Stephen Harper’s 2015 part is still very much unsettled and as we have just learned, events off the Parliamentary stage will largely define that role.
Julian Fantino shows no contrition, only combativeness and a talent for reading talking points in the House of Commons.
An institution that can’t find a way out of this mess has only itself to blame for the perception under which it now labours.
When all is said and done, the grim political fate that Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews have incurred for their alleged sins will go a longer way to deter future Parliamentary offenders than any after-the-fact remedy.
Few are more vulnerable to allegations of personal misconduct than elected politicians and there has long been an implicit gentlemen’s agreement (pun intended) between the parties to deal with such matters under the radar. Until now.
I’d like to think that the neighbourhood will be back, that the shortcut across the War Memorial will be routine and the greetings of the security guards will be the same, but once fear invades the neighbourhood, it feels like it will never be the same again.
When independence does erupt in the Commons, indecision is sometimes confessed and MPs can veer from party lines on principle, without being branded mavericks or sparking a media feeding frenzy.
It is not that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau necessarily chose the wrong camp, but having picked a side in the most sensitive policy debate to have come his way since becoming leader, he then failed to distinguish himself in action.
Ezra Levant sparked a boycott of Sun News by Trudeau. Paul Calandra had faced days of criticism and appears to have been taken to the woodshed by his boss. Justin Trudeau was facing a demand for an apology by the ambassador, among others.
Federal lessons cannot always be gleaned from provincial experience, but New Brunswick parallels were too enticing to ignore.
Worse than the troubling conclusions of the likes of Graham Steele, Brent Rathgeber and others is the fact that while they don’t lack for ideas to fix Parliamentary democracy, all doubt that the impetus for reform is strong enough to break down the systemic barriers to change. And on that score they have a point.
The Prime Minister may have a number of perfectly legal reasons to testify, but should he do so, he loses, Duffy wins and the Senator sleeps soundly in the political world in which they both live.
Maybe it’s just more talk with familiar names. But when some of our former leaders decide that this issue still deserves their efforts, only the most cynical would not listen. And if they can force this dialogue onto the agenda in a federal election year, we all benefit.
This is a government determined to bring its brand of law and order to this country, whether it is cracking down on bogus refugee claimants, giving police more surveillance powers, bringing in mandatory sentencing, ending early parole or always going the extra mile to bring down the hammer in the name of victims’ rights.
The voting trends are the only real numbers we have—they are not crowd counts, or Question Period performance, fawning local coverage in small towns or even fundraising numbers.
Do you wonder how a three-term incumbent party manages to swim against the tide for change, even as it is dragging some pretty heavy scandal-related baggage?
The goal of maximizing voter participation is worthwhile, but what if it is being pursued at the cost of short-circuiting the due process that should lead to as informed an electoral verdict as possible?