15 votes

Trudeau: Crisis deepens as second minister quits

4 comments

  1. [4]
    Sahasrahla Link
    I've seen it characterized this way but is it accurate to call this a "corruption" scandal? When I think of corruption I expect that government officials are inappropriately enriching themselves,...

    ... amid a corruption scandal ...

    I've seen it characterized this way but is it accurate to call this a "corruption" scandal? When I think of corruption I expect that government officials are inappropriately enriching themselves, their allies, or their party. Something like (to take an example from the previous government) the Duffy scandal where a senator inappropriately claimed housing expenses and then a member of the Prime Minister's Office cut him a cheque to pay back the money and sweep the whole thing under the rug. With the current scandal the goal of the PMO was, as the former Attorney General said in her testimony it was presented to her as, to prevent job loss in Quebec before the election by protecting SNC-Lavalin. The scandal itself isn't the mechanism by which this would be done (a deferred prosecution agreement) or even that Trudeau asked the AG to do this, but rather the heart of the scandal is if the continued pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould was an overreach and an affront to the independence of the courts.

    However, all that is a bit complicated and esoteric and it's easier to fall back on the cliche of "corrupt Liberals up to something in Quebec." That worries me as a progressive Canadian voter because the perennial nature of Canadian politics is that the Liberals govern until they fall to some corruption scandal, and the Conservatives govern until Canadians are so sick of them that enough Red-Tories and NDP supporters hold their nose and vote Liberal. After a decade of Harper I don't want the balance of power to swing back to the Conservatives after only four years of Trudeau.

    If I could have one wish for all this it would be that this scandal is just damaging enough to knock the Liberals down to a minority government that needs NDP support to stay alive. If that were the case we might actually get proportional representation and pharmacare. My fear, of course, is a Conservative majority. It would embolden and empower the alt-right and we'd get the worst of the Harper years at a time when action on climate change is critical. I don't exactly support Trudeau but I hope he's up for the task.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      PaKYr Link Parent
      Although it's probably not what people think of when they first see the word, the definition of corruption is (emphasis mine) So it fits the definition even if it isn't corruption in the sense...

      Although it's probably not what people think of when they first see the word, the definition of corruption is (emphasis mine)

      dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

      So it fits the definition even if it isn't corruption in the sense that SNC-Lavalin wasn't filling Trudeau's wallet.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Sahasrahla Link Parent
        Sure, I get that, but I'm just thinking that in the context of a political scandal "corruption" has connotations far beyond the dictionary definition. I agree that from what I've seen so far...

        Sure, I get that, but I'm just thinking that in the context of a political scandal "corruption" has connotations far beyond the dictionary definition. I agree that from what I've seen so far Trudeau and others acted unethically but calling it corruption mischaracterizes it I think. The scandal, in its most basic description, is that the PMO acted unethically to prevent job loss in a key province before an election. If that counts as corruption then I'd say a lot of what passes as business-as-usual for governments would be corruption. Maybe it's a pedantic point, but I'd say it's useful to make a distinction because going by a strict prescriptive definition of the word can mislead about the nature of what's going on with this relatively complex scandal.

        2 votes
        1. PaKYr Link Parent
          Well, I dunno about this CNN article in particular, but the way I've seen it characterized in Canadian media is as "obstruction of justice", which I think is an accurate description. I don't think...

          Well, I dunno about this CNN article in particular, but the way I've seen it characterized in Canadian media is as "obstruction of justice", which I think is an accurate description. I don't think I've seen Canadian media widely reporting this as a corruption scandal, although Scheer, et. al. are certainly trying to characterize it in that manner.

          2 votes