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Monthly Archives: August 2019

CAUGHT! JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S SHAMELESS, UNAPOLOGETIC ETHICAL FAILURES

Politicians were mostly people who’d had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.– George R.R. Martin, Ace in the Hole

I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.– Charlie Chaplin

Frank A. Pelaschuk

I have said in the past that Trudeau must be the sorriest leader on the planet. I was referring of course to his penchant for apologizing for almost everything. There is nothing wrong with that, but the list seems endless and the act wearying smacking as it often does more of the opportunistic seizing of the photo-op moment than of sincerity. Too, there were moments missed, when he could have, should have, apologized but didn’t. As when he offered the tantalizing prospect of electoral reform and seemed committed to it until caught stacking the deck when he formed the committee to make recommendations. Before long, he began in earnest to undermine the committee when it appeared certain they would make a recommendation not to his liking muttering the public had lost interest in reform and when, in fact, they did make a recommendation excluding his preference of the ranked ballot vote, he drove a stake through the heart of the idea and later, during a town hall meeting declared it didn’t bother him a bit to walk away from it. That is the real Trudeau, the petulant minor figure who, not getting his way takes home the marbles. He’ll apologize when the cause is easy, appealing, and works to his benefit but, when not, will as quickly abandon them loyal to none but one: himself.

Trudeau cannot be trusted with much. His claims of feminism ring hollow to me. It is not enough to have a balanced cabinet. What is important is to stand up when it matters. He failed to do that when asked about a released recording during the presidential election campaign clearly outlining Donald Trump’s vile misogynistic views, declaring everyone knew where he stood and it was not Canada’s policy to comment on American politics. He was given an opportunity to redeem himself later but failed once again using the same words. He failed to apologize then and hasn’t since. Nor did he for signing off on the Light Armoured Vehicle deal with Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, turning his back on Canada’s own laws as well as UN sanctions regarding trade with human rights abusers even though he, as opposition leader, hotly contested the deal. Instead, he came up with excuses, much the way a child does, for why he signed off on the LAV deal: the deal was all but done by Harper when the liberals took office; he could not risk Canada’s reputation as a trading partner not to be trusted should he break the deal. That was a joke, of course, we’ve done it before, most recently when Chretien was in office. It was everyone’s fault but Trudeau’s that the deal went through. He had turned his back on human rights, but don’t expect apologies for that. Canadian jobs were at stake and so was big money. Pragmatism must never be hindered by principle.

When the SNC-Lavalin affair broke ending with the resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice minister and attorney general and Jane Philpott in support, Trudeau, in February of this year, declared his concerns where Canadian interests and Canadian jobs and that her decisions regarding the Quebec-based construction giant, was “hers and hers alone.” But we know now and most suspected then, that that was a falsehood. Trudeau and the PMO exerted enormous pressure on the justice minister to get the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kathleen Roussel, to drop the criminal charge in exchange for a DPA (Deferred Prosecution Agreement), a clause sought for by SNC-Lavalin and inserted in the liberal budget in 2018 something the liberals did not hide but certainly had not advertised. Not only did JWR refuse to intervene, the DPP making clear they had no grounds to not proceed with the criminal case, she felt compelled to resign when demoted from the ministry she loved to that of Veterans Affairs due to a cabinet shuffle prompted, Trudeau claimed, by Scott Brison’s resignation. For some, that move was Trudeau’s way of striking back at Jody Wilson-Raybould. Evidently you don’t defy the PMO.

If the DPA had been allowed to proceed, the company would need only to admit guilt, promise corporate changes, apologize and pay hefty fines. The liberals say that that is no small thing. They are right, of course, it is no small thing that a government devout so much effort protecting a private company with a history of criminal errancy. It is no small thing that the same company avoids trial for bribery and corruption, avoids the risk of a criminal record if found guilty and, as a consequence, is able to continue to bid on lucrative government contracts.

Once the mud hit the fan following JWR’s resignation, Trudeau was particularly brutal regarding his behaviour to her, undermining her at press scrums by questioning her loyalty, discretion and authority. It was vile and brutal and personal. This from a smiling charming feminist oozing, simply oozing sincerity as he inserted the stiletto into the first First Nations member to ever hold the post of Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada. Even as he was undermining JWR, he claimed, that while he had done nothing wrong, his concerns were Canadian interests and jobs. That’s what he said then and that’s what he said again on August 14. And for that, he said, he could not and would not apologize.

