Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird last week excoriated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the SNC Lavalin scandal.
Trudeau and his PMO have been accused by the Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner of interfering in the judicial process to enable the Quebec company to escape prosecution, and instead just pay a fine, for bribing Libyan officials. The ethics report called the Prime Minister and PMO actions “conflicts of interest.”
Baird, who appeared last week at a fundraising event for Conservative Mount Royal candidate David Tordjman at the Kandy Gallery in Town of Mount Royal, called for Trudeau to apologize, and to resign.
Part of the SNC-Lavalin fallout was the resignation and later expulsion from the Liberals of former Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybauld, who resisted what she said was political interference.
“On the ethics file, [the Liberals] have made error after error,” Baird told the well-attended event. “If you make a mistake, own up to it. Twenty-seven different times, they tried to force Jody Wilson-Raybauld to make a corrupt decision, and 27 times, this woman said no.
“Justin Trudeau needs to understand, when a woman says No, she means No.”
The former Foreign Affairs Minister also criticized the Trudeau government on the foreign policy front.
“Our relationship with India is in tatters, and it was strong and vibrant,” Baird said. “Our relationship with China is in tatters, and it was strong and vibrant. Despite being the most pro-Israel government on the planet under Stephen Harper when I was Foreign Minister, we had phenomenal relationships throughout the Islamic and Arab world, and today, those are in tatters as well.”
Later, during his interview with former CJAD talk show host Tommy Schnurmacher, Baird said he was, in contrast, “stunned” by U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East, “not just on Israel, but on Iran and the Sunni Arab world.
“I think it’s a home run, it’s been good.”
Baird, who is on the board of CIJA (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs), said he does not want support for Israel to be a political issue.
“I want it to be a tri-partisan issue, where all parties agree,” he added. “Justin Trudeau said there would be no light between his policy and Harper’s. Well, we (the Conservatives) wouldn’t give money to the [anti-Israel] United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). We gave a lot of money in support of the Palestinian people, but never to UNRWA. We would never take your money from your wallet or purse and give it to organizations that promote and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. When the U.S. changed the location of its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, those who were against put a resolution to the UN General Assembly condemning the United States.
“And Justin Trudeau had the guts, the courage and the strength of character... to get up and abstain. Israel doesn’t need friends, it needs friends on its challenging days, friends who are prepared to get off the bench and in the game, and stand behind her when she needs help! [Conservative leader] Andrew Scheer is the kind of Prime Minister, backed up by MPs like David [Tordjman], who will deliver that support.”
Tordjman accused the Trudeau government of “saying one thing, and doing another.”
“We need a government that’s going to do what they say and say what they do, and be open and honest,” he said. “In October, we need you. Go out and vote.”
Also on hand at the event were Conservative Senator Leo Housakos, movie chain head Vincenzo Guzzo and former CSL Mayor and 2015 Conservative candidate Robert Libman.