Diane Francis: The two ex-ministers are simply the latest, and highest profile, victims of the dirty little secret that governs Canada
April 22, 2019
It was no coincidence that the current unravelling of the Liberal party was caused by the principled objections regarding SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. by two political newcomers against a concerted attempt to subvert justice.
It is also no coincidence that both were female and both from outside the Quebec-Ottawa power centre that has controlled postwar Canada for generations.
Clearly, they failed to realize the party’s lengthy tenure in Ottawa is based on putting all things Quebec or Liberal above everything else. Instead, they collided with this coven of Liberal civil servants, corporations, media sympathizers, law firms, lobbyists, and caucus colleagues who salute first and never ask questions.
Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, both women of immense talent and merit before entering “public life,” were crushed and spat out for the crime of not understanding what they were a part of.
They are simply the latest, and highest profile, victims of the dirty little secret that governs Canada. The country’s federal government, civil service, regulated industries, Crown corporations and its surrounding infrastructure of law firms, public and government relations outfits, are populated with people who went to the same schools and grew up in Quebec, Ottawa, or Rosedale.
Canada, in other words, is run by an elite who crush and spit out whoever breaks ranks or their code of omerta, or silence.
This is nothing new, nor is the building backlash. Every so often the Liberals are defeated in elections, but they leave behind unscathed unelected Liberals in crony appointments. These people move in and out as advisers, consultants, deputy ministers, Senators, Crown corporations, directors, bank bigshots, or CEOs of government agencies as well as regulated corporations, dependent on Ottawa.
Electing Tories to run provinces or as Prime Minister helps drain the swamp, but major reforms must be put in place and left behind. The Raybould-Philpott situation illustrates this very well. If former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had not created a legislative ring-fence around the Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor due to past scandals, the Liberals would have ridden roughshod over the justice system.
Opposition parties are critical to fixing a country that will never realize its potential as long as cronyism flourishes. Top officials in government, Crown corporations, or agencies should be vetted for conflicts, relationships, financial connections, and partisanship. There should be a five or ten year, not a two-year, cooling off period before government employees can join the private sector.
Most importantly, equalization payments should be renegotiated to eliminate the existing and unjust benefit to Quebec, and the ban on oil tankers on the West coast should be scrapped because there’s none on the East coast. Most importantly, the federal government must remove barriers to entry against most of Canada by lifting bilingualism as a primary criterion for hiring and advancement.
Only 17.5 per cent of the populace are proficient in both official languages. As Ottawa Citizen commentator Randall Denley wrote: “The federal government wants to hire thousands of millennials to rejuvenate the public service. This attempt to attract the best and brightest is laudable, but it’s not going to happen as long as the government continues to regard bilingualism as a primary criterion for hiring and advancement…The government must make a choice. Does it want the best people or the best bilingual people?”
Beyond the scandal, the truth is that, as currently constituted, Canada is not a meritocracy, but a parochial place run by cronies who keep out others and act as though they own it.
Over the course of the last two weeks, two university presidents have issued strong rebukes of attempts by activist students to fire or silence high-profile university professors with whom they ideologically disagree. Last Tuesday, the president of George Mason University issued a statement to the students calling for the firing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh informing them that while it may be “painful” to some of them, standing behind their three-year contract with Kavanaugh as a teacher is “very, very important for the integrity of the university.” A few days earlier, the president of the Unversity of the Arts told activists that they would not be allowed to “suppress” free speech on his campus by ousting long-time faculty member and famous “anti-feminist feminist” Camille Paglia.
Paglia has come under fire from her fellow progressives for pushing back against the transgender and #MeToo movements, resulting in a student-led petition for her to be fired by the University of the Arts (UArts). But in an open letter to students, faculty, and staff posted on April 10, UArts President David Yager made painfully clear that the activists weren’t going to be allowed to silence Paglia (h/t John Sexton).
