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

Jesus, take the wheel, because the Liberals don’t have it

By Editorial      
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

If the Liberal Party is trying to turn the tide on this whole SNC-Lavalin thing, it’s not exactly rowing in the right direction.

Yes, that’s a mixed metaphor, and it’s just as dizzy as the strategy of the Prime Minister’s Office.

On March 25, a pair of outlets nearly simultaneously published separate reports based on anonymous sourcing that tensions began between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould back in 2017 over the issue of picking a new Supreme Court of Canada justice.

As the stories go, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench chief justice Glenn Joyal was Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s pick, which was then kiboshed by the prime minister, for reasons such as an apparent misalignment on views over the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Not knowing who CTV and the Canadian Press’ sources were, it’s open season for speculation on who pointed them in this direction. But the prevailing opinion (rightly or wrongly) seems to be that it was a PMO-led hit job on Ms. Wilson-Raybould, with some of the internet commentariat decrying it as a smear campaign to paint her as a secret Tory.

For her part, the former justice minister, when reached for comment, didn’t seem all that impressed, highlighting that the selection process for a Supreme Court judge includes “confidential” conversations with the prime minister.

“I do however find it extremely worrisome why you are even asking such questions and where you received any such information. Commentary/reporting in this regard with respect to a SCC appointment(s) could compromise the integrity of the appointments process and potentially sitting Justices,” she said in a statement to both CTV and CP.

Mr. Joyal’s side of the story wasn’t in either outlet’s original version of the story, but when it came later, he said he hadn’t been given ample time to respond, and that he actually had withdrawn his name from consideration in the face of his wife being diagnosed with cancer.

“I fear that someone is using my previous candidacy to the Supreme Court of Canada to further an agenda unrelated to the appointment process. This is wrong.”

Asked about the story on Tuesday, the prime minister wouldn’t answer questions from reporters in Winnipeg about where the information came from or even if it was true, saying only that “Canadians have confidence in the strength of our judiciary in this country.”

Penny Collenette, who served as Jean Chrétien’s director of appointments, called the situation “shockingly bad form” on Twitter, as it involved “extremely confidential information about applicants to the Supreme Court.”

Unless this story somehow came from the opposition in a bid to make the Liberals look bad, this is just another example of the government’s propensity to shoot itself in the foot at every possible opportunity.

Add to that the March 26 decision by the Liberal members of the Ethics Committee to close another door on this airing of grievances that will only seem to be done in a piecemeal fashion through news stories, and you have to wonder if there’s anybody who can be trusted to steer the ship.

Explore, analyze, understand
You Might Be From Canada If…
You Might Be From Canada If . . . is a delightful, illustrated romp through this country as it celebrates its 150th birthday.

Get the book
Inside Ottawa Directory – 2019 Edition
The handy reference guide includes: riding profiles, MPs by province, MP contact details, both Hill and constituency and more.

Get the book
Spinning History: A Witness to Harper’s Canada and 21st Century choices
An unvarnished look at the Harper years and what lies ahead for Canadians

Get the book

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.

Nearly 100 new MPs offer new face of Parliament, including 60 in flipped seats

In many ways the incoming Parliament looks quite similar to its predecessor, with 240 returning MPs, the same number of MPs who are Indigenous or a visible minority, and 10 more women.

Rise of advance voting raising questions about impact on, and of, campaigns: experts

Almost 4.8-million Canadians voted at advance polls this year, according to Elections Canada estimates, a roughly 30.6 per cent increase over 2015, accounting for roughly one-quarter of all ballots cast this election.

Watchdog’s proposed minority Parliament rules ‘appalling,’ says legal expert

News|By Mike Lapointe
Democracy Watch says Governor General should speak with all party leaders before deciding who can try forming government, but Emmett Macfarlane says the confidence convention is the linchpin of the parliamentary system.

McKenna may be moved to new cabinet role after four years implementing Grits’ climate policies, say politicos

News|By Neil Moss
Catherine McKenna's 'tenure in environment would have prepared her well for any other kind of responsibility the prime minister may assign,' says former environment minister Jean Charest.

‘They went with what they knew’: Politicos react to Election 43

'If anybody should've won a majority, it should've been Trudeau. He didn't, and it's his to wear,' says CBC columnist Neil Macdonald of the Oct. 21 election results.

‘A clear mandate’: Trudeau wins second term, with voters handing Liberals a minority

News|By Beatrice Paez
Though not improbable, his victory was not inevitable. It brings an end to a nail-biting, gruelling 40-day slog that has exposed deepening rifts across the country.

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.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.