Right in the centre - Misguided leadership


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

At the time of this writing, the SNC-Lavalin scandal is looking a lot like a sinkhole for the Trudeau Liberal federal government. As this column is being put together, two women cabinet ministers have resigned, namely, Jody Wilson-Reybould and Jane Phillpott. I mention they are women cabinet ministers, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made such a special mention of having a large number of women in his cabinet. At the get-go, that was a mistake. Appointing them was not the mistake, but to point out that they were women was. As soon as a politician gets into quota politics, it is assumed that the quota is the qualification and not the skill-set the appointee may have. Trudeau was willing to boast that he appointed women, so now that he is losing women cabinet ministers, he can wear equal amounts of shame upon their departure.

Trudeau has been called a feminist prime minster, but as soon as he lays claim to that status, he minimizes the stature of his appointees.

Electing, hiring or appointing needs to be based solely on ability, not on gender and that is something Trudeau has missed completely. He would have been far better off to say he appointed the best and the brightest and shut his mouth about whether X percentage were women. I have no doubt that there is every likelihood that Trudeau’s cabinet was the best and brightest available, but to play the gender quota card was a big mistake.

So, now the women who were touted as being both bright and women, have now shown that they are not only bright, but have integrity too. Ministers Jody Wilson-Reybould and Jane Phillpott have resigned and for the same reasons. They won’t stand for bullying by a prime minister, be he male, a feminist, a Liberal or whatever. Don’t mess with bright people who have integrity. It might be said that Trudeau is proving that while he may be a Liberal, he is not necessarily very bright, nor does he appear to have integrity.

What Justin Trudeau fails to understand is that no matter if SNC-Lavalin might lose projects over this scandal, or that the specially crafted protection laws have been hidden in the books, some people will not stand for special treatment for bad behaving companies.

The other thing that Trudeau doesn’t understand is that if SNC-Lavalin goes broke, or goes away or, moves to England, the work will still get done and possibly even by Canadian companies that want to have less to do with graft, bribery, corruption and prostitutes. They just might not be in Quebec and be big donors to the Trudeau family foundation.

Trudeau should not survive this scandal. It is not the first scandal, but it is one of the worst. It may not be the last, but the strong stand taken by Jody Wilson-Reybould and Jane Phillpott puts us closer to the hope that scandals will be less frequent. As of March 4, the spin doctors, both the voluntary ones and the hired ones, are out in full force saying that SNC-Lavalin could or should be given special treatment. Special treatment is not what’s needed, integrity and justice is what’s needed. Jody Wilson-Reybould and Jane Phillpott have provided the integrity, let’s see if the government has the courage to let the courts supply the justice.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.