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….