Federal Politics

As Gerald Butts goes under the bus, Trudeau’s woes deepen

How is this ugly SNC-Lavalin affair going to end for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals?

In a word, badly.

It is bad enough already and will only get worse before it gets better – if it does. It has already cost the prime minister a highly prized cabinet minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, his former minister of justice and attorney general. On Monday, it cost him his principal secretary, Gerald Butts, one of his closest personal friends.

So much for full public disclosure!

Full public disclosure is a principle that politicians embrace as though it were Holy Writ when they are on the outside looking in. But when they are inside, sitting around the cabinet table and deciding how much information to share with the public, it is a different story. As little as possible becomes the mantra.

Canadians have seen this evolution occur in the last two political regimes. Justin Trudeau was an ardent advocate for open government when campaigning in 2015 to unseat the Conservatives, who had run a famously secretive regime under Stephen Harper.

Why not ring in the New Year with a Senate seat?

A new year is the time for new beginnings, isn’t it? A time to accept new challenges and seize new opportunities.

So, if anyone is interested in a really new beginning in 2019, here is a suggestion.

Why don’t you apply for a seat in the Senate of Canada?

Yes, you can! It is no longer your grandfather’s Senate: a refuge for defeated candidates and clapped-out cabinet ministers and a reward for generous donors to the party in power. But it’s still a good gig, with an annual salary of $150,600 plus expenses and a pension on mandatory retirement at 75.

2018 was a miserable year. Will 2019 be any better?

The headline in Saturday’s Toronto Star made no bones about the newspaper’s verdict on the year that ends today:

“That’s enough, 2018. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

The Star was reflecting on the miseries experienced in 2018 in the Greater Toronto Area, but a similar verdict could be rendered just about anywhere. It was a year to be forgotten, a year when we were pounded day after day by bad, often alarming, news.

Conservatives’ “Odd Couple” hits the election road

They could be billed as the Odd Couple of Canadian politics: Andrew Scheer and Kevin O’Leary.

Yet there they were last week, the federal Conservative leader and the Canadian-born celebrity from U,S. television’s Shark Tank, on the hustings together as the Tories tested their training wheels for next October’s federal election.