The resignation of JWR led to another in support of her, that of the capable Jane Philpott recently shuffled from the ministry of Indigenous Affairs to that of President of the Treasury Board. Neither women, nor the public, should expect or believe that an apology from the prime minister will be forthcoming. That’s another side to his character: a weak man who wrongs others but is unable to publicly admit to being wrong. Today, he must be truly the sorriest man in the country, not for all the apologies nor for what he’s done, but for the fact he was caught for the second time for breach of ethics and for something far more serious. In the first instance, he was chided but unpunished for accepting free gifts, as the helicopter ride from the Aga Khan to the Aga Khan’s private island during a holiday trip in December 2016 but, in this instance, with the August 14 release of the Ethics Commissioner’s report on the role Trudeau and the PMO played in the SNC-Lavalin affair, for a conflict of interest when he and the PMO sought to obstruct justice by pressuring the attorney general to intervene with the Department of Public Prosecutors regarding the company’s approaching trial. He had sought to obstruct justice, he had lied again and again about his role, he had sought to destroy the reputation of JWR by engaging in character assassination, and, according to the Ethics Commissioner, Trudeau and the PMO, withheld vital information. Michael Wernick, at that time Clerk to the Privy Council, when testifying before the Justice Committee, clearly had abandoned the role of non-partisanship that is required of the job, had submitted testimony but his replacement, Ian Shugart refused to hand over vital documents citing cabinet privilege. The commissioner, Mario Dion, stated in his report, “The authority of the Prime Minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

Following the release of the report, with Scheer screaming in the back-, fore- and all grounds as usual, Trudeau told reporters he accepted responsibility but took exception to some of the findings which is risible since any adult with a modicum of integrity, pride and intelligence, would not accept blame if he had done nothing wrong. Yet, while publicly accepting responsibility, saying the buck stops with him, he had told the Ethics Commissioner the exact opposite, saying he could not be held “vicariously” responsible for the acts of his staff and advisors. Which Trudeau statement should we accept? Conflict of interest and obstruction of justice. This is serious stuff. This is a sign of a government in a crisis of its own making. Pride, shamelessness, duplicity, ethical misconduct, corruption and simple lying seem to be routine accepted practice by this government. This is the Trudeau who promised to do things differently, to be better and to be more transparent than the previous regime. Well, the previous regime under Stephen Harper promised the same thing exactly as Scheer does today. The liberals and conservatives are two faces on the same coin. Nothing differentiates one from the other because their interests are exactly the same: getting power and holding on to that power by any and all means. Your interests only match theirs until the vote is counted.

From the time Canada became a nation, only two parties have ever governed federally. What the hell are Canadians afraid of? Do we lack that much character, that much intelligence, that much courage that we are afraid of trying something different, new, perhaps even with the real risk of being better?

Shortly after the report was released by Mario Dion, Trudeau said he can’t apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs because “that’s what Canadians expect him to do”. Really? At what cost? SNC-Lavalin is a serial offender and governments at every level seem determined to forgive and help this corrupt company break the law again and again even going so far as to make illegal donations to political parties (since reimbursed by the liberals and conservatives). Does Trudeau really believe Canadians are that indifferent to corruption, cronyism, and bought political favours that they would approve his assisting Big Business get away with taunting, flaunting, and flouting of the law when not too long ago he was bragging about how he was upholding the “rule of law” with the arrest of Huawei executive on behalf of the USA extradition request. This is less about protecting jobs than about getting re-elected by pandering to the Quebec electorate. You do not aid and abet a company in its criminality. If you do it once, why not do it again? And if they can get away with bribery and corruption, what about cutting corners regarding issues of safety of the projects with which they are involved? Trudeau apparently is untroubled by such concerns. He is more preoccupied with the liberal party fortunes and the health and welfare of business interests than that of Canadians; I know it, so does he, and so should you after seeing him in action as prime minister.

Trudeau is an oleaginous liar, he is an opportunist, he is hypocritical, he is craven, he is unethical, he is a zero, the inveterate unrepentant diminished Prince of Promise who has joined the conservatives in the home that offers them the only true comfort from which they derive pleasure: the sewer. Liberals and conservatives, sewer rats, have failed us time and again. Voters have made that possible simply because they have refused to switch on their brains and THINK.

