June 17, 2024
Remember the real scandals of the Trudeau government
The treatment of Mark Norman was an unspeakable outrage, yet the media and opposition let the government off the hook.
The treatment of Mark Norman was an unspeakable outrage, yet the media and opposition let the government off the hook.

We are now less than three months from the federal election and are just starting to hear a few campaign noises that presumably presage the political histrionics that will soon be deafening us. In what is being said by audible federal politicians now, there is almost nothing about serious policy issues and no very probing attacks on ethical failings of the government seeking re-election. Regular readers will recall that I was not especially concerned about the SNC-Lavalin affair. It is not the duty of Canadian businessmen to reform the political mores of other countries, and incentives paid to foreign officials, while unedifying, are sometimes necessary. As long as Canadians did not personally profit from such transactions, did not file fraudulent income tax returns, and acted in the best financial interests of the corporation, it doesn’t fluster me particularly.

It is perfectly understandable that the prime minister would wish to save thousands of jobs in Quebec, and the company would be right to decamp and pay its taxes elsewhere if, having the choice to fine or prosecute the company, the Canadian government chose to plunge into an expensive and spectacularly controversial trial of uncertain outcome over such an incident, ignoring the national interest, which in this case favours job retention, conservation of the reputational competitiveness of a large and successful Canadian international company, and the pocketing by the treasury of a large cash fine. Nor is there anything in the slightest improper about the prime minister, his principal secretary, or the clerk of the privy council intervening with the attorney general to uphold the national interest. The idea that the attorney general is completely independent of the head of the government in matters where the prime minister is defending the national interest as he sees it is bunk, although it must be admitted that the issue was clumsily handled and invited considerable mockery.

[…]

Loading