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EDITORIAL – Snap election the only way to sort out Wilson-Raybould affair

Wilson-Raybould listens to questions from Commons justice committee Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Image: TV screenshot)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

AFTER THE HOURS-LONG TESTIMONY of former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Wednesday, there’s a clear path to getting the country out of this crisis.

I’ll get to what that is in a minute.

First of all, though, here’s the Cole’s Notes version of a remarkable day.

Wilson-Raybould spends 50 minutes at a justice committee meeting throwing Justin Trudeau under the bus for what she characterizes as “entirely inappropriate pressure” and “veiled threats.”

This is followed by Conservative and NDP committee members expressing admiration and 100-per-cent belief in everything she has said, and then making political speeches in the guise of questions.

Wilson-Raybould, to her credit, refuses to take the bait of this stunningly incompetent and biased questioning about such things as “how did you feel,” was she afraid of a smear campaign and other attempts to put words in her mouth.

Liberal members handle Wilson-Raybould with kid gloves while trying to get some answers that make Trudeau and the PMO look a little less horrible than they already do.

Wilson-Raybould responds by simply brushing off questions she considers “irrelevant” and is let off the hook numerous times.

In short order, Tory leader Andrew Sheer goes on TV demanding an RCMP investigation and Trudeau’s resignation. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wants a public inquiry first, then a resignation.

Trudeau says he won’t resign, and denies everything she said.

Since this is so clearly a political and, by most analysis, not a legal matter, the logical course of action is for Trudeau to call a snap election and let voters decide who they have confidence in and who they don’t. Dragging this thing out until an October election is too painful to think about, so let’s do it now.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6810 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

14 Comments on EDITORIAL – Snap election the only way to sort out Wilson-Raybould affair

  1. Beverley Campbell // March 3, 2019 at 12:14 PM // Reply

    My thinking is this: Trudeau at some recent time added a little adjunct to Legislation which would ALLOW any and all companies to avoid prosecution through the law, once charged with an offence, that little tidbit of legislation should have been removed from the Bill in question prior to it’s passage. The Law must be the Law and on-one should be above it, no matter the consequences.

  2. Jennie Stadnichuk // February 28, 2019 at 9:42 PM // Reply

    Let’s wait and see what comes out of the PMO tomorrow and onwards. It’s more exciting than a well written soap opera! Definitely NO snap election! Wait until October and see how it all unfolds by then!

  3. David Johnson // February 28, 2019 at 8:46 PM // Reply

    Here’s the thing:

    I watched Wilson-Raybould for almost 4 hours yesterday, and honestly chuckled at her approach to committee members from all over the aisle … no matter what they tried, she re-quoted her statement or called for relevance. What this lady has is integrity, the kind of integrity that will serve her well one day, given enough time for this to stew in the background of yesterdays news. The future will see if one day she makes hay with all she earned from that 4 hours on camera.

    I also paid attention to Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council, and swallowed all he had to say as well. I will also watch Gerald Butts and any Chief of Staffs that may be called to testify.

    Why?? Well … mostly because Game of Thrones isn’t out till mid April, but mostly because I’m a political junkie, always have been, always will be.

    Again; here’s the thing:

    I came to a realisation today. I don’t care.

    I realised that what all this actually is, is an inside squabble in Cabinet that went public. It should never have gone public. Someone in SNC Lavalin had a hand in that.

    Everyone agrees no laws were broken between the PM and the AG, but there may be a round of wrist slapping dolled out by ethics commissionaires or maybe even a Public Enquiry or an RCMP Investigation … but in the end, the reality of what we’re watching is a procedural mis-step by the PM and his pressure giving ministers and Chief of Staff yes-people, but only because they mentioned the Quebec election and Trudeau actually mentioned his Quebec riding of Papineau … that was a pretty dumb move on his part. It was incredibly stupid to continue pushing the AG, after the decision was made. He got stuck on a ‘different solution’ … when there wasnt one.

    The thing was, he didn’t realise she would be so sensitive to the pushing.

    The Attorney General was a little too sensitive to start with, and refused to play what we could call the ‘Ottawa political game’ of other people pushing to get what they want done. Experienced politicians know perfectly well to let a lot of the pressure hogwash rinse right off of them and not get riled. An experienced AG will remind that there is a line and to not let it be crossed. In this case that would be to warn that any order or directive, would be interference and possibly illegal. Anything else said … is fodder.

    Is being reminded that there is an election in Quebec coming up … really ‘THAT’ inappropriate?

    Back to my ‘thing’: I dont care.

    This issue is an inside govt issue, to be dealt with a very large world away from my tax return, job, family, grocery store receipt and carbon tax. Absolutely nothing resulting from this ‘scandal’ will ever effect my day to day life. I don’t feel sympathy to her because well … she’s a politician and she got shuffled. I also don’t feel anger towards the PM Office because they were also politicians playing their little games.