SNC-Lavalin did not threaten to leave Quebec or Canada if the DPA was not allowed; yet Trudeau seems to suggest otherwise. He knew better but sought to blur the lines in hopes we didn’t. If Trudeau truly believed in the rule of law, he would not have intervened as he has. With him and others in positions of power, it is as many have always suspected, when it comes to the justice and business: there are two sets of books with two sets of rules.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

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JASON KENNEY’S DANGEROUS GAME

I once said cynically of a politician, “He’ll double cross that bridge when he comes to it.”– Oscar Levant

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.– Nikita Khrushchev

Frank A. Pelaschuk

What does it take to be a politician? Evidently not much these days. It probably helps if you are confident, glib, articulate, convincing, and ruthless. Honesty, integrity, decency, the ability to experience shame, judging from those who hold office, are clearly not required nor, it seems, is a particularly intelligent electorate.

Those seeking political office must have a thick skin to accompany the essentials of running because, should those essentials trip them up, they must be nimble enough and convincing enough to defend themselves without appearing to do so; to act otherwise undermines credibility. The essentials of any successful political life require the willingness and ability to lie with ease and without qualm. Of course, with lying, one must also be able to wear several faces, all of them hypocritical and not be too wedded to such foolish high-minded notions that voters alwaysknow best, are wise and good. They don’t and aren’t. A good politician reminds himself of this fact many times and sometimes even allows himself to go further but neverpublicly: he’ll tell himself voters are largely stupid and can be easily manipulated provided he, the politician, sound as if he believes every word he is saying. He doesn’t have to but it helps. Essential as well is the ability and willingness to exploit and manipulate others; this requires a certain ruthlessness and mean-spiritedness which must be used sparingly but, when necessary, without hesitation. No good politician should be wedded to promises, party platforms or to such lofty airy-fairy things as morality or integrity both of which, while occasionally an asset, more often than not prove hindrances to the truly important goal: getting elected and keep on getting elected. It’s best for the politician to be adroit thereby allowing him or her to easily switch sides loving what your opposition hated and hating what your opposition loved (that’s where the several faces can be particularly useful). It certainly helps to come across as a sympathetic, sincere and interested individual even as the voter bores the politico with his latest health issue, worries about crime in the neighbourhood and high number of illegal dark-skinned foreigners sneaking into the country; tell them what they want to hear, works every time! A politician must never be afraid to admit to being wrong or say he is sorry. Trudeau must be the sorriest Prime Minister of any nation and, while it was endearing at first, it has become wearisome and smacks of insincerity. Regardless of the occasion, the politician must be able to look the voterin the eye and speak with the utmost genuineness without sounding earnest whether lying or not; if he can’t work up the charisma factor all that easily, it also helps to come across as the slightly nerdy shy “aw shucks” head-down-shoe-scuffing-the-ground type of guy or gal who everyone thinks is cute as hell and someone they would want to marry their son or daughter and even consider voting for.

There is, of course, another type for whom some fall: The Snake Oil huckster. He is the smooth, grinning, brash, fast-talking, looks-you-in-the-eye type who can convince you that Sunday is for dancing and sin, Friday nights for praying for world peace, and that children never lie before he takes his leave of you – once you’ve paid for the snake oil and then find your wallet picked after he’s out the door.

Jason Kenney is that type of politico, a huckster who will do and has done anything to win including joining forces with kamikaze party leadership aspirants (those candidates who withdraw midway a campaign and throws support to another), one of whom paid a hefty fine for taking the part while Kenney, unsurprisingly, denies knowing anything about it though some involved in the matter say otherwise. Just one day after the Alberta election commissioner announced that he was still under investigation for several other questionable practices during the 2017 leadership campaign to head the United Conservative Party, Kenney, clearly unhappy, has none to subtly suggested that no department including the commissioner’s was immune from budgetary cuts. The message could not be any more clear nor our sense of his character.

Anyone who has followed his career over the years knows that he is a sincerely ambitious politico with the gift for gab, bafflegab and gas in equal measure who lies with absolute shameless ease, has rather fluid ethical standards and absolutely no loyalty to anything but that which furthers his personal agenda.