Yager begins by “re-affirm[ing] the University’s core values, and our commitment to rigorous critical inquiry in support of our mission of Advancing Human Creativity”: “Our core value on integrity and diversity is clear: we are a supportive community committed to individual and artistic integrity and inclusion,” he states. “We promote and respect self-expression, a wide range of ideas and diversity in all its forms.”
That core value, he suggests, is under pressure by the increasing lack of civility in debate and by those who seek to “suppress” speech with which they disagree. “Unfortunately, as a society we are living in a time of sharp divisions—of opinions, perspectives and beliefs—and that has led to decreased civility, increased anger and a ‘new normal’ of offense given and taken,” he writes. “Across our nation it is all too common that opinions expressed that differ from another’s—especially those that are controversial—can spark passion and even outrage, often resulting in calls to suppress that speech.”
But, Yager stresses, that “simply cannot be allowed to happen.”
“I firmly believe that limiting the range of voices in society erodes our democracy,” he continues. “Universities, moreover, are at the heart of the revolutionary notion of free expression: promoting the free exchange of ideas is part of the core reason for their existence.”
Yager then underscores the importance of defending the “open interchange of opinions and beliefs” and “fostering a climate conducive to respectful intellectual debate that empowers and equips our students to meet the challenges they will face in their futures.” These values, he suggests, are particularly important in art schools.
“Artists over the centuries have suffered censorship, and even persecution, for the expression of their beliefs through their work,” he writes. “My answer is simple: not now, not at UArts.”
“Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ 1927 advice still holds true today: that the remedy for messages we disagree with or dislike is more speech and not enforced silence,” Yager adds. The school must defend free speech while also promoting civil speech and showing “respect for others and the value of civil discourse.” (Read the full letter here.)
Islam does not mean peace..Islam means submission. Islam and Liberty cannot co-exist, Islam and freedom of thought, enquiry, art, music cannot co-exist.. Islam seeks domination. Peace is only achievable in Islamic thought when the world submits to Islam….
Arwen~ The ball was clearly dropped by those in government and that ineptness has to be addressed. However, let’s keep our eyes fixed on the fact that the Islamic terrorists are the bad guys here and without them, and their wicked plot to take out as many innocents as possible, there would have been no mass murders in the first place.
Arwen~ A must read! Excerpt- “The lights are going out on the most basic of journalistic instincts: Who, what, when, where, why. All are subordinate to the Narrative – or Official Lie. “
Let’s say a fire breaks out at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris at the start of Holy Week, and just after two of the city’s other most prominent houses of worship – St Sulpice and the Basilica of St Denis – have been attacked and vandalized.
Well, I think we can all confidently say as the first flames are beginning to lick the ceiling that it’s undoubtedly an accident. Cigarette butt. Or maybe computer glitch. Probably just an overheated smart phone. We don’t need to get in there and sift through the debris. We can just announce it.
On the other hand, when there are coordinated attacks on Easter services at several churches in Sri Lanka, it becomes a little more challenging to pass off multiple suicide-bombings killing nearly three hundred people as an electrical malfunction.
So, in contrast to the confident declarations of a week ago, on Sunday morning the media opted for a subtler narrative. Lead sentence from The Economist:
IT HAS BEEN nearly ten years since the guns fell silent in Sri Lanka’s civil war. But bloodshed returned with a vengeance…
So it’s something to do with the Tamil Tigers? Their guns fell silent, but now they’ve returned with a vengeance, eh?
Well, er, no, er, not, ah, precisely… But it’s useful for “context”, lots and lots of context. And, if you pile up enough context, you can bury the actual story. My old chums at The Age in Melbourne produced an especially fine example:
Colombo: More than 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in eight bomb blasts that rocked churches, luxury hotels and other sites in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday – the deadliest violence the South Asian island country has seen since a bloody civil war ended a decade ago.
Ah, there’s that bloody civil war flaring up all over again, right?