    Basically, I realised that there is nothing in this whole affair that would change my vote.

    And that ends up being the thing. I vote for issues and with party platforms that deal with those issues. I vote for ideologies that will alter tax bills, healthcare, infrastructure and international relations and a host of other issues that I care about. Governments? Sometimes I ‘chuck them out’, sometimes I ‘hold the course’. I will vote over real issues that matter to me, at that time.

    I’m not going to vote out a govt just because they may have treated a Cabinet Member … even a female indigenous one … as badly as thousands of fat old white men have been treated in Canadian Cabinet’s for over 150 years. I am unaffected by the political world of Ottawa. I dont vote differently because that world hiccups, and I don’t roll through layers of emotional turmoil because politicians don’t like each other.

    Sooo … why should I care?
    I can see that the media is trying to MAKE me care … but it wont work.

    I see this issue as what it is … the latest inside Ottawa children bickering – sand flinging inner party squabble, and that’s all it is.

    They will all work this out one day … chips will land, heads may roll, and blue flamed Zombie Dragons may break down ice walls … but none of it will change how I vote.

  4. Jody Wilson-Raybould for Prime Minister!

  5. Robert A Bruce // February 28, 2019 at 10:23 AM // Reply

    A woman that sits in the justice chair for 3 years, does nothing….has all the power in the world to get rid of a few (really stupid) judges, change laws to common language, and other things, does none of them, doesn’t even try. She should have been kicked out of cabinet before this ever happened, for being what I take as lazy. Has her own political agenda, we see as she manipulates the media…and now you want us to pay through the nose for a snap election?

    There’s nothing there sir, she said it herself. Didn’t this look like an old Daily New board meeting? Isn’t it The Kids job to rep his folks in his riding? I thought it showed a government doing a good job, he did his, she’s doing hers….keep walking, nothing to see here. I still expect her to walk across the floor, being the first FN person to hold a cabinet position, she now wants to be the first one to become a conservative…..

  6. Only one problem with your otherwise good idea,we,d have Andrew Scheer as PM.

  7. George S Duncan // February 28, 2019 at 9:13 AM // Reply

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that anyone would call for a snap election, which is clearly a ploy to get Trudeau off the hook.
    This is indeed a legal matter, reaching into the mafia-controlled SNC-Lavalin and its long corrupt business dealings. Letting Trudeau get away with this would be yet another dirty trick, which seems to be the only trick in the Liberal bag.
    With the argument presented in this article, “snap election” becomes synonymous with “cop out.”

    • Mel Rothenburger // February 28, 2019 at 3:20 PM // Reply

      I see it very differently. The election would be, in effect, a referendum on this single issue and whether Canadians feel strongly enough about it to put another government in office. All party leaders and candidates across the country would have an opportunity to state their cases, call evidence and argue the issue. Wilson-Raybould herself said she was not directed to do anything, that “it wasn’t an interference because I didn’t let it happen” and that while she felt the pressure was inappropriate she did not see it as illegal. That leaves politics, so let’s settle it politically. Based on the widespread acceptance of Wilson-Raybould’s side of the story before most of those she’s accused of being appropriate have been heard, I’d say Trudeau has a tough row to hoe.

    • It is not really a legal matter, George. This is the realm of higher level politics and it happens regardless of who is in power. She got upset at something, dug her heels and blew this thing up betraying the system and plunging the country into an unneeded crisis. A snap election is sure no solution, and Scheer is no solution either.

  8. Ian M MacKenzie // February 28, 2019 at 7:26 AM // Reply

    After listening during an entire afternoon to the carefully worded testimony of Wilson-Raybould
    it seems to me that the attempted politicking going on, revealed in the questions following her testimony, is enough reason to be very careful in our choice of the next government as was her calm and deliberative answers to those questions. I’m looking forward to a more convincing rebuttal from Trudeau, as well as giving Jagmeet Singh enough time to settle into his new role of effective/ineffective leadership to vote intelligently 8 months from now. We’ll all have more information on which to base our choices by that time. A snap election now is not the answer.

  9. Sean McGuinness // February 28, 2019 at 6:57 AM // Reply

    Here another quick solution: Trudeau should just admit that he and the PMO acted inappropriately in the SNC Langavalin matter, deliver a full apology to Ms. Raybould-Wilson, and offer to reinstate her as Justice minister.

  10. Could we let the sunshine pour in a little longer. The (at the time cringe worthy to me) campaign slogan of “Sunny Days” never reckoned with the storm clouds over the horizon.

  11. I think a cooling off period is in order.
    You said it, the opposition parties have shown nothing but an inability to rationality and an appetite for “stunning incompetent and biases questioning”, hardly the premises for good governance. This protracted winter weather may be partially to blame. So after a few good melting days let’s reassess ok?

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