No one should have been surprised when he rolled back the NDP minimum wage from $15 to $14. You see, he’s had practice in undermining Canadian workers while in the role of employment and social development minister in the Harper government. While both proclaimed their primary concern was the creation and protection of Canadian jobs, Kenney, as the minister in charge of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), you know, the program that encouraged, actually encouraged, Canadian companies to hire foreign workers at 15% below what Canadian workers were paid. We all recall the RBC episode where Canadian workers trained foreign workers who then returned to their countries of origin taking with them the very jobs Canadian workers, now unemployed, had trained them to do. Good for business. Good for foreign workers. Not so good for Canadian workers. This is the kind of man Jason Kenney is. He cannot be trusted to be on your side unless you are Big Business or unless you can be used as a wedge to his advantage. It was the Harper regime, of which Kenney was a member, that campaigned on a racial and religious agenda targeting the so-called Barbaric Cultural Practices of Muslims. So, it is not surprising that members of his United Conservative Party campaign team included those with homophobic, anti-Muslim, views. Two of them, Caylan Ford, who had been recruited by Kenney, and Eva Kiryakos, resigned while incumbent Mark Smith with a rather peculiar take on homosexuality stayed on and won which says a lot about those who support the Kenney’s UCP.

But there he is today in a video suggesting that if Trudeau were reelected, he’d be willing to lead the charge to the road of separation. That he would raise separation as a tool in an attempt to blackmail Canadians into voting for Andrew Scheer and the federal Conservatives says all you need know about Kenney and his professed love of country: anything goes. He is an extremely adept campaigner and now, as premier of Alberta, has set himself the goal of working towards Trudeau’s ouster by any means though I suspect not all Albertans would support the threat to pull out of the confederation. Such a move could well provide him with a victory that was pyrrhic. For those who find Doug Ford and Donald Trump appealing, Kenney is a shoe-in and talk of separation is the stunt of one who thinks too highly of himself; if he were a twin, he would go at it 24/7.

This is a man who, while campaigning in 2016, photoshopped an image in which he appeared. He removed the background and replaced it with an image of an adoring crowd behind him. He loves working with images almost as much as he loves his gas. He’s the same man who, in 2015, during International Women’s Day, tweeted support for the war against ISIS with the inclusion of two photos, one purportedly of a bound, weeping child bride and her adult husband and another of black clad women in chains. Of course, as with many things with Kenney, they were bogus and he knew it. The first picture had been widely discredited as fake and the other was a reenactment of an event dating back many centuries. For Kenney, it’s the impact of the message; truth is immaterial if it doesn’t help his cause.

To give him his due, he is ever resourceful. In the past, he had used his ministerial letterhead to fundraise for Harper’s Conservative party, a no-no, and once, in a fundraising letter, he sought to suggest Justin Trudeau held a sympathetic soft-spot for terrorist when visiting the Montreal Al Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque identified by American intelligence as a recruitment centre for Al-Quadi terrorists. While it was true that the U.S. Military considered the mosque a threat and that Trudeau had visited it, Kenney wilfully omitted two important items. When Trudeau had visited the mosque, it had not, at the time, been considered a threat by American intelligence and Kenney himself had taken some heat for visiting an Ontario Islamic centre facing the same accusations of terrorist recruitment. Jason Kenney knew exactly what he was doing and what to ignore. It was malign and typical of him. While I have no affection for Trudeau, I have even less for conservatives and for malicious liars and Kenney is that.

His efforts to reawaken the East-West divide with separatist talk is shameless and unconscionable. It’s a dangerous ploy and serves no one’s interest other than Jason Kenney’s and appeals to none but the simpletons in the conservative base who do form a significant number. No one, especially a leader of a party and of a province, can honestly claim to love his country yet hint at walking away unless Trudeau loses the election this fall. Liars can. Dishonest people can. Manipulators can. Jason Kenney can.

Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Donald Trump have won the support of voters largely by preying on their fears, their superstitions, their ignorance and their stupidity by enforcing and legitimizing their belief of victimhood with assurances that their fears are real and that they are, indeed, under siege by dark skinned peoples with strange clothes, strange customs and unholy religions with sinister plans.

This is vile stuff and dangerous. This is Kenney. And this is the conservative worldview.

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. —  Benjamin Franklin

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