Necessity is the mother of invention.
But duplicity is its father.
Consider, as putrid example, the inventiveness employed by the Liberal Party of Canada in its hell-bent mission to destroy the credibility of Jody Wilson-Raybould, former justice minister and attorney general of Canada. The dodging and weaving, the prevaricating, the outright lying by Justin Trudeau and his “hench-people” have been so prolific as to be admirable, almost – if it were possible to admire malignant underhandedness.
It culminated in dramatic fashion this week with the Tuesday Night Massacre, with both JWR and her stalwart sidekick, the (formerly) esteemed Dr. Jane Philpott, turfed from the Liberal caucus as loathsome and divisive malcontents. “Culminated”, I say: but it’s clear that the Vesuvian eruption of corrupt Liberal ineptitude has much left to spew.
The expulsion of Philpott was particularly jarring, given her impeccable credentials and her serial turns as a shining star in the Trudeau cabinet prior to the pustular SNC-Lavalin scandal. Philpott was new to the political arena, on the cusp of completing her first term as MP, having left behind, for the noblest of reasons, a glittering career as a physician to pursue elected office. Almost six years ago, as she contemplated making the leap to rough-and-tumble world of politics, she said this:
“After all, it’s not such a stretch to jump from medicine to politics. More than 100 years ago, Dr. Rudolf Virchow noted that “Medicine is a social science and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale.” For my whole life, I have tried to suppress thoughts about entering formal politics. But the more determined I become to address the big social and health problems afflicting all countries in the world, the more it seems that politics could be the best way to impact positive change on a grand scale. I had a conversation about this with the Right Honourable Paul Martin in May 2011. He indicated that if the conditions were right, I could accomplish more for the public good as an elected politician than in all my other efforts as an advocate and a physician-educator.”
But Dr. Philpott committed what is a cardinal sin for a modern Liberal politician – she stood on principle. She stepped away from her lofty post as President of the Treasury Board, unable to countenance the blatant character assassination of JWR, unable to be complicit in the subversion of justice.
That a woman of her moral calibre would take such a stand isn’t surprising. That a politician would do so is (unfortunately) extraordinary. And that the prime minister and the Liberal caucus would gleefully toss an individual of such talent and unbendable moral fibre from their ranks reveals all there is to know about the rottenness at the core of this government.
Yesterday, in an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Philpott was unrepentant, and perceptive. This could all have been avoided, she said, if Mr. Trudeau had simply met the crisis squarely in its infancy by issuing an apology.
As a physician she knows full well that the best way – by far – to address medical error is to confront it head on. Patients and families harmed by medical blunders are usually and understandably very upset; but that wrath truly boils over when physicians refuse to acknowledge error. A sincere and simple “I’m sorry”, joined to a thorough investigation and explanation of what transpired, can be a tremendous thing, a balm of reconciliation, a sturdy bridge to restored trust and renewed respect.
“You tell the truth, you apologize to the people who have been wronged, you study what happened so that you’ll get to the bottom of how it happened, and then you make whatever policy changes are necessary,” she said. “That’s a really good recipe for how to deal with medical error, and I actually think it could be transferred to what politicians should do when they make mistakes.”
But there was no apology from Mr. Trudeau. Nor will there be. He’s like a political “Old MacDonald”, with an entire crop of sorrys at the ready: here a sorry, there a sorry, everywhere a sorry sorry. But he issues apologies only for the misdeeds of others, attended by rivers of tears on demand. He’s genetically incapable of sprouting a single, solitary “sorry” for his own missteps, no matter how egregious his errors.
It makes one wonder whether he’s actually one of us. We Canadians are an accommodating lot, polite to a fault, eager to apologize for the most meagre of slights. As Emily Levine writes:
“My favourite example of a Canadian apology is when you’re out for brunch, or at a restaurant, and you really need some ketchup.
So you say to the waiter – whose job it is to help you get the things you need to enjoy your meal – “Oh, sorry! Um, sorry, hi! Is it okay if … could I have some ketchup, please? Oh, thanks so much, sorry!”
It just makes no sense. You could just say: “Excuse me? Do you have any ketchup?””
That’s us. We’re Canadian: well-mannered, deferential, submissive. We’ll stand patiently in line for practically forever. Our entire health care system, in fact, can be summed by four little words: “Hurry up and wait.”
But there is one trait we do share with non-Canadian humans: We don’t like being called stupid. We absolutely hate being taken for fools.
We are expected to believe – after all the pressure brought to bear on JWR to intervene in the case of SNC-Lavalin, after all the prattling about “jobs, jobs, jobs”, after all the calls and visits and emails and dire warnings from the prime minister and his heavies – after all that, we are supposed to believe that Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick didn’t bother to fill in his boss on the seventeen-minute phone conversation he had with JWR in December, during which he tightened those screws. “I am going to have to report back” to the prime minister “before he leaves”, he warned her ominously. We’re to believe that he hung up the phone and then didn’t breathe another word on the issue to the PM in the weeks before JWR was sacked.
We’re supposed to swallow the PM’s indignant spin that JWR’s taping of the Wernick conversation was “unconscionable”, rather than the smart and rational defensive action of someone rightly horrified by the relentless strong-arm attempts of the PMO to subvert justice.
We’re supposed to believe that SNC-Lavalin deserves a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, when in fact that the law as it is written very clearly disqualifies it.
We’re supposed to believe the PM’s endless blathering about “standing up for jobs”, as if there aren’t a host of other competent structural engineering companies (outfits with actual integrity) that would step forward to mop up those contracts and employ all those people; as if his contemptuous attitude toward the 100,000 people thrown out of work in the oil patch in Alberta thanks to the destructive policies of his government doesn’t put the lie to his BS; as if the only job he’s “standing up for” isn’t his own, the job that allows him to dance the bhangra on the world stage, to rub shoulders with the famous and the rich and the privileged, to snap entire photo libraries of selfies with anyone and anything that moves and to try on the entire costumery of the globe.
We’re supposed to believe that Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Crown prosecutor, former chief commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission, former regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Canada’s first Indigenous Justice Minister and Attorney General has mutated into a lying, crazy-eyed, self-interested Injun wildly swinging tomahawks of revenge at her innocent Liberal colleagues.
We’re supposed to believe that Dr. Jane Philpott, a stellar physician with an unimpeachable record, including six years of selfless pre-political medical service to the people of Niger (during which she lost her young daughter to illness) has suddenly morphed into a self-interested, calculating, manipulative schemer.
One wonders how thick-headed and dim-witted the Liberal party thinks we are.
Mr. Trudeau can attempt to sell this malodorous bundle of crap to the Canadian public as eloquently and earnestly and dramatically as he wishes.
But we’re not buying his unctuous bullshit.
We may be Canadian. But we’re not stupid.