Steady on. We’re not quite saying that, but it’s important to know the historical background and so forth…
The scale of the bloodshed recalled the worst days of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, in which the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group from the ethnic Tamil minority, sought independence from the Buddhist-majority country. The Tamils are Hindu, Muslim and Christian.
So it’s a Hindu-Muslim-Christian attack on churches and hotels?
Er, not exactly. We’re still doing ten paragraphs of general throat-clearing here…
Sri Lanka, situated off the southern tip of India, is about 70 per cent Buddhist. While there have been scattered incidents of anti-Christian harassment in recent years, there has been nothing on the scale of what happened on Sunday.
So it’s part of a tradition of Buddhists’ anti-Christian harassment?
Well, these Buddhists are notoriously “hard-line”…
There is also no history of violent Muslim militants in Sri Lanka. However, tensions have been running high more recently between hard-line Buddhist monks and Muslims.
So the hard-line Buddhists attacked the churches to get at the non-hard-line Muslims?
Whoops, did we give you the impression Muslims had something to do with this? Our mistake…
Two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka condemned the church attacks…
Religious Minorities Across Asia Suffer Amid Surge in Sectarian Politics
Gotcha. This is all part of a general problem of various unspecified religions in unspecified countries suffering in a general sort of way. But could you be a little less general and more specific?
Okay. Opening paragraphs:
The deadly attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday highlighted how easily religious coexistence can be ripped apart in a region where secularism is weakening amid the growing appeal of a politics based on ethnic and sectarian identity.
In India, the country’s governing right-wing Hindu party is exploiting faith for votes, pushing an us-versus-them philosophy that has left Muslims fearing they will be lynched if they walk alone.
In Myanmar, the country’s Buddhist generals have orchestrated a terrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
And in Indonesia and Bangladesh, traditionally moderate Muslim politicians are adopting harder-line stances to appeal to more conservative electorates.
So Hindus are attacking Muslims, and Buddhists are attacking Muslims, and “hard-line” Muslims are attacking moderate Muslims. Thank God for some clarity on the situation. But what were all these Muslims doing in church on Easter morning?
Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination, so there were many western victims of yesterday’s attack, including young ones: from an eleven-year-old English boy and a ten-year-old Australian girl to three of the four children of Denmark’s wealthiest man, retail billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen. Yet throughout Sunday the UK, Aussie, Danish and the rest of the world’s media saw their job as thorough obfuscation of the truth. I heard about yesterday’s attack from the BBC, which had extensive rolling coverage with correspondents on the ground – and yet seemed mainly to be trying to tell us as little as possible. A lady think-tanker from Chatham House was keen to focus on the brutality with which the Sri Lankan government had ended the Tamil insurgency a decade ago: a fascinating topic no doubt, but utterly irrelevant to the mound of Christian corpses in Colombo that morning. In the entire hour, hers was the only mention of Islam – when she cautioned that it would be grossly irresponsible and “Islam-phobic” even to bring up the subject.
She didn’t really need to spell that out, did she? It used to be said that ninety per cent of news is announcing Lord Jones is dead to people who were entirely unaware that Lord Jones was ever alive. Now the trick is to announce Lord Jones is dead and ensure that people remain entirely unaware of why he is no longer alive. One senses that a line was crossed in yesterday’s coverage. As one of our Oz Steyn Club members, Kate Smyth, put it, the media have advanced from dhimmitude to full-blown taqiyya.
The lights are going out on the most basic of journalistic instincts: Who, what, when, where, why. All are subordinate to the Narrative – or Official Lie. All day yesterday and into today, if you had glanced at the telly, switched on the radio or surfed the big news sites of the Internet, you would have thought the Tamil Tigers were back “with a vengeance”, as The Economist put it – even though with one exception (the 1990 police massacre) the death toll was higher than any individual attack the Tigers had ever pulled off.
Meanwhile, back in that fast shrinking space known as the real world, from the very first hours the headline of this story was completely straightforward:
Islamic Suicide Bombers Slaughter Three Hundred on Easter Morning