Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Opinion

Caesar-Chavannes did the right thing

By Sheila Copps      

Celina Caesar-Chavannes left the Liberal caucus after publicly challenging the character of the leader. Her two former cabinet colleagues should follow suit.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes, pictured in this file photograph on the Hill, left the Liberal caucus last week and will sit as an Independent. The Hill Times file photograph
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

OTTAWA—Celina Caesar-Chavannes did the right thing. She left the Liberal caucus after publicly challenging the character of the leader.

Her two former cabinet colleagues should follow suit. In defending her decision, Caesar-Chavannes showed some insight into how her actions might have caused some damage to the Liberal Party.

She said she was leaving because she did not want to cause any more “grief’ to her constituents, especially those who were strong Liberal supporters.

The rookie Member of Parliament declined to comment on whether she had patched things up with the leader.

But at least she is on the outside looking in, which is where the other two should be.

There is a difference among the three, and therein lies the rub.

Caesar-Chavannes has already announced that she has no intention of running in the next election. The other two both plan to run as Liberals while they are doing their best to damage the leader.

Jane Philpott kept the anti-Liberal rhetoric going with an accusatory interview to Maclean’s magazine.

Jody Wilson-Raybould sent out a 684-word manifesto on why she would be seeking re-election “currently” as a Liberal.

That is the only time she mentions the dreaded L-word.

We all know Wilson-Raybould chooses her words carefully. She does not always tell the whole story, as when she neglected to mention the prime minister’s offer of a cabinet switch to the Ministry of Indigenous Services.

So why would she qualify her Liberal standing with the adverb “currently”? The dictionary defines the word as “at the current time.” That leaves the door wide open for her to switch sides.

Several weeks ago, I wrote that her father had referenced Wilson-Raybould’s potential to take down the government and replace Justin Trudeau.

My viewpoint was skewered in the Twitterverse. One virulent critic is Warren Kinsella, a political operative and former Liberal staffer who has a hate-on for Trudeau.

Kinsella accused me of acting as a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office. I tweeted him directly, seeking a retraction, which never came.

But Kinsella’s own cyber presence is revelatory.

He has set up a petition to collect names and emails of all those Canadians who supported the former attorney general and tweets virulent anti-Trudeau messages on a regular basis.

The government was hoping the budget would be a channel-changer on the damaging internal fighting that has cost the prime minister and the caucus dearly.

Wilson-Raybould needs media oxygen to keep her name in lights.

She needs to stay in caucus to keep this drama going.

By refusing to resign, they both prove their motives are not so pure as those of Caesar-Chavannes.

In an open letter to constituents, Wilson-Raybould made some stunningly sophomoric generalizations. Referring to constituents she writes, “You are the true leaders who reject the increasing culture of conflict, empty partisanship, and cynical games that are far too common, and you are committed to building a culture of ever greater collaboration, truth-seeking, and principled service for the well-being of Canada and all Canadians.”

However, she makes no mention of who is actually creating this culture of conflict, empty partisanship, and cynical games.

The only conflict she has claimed is with the prime minister, his staff, and former Privy Council colleagues.

So how does she square the “cynicism and empty partisanship” claim with her stated desire to run for the Liberals?

If the top job is the former minister’s endgame, Wilson-Raybould needs the Liberal Party more than the party needs her.

Sheila Copps is a former Jean Chrétien-era cabinet minister and a former deputy prime minister. 

The Hill Times 

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

McKenna wins re-election in Ottawa Centre, trumpets voters’ support for climate fight

News|By Neil Moss
'I’m so relieved,' Catherine McKenna said, about continuing with the Liberal climate change plan.

Election 2019 was a ‘campaign of fear,’ say pollsters

'There may well be a message to this to the main parties, that slagging each other will only take you so far,' says Greg Lyle.

Election 2019 campaign one of the most ‘uninspiring, disheartening, and dirtiest’ in 40 years, says Savoie

News|By Abbas Rana
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she has never seen an election where mudslinging overwhelmingly dominated the campaign, leaving little or no time for policy discussion.

Strategic voting to determine if Liberals will form government, say political players

News|By Abbas Rana
As many as nine per cent of progressive voters could vote strategically in this close election potentially affecting the outcome in more than 100 ridings, says Innovative Research president Greg Lyle.

Turkish offensive should pressure feds to act on repatriation of Canadian citizens in Kurdish-controlled ISIS detention camps, says expert

News|By Neil Moss
The issue of repatriation will be less politically fraught after the election, says expert.

Business tops experience among 2019 candidates, one-third have run for office before

Here’s an analysis of the record 1,700-plus candidates running for the six major parties this election.

Pod save us all: the growing role of political podcasts in election 2019

News|By Mike Lapointe
The Hill Times spoke with some podcast hosts taking a deeper dive into the political nitty-gritty, within a medium that only continues to grow in popularity.

No-shows from Conservative candidate could hurt party’s chances in tight Kanata-Carleton race, say politicos

News|By Palak Mangat
The Conservative's candidate, Justin McCaffrey, has skipped two events, including a debate on the environment, intended to feature all candidates.

For whom will the bell toll in Peterborough-Kawartha?

In a riding where voters are deeply engaged in the political process, candidates avoid the low-hanging fruit and stay out of the mud as they grapple with who to send to the House of Commons.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.