signalling cred.

We now know that when push comes to shove he’ll send the big boys down to put the heavy word on his aboriginal woman whose not doing what she’s told. Then he’ll move her out of the job. Then he’ll say she’s over-reacted. Meantime he’ll refuse to waive privilege so she can give her whole side of the story. God it’s fun to watch what’s going on in Canada.

Just as this piece went to press Trudeau threw Wilson out of the party.’

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