“There can be a cost to acting on one’s principles, but there is a bigger cost to abandoning them.” – Dr. Jane Philpott
Ottawa- On March 4, former Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott unexpectedly resigned from cabinet. She likely recalled that as physicians, we are taught to be honest, accountable, and transparent with our patients, colleagues, and other health professionals. Sadly, we have all witnessed that these high standards do not seem to apply to many politicians.
Wilson-Raybould testified on February 27 at the House of Commons Justice Committee regarding the SNC-Lavalin affair. She detailed how she and her staff were subjected to a“consistent and sustained effort” to persuade her to interfere in a judicial decision.
She was clear, orderly, concise, factual and damning. Even the normally pro-Liberal Toronto Star in an editorial stated, “This has turned into a battle of credibility between Wilson-Raybould and the Liberals, with the prime minister at the center of it all. The former minister was a highly credible witness.”
When Gerald Butts testified on March 6, he argued, “..two persons can experience the same events differently.” The Ottawa Sun editorial stated, “This is not about differences of interpretation. This is about facts and whether obstruction of justice occurred.” In a CTV Ottawa poll, over 8400 persons responded and 77% found Wilson-Raybould to be more credible than Butts. Justin Trudeau offered no real apology. As the Ottawa Citizen editorial noted, the press conference was “an exercise in obfuscation and deflection.” But as Lorne Gunter stated, “”..the PM is really good at apologizing for stuff other people have done, but not so good at saying sorry for what he and his government have done.”
But what about the credibility of the Prime Minister? As Rex Murphy queried, (National Post, March 6) what remains of his commitments to change the voting system or abandon omnibus bills? Or consider but two recent examples in which he has uttered false statements: In the House on February 20, he claimed, “We will always stand up for good jobs across the country.”
He claims to be protecting 9000 Canadian SNC-Lavalin jobs (only 2500 in Quebec). However, the firm has a global work force of over 50,000 and only 31% of its 2017 revenues came from Canada. Trudeau has largely ignored the 160,000 jobs lost in Alberta. Although GM employees in Oshawa, Ontario faced the loss of 2500 jobs, the oil industry lost that many per month for 18 straight months. The oil and gas industry is six times larger than the manufacturing industry. Trudeau has expressed no interest in reviving Energy East, while the Trans Mountain pipeline is mired in red tape for years. Bill C-69 is now undergoing review by the Senate. All four Atlantic premiers have been demanding amendments.
On February 28, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley warned, “Over in the Maritimes, they are importing Saudi oil. Here in Ontario, you are importing American oil, both at world prices, and meanwhile in Alberta, we are cutting production...I told (the Senate) very clearly that this is not how you build a country.”
Consider yet a second example, namely health: When questioned about Ontario’s health reform plans, Trudeau stated, “We have acted in the past when provinces have not aligned themselves with the Canada Health Act, and will ensure that every province follows the requirements of the Canada Health Act.” (Ottawa Citizen, Feb 8).
This is also clearly false. He (as well as his predecessors) has selectively enforced only certain parts of this federal law, namely prohibiting user fees and extra-billing. However, as persons in Papineau and especially West Quebec have likely discovered, their medical benefits have never been fully portable, although this is clearly required by of Section 11 of the CHA. When these Quebecers seek medical care in any other province, few physicians will accept their medicare care, Instead, they must pay out-of-pocket and wait weeks or months for partial reimbursement from the Quebec government
Trudeau voted in Ottawa last May and at the time acknowledged that he was now a legal resident of Ontario. Thus he almost certainly has a fully portable Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card – in contrast to his Papineau constituents. He claims to be concerned about possible jobs losses, but certainly not their health benefits supposedly guaranteed by federal law.
Regarding the credibility of Trudeau, the examples cited above bring to mind the Common Law principle, “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. – False in one thing, false in everything.”