MARIN: PM sinks to new low by using Canada Day to push Liberal brand
July 6, 2019
July 6, 2019 6:54 PM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada July 1, 2019. Patrick Doyle / Reuters
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has transformed the federal government into the most partisan one in recent memory, if not the history of Canada.
Trudeau’s speech on Canada Day marked one of the lowest points in pushing the Liberal brand. It’s as if he borrowed a page from U.S. President Donald Trump’s playbook, turning what should have been a unifying, stately address into a cheap political attempt to score political points six months before the election.
Trudeau said: “This year, we have a lot to celebrate. In the last four years, Canadians have created more than a million new jobs. The unemployment rate is at its lowest since the 1970s. And across the country, 825,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty.”
Three days later, on his country’s Independence Day, Trump was engaging in the same kinds of crass politics, rebranding the day A Salute to America, which was more like a salute to Trump politics, replete with tanks and other military hardware. It looked more like a Trump political rally, with VIP seats reserved for republican donors, than a dignified affair.
Meanwhile, last week CBC broke the news story that five out of the last six judicial appointments by the federal government in New Brunswick were buddies with former cabinet minister and MPP Dominic Leblanc. Apparently, it only costs $400 to get a $314,400 job until you’re 75 years old with the best gold-plated pension plan in the country.
That’s the amount three of the judges contributed to paying down Leblanc’s $31,000 debt incurred in his failed bid to run for leadership of the Liberal party. To be fair, they are also in the books for making multiple donations to the Liberal party after that. It’s like paying an extra premium on an insurance policy to ensure you get the big prize.
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And these appointments are not isolated incidents.
To really make sure appointments are given to good, friendly Liberals, the Prime Minister’s Office runs applicants through a private party database — appropriately named Liberalist — so that only the faithful get ahead.
It’s no surprise that 1,187 contributions were matched to 83 judges, according to a Globe and Mail report that also stated, “90.4% of all judges who made donations, gave to the Liberal party or its candidates.”
Trudeau’s reaction was lame.
“We have a merit-based, transparent appointment system,” he said. “We are pleased that we have nominated top-notch judges right across the country — and we will continue to.”
He should have added: As long as they are Liberal donors.
The politicization of the government doesn’t limit itself to Canada Day speeches or the judiciary.
Not so long ago, we witnessed Michael Wernick, Canada’s top bureaucrat, testify before a House of Commons committee giving an over-the-top partisan rendition of how he manhandled former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, wrestling her to get a deferred prosecution agreement.
For good measure, along the line he lavished with praise Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett even though she had nothing to do with the matter at hand.
After a public outcry, Wernick left his post.
The current state of the federal government is a far cry from what we were promised during the 2015 election. Trudeau promised politics done differently.
Perhaps Ontario Liberal interim leader John Fraser, who appears completely out of his depth, should have a sit-down with Trudeau.
Fraser is trying to manufacture a scandal out of a handful of patronage appointments handed out by Premier Doug Ford’s former chief of staff Dean French. All the appointments were rescinded by Ford and French was fired.
No such luck with the Liberal judges. They’re there for life.
Merit-based appointments were a cornerstone of the Liberal platform — something to remember in the upcoming October election.