Prime Minister Trudeau is on the ropes and it’s unlikely his leadership can survive today’s bombshell testimony by former Auditor General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Even worse than having a leader that is unethical, is having one that is delusional.
The first five minutes of Wilson-Raybould’s testimony laid out a strong case for a likely breach of the so-called “Shawcross principle” which lays out the line over which partisan actors, such as the PMO, cannot cross in interfering or communicating in matters of prosecutorial discretion.
“I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere,” she said, stating it was “an inappropriate effort to secure a deferred prosecution agreement.”
She continued on to say that there were “veiled threats if a deferred prosecution agreement was not made available.” An agreement like this would have prevented SNC Lavalin from facing prosecution and allowed them to settle on a case currently being investigated and prosecuted.
-Former Justice Minister & Auditor General
With Wilson-Raybould’s detailed testimony and documentation of phone calls, meetings, and discussions that were presented in her testimony to the Justice Committee today, the former AG and Justice Minister established her credibility in a compelling manner.
The Prime Minister’s media availability and response to Wilson-Raybould’s testimony was an unmitigated disaster.
For the Prime Minister to step in front of microphones, following the second set of allegations of inappropriate behaviour, and state that the woman has got it wrong and he perceived it to be different, shows that he has lost the plot.
The first rule of crisis communications is to get in front of the issue, acknowledge it exists, and show contrition – not defiance. In having challenged Wilson-Raybould’s credibility and perceptions, he has ensured that this story will continue its explosive burn.
To justify allowing a corrupt corporation to get off without prosecution for the serious charges they are facing in order to protect jobs damages the reputation Canada has for being a country ruled by law and justice.
This is no better than the abuses of the Harper government in breaking electoral laws and changing them to suit their needs. Canadians are right to be incensed.
But just like Harper did in 2015, Trudeau is letting his ego get in the way of what is best for the country and his party. It appears that unless there is sustained political pressure that leads to him falling on his sword, the deluded belief that economic growth can excuse any sort of unethical, illegal, and immoral behaviour will likely lead to his ultimate downfall in the forthcoming election and will lead to a new government taking power this fall.
You can watch Wilson-Raybould’s full testimony here.