A Shrug of the Shoulders

Justin Trudeau has a lot of questions to answer. So do Canadian voters

JUSTIN TRUDEAU IS the Prime Minister of Canada, though his life and work prior to his coronation had garnered him very few qualifications for that or any other highly paid, high-profile job. I don’t say that in spite, it is simply a plain statement of fact.

It is at least partially countered by the fact he was elected by a plurality of voting Canadians, whose wisdom in making such a choice in a democracy is held to be innately sound. So, say what you like about Mr. Trudeau, he is legally and legitimately our Prime Minister.

Thanks, one assumes, to his father’s impact on the hearts and minds of many Canadians (because there was nothing on his resume to warrant it except his DNA), when young Trudeau threw his hat into the ring Liberal diehards of every stripe rallied round the flag. They managed to transfer their enthusiasm for de père en fils to enough voters to rack up 39.5% of the vote, sufficient to win in our multi-party system.

What has shocked me is the way even many of the PM’s supporters reacted. Not with surprise or even outrage, but with a shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that “they all do it.”

None of which I mention to denigrate the younger Trudeau. He won fair and square, and his supporters continue to back his government.

That made it all the more interesting to me how many voices were lifted in quiet condemnation of him when the news broke that he was being accused of trying to influence the then-Justice Minister and Attorney General in a criminal case against a large Liberal corporate sponsor, the international SNC-Lavalin corporation. Not just opposition voices, but many friends of mine who have been life-long Liberals.

Like many, I have been waiting for the first public testimony of former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who confirmed she was pressured by not only the Prime Minister’s office but by several other Liberal bigwigs, including the PM himself.

“I sought to serve as Attorney General above partisan politics” she testified under oath, continuing, “I hope and expect the facts speak for themselves. This pressure or political interference to intervene was inappropriate. Canadians can judge for themselves.”

My concern as I write this is not whether she is telling the truth, nor if the PM is correct when he denies having had any hand in such attempted (and highly illegal) strong-arming of a Minister of the Crown. What has shocked me is the way even many of the PM’s supporters reacted. Not with surprise or even outrage, but with a shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that “they all do it.” Some have even taken that tack to defend the PM’s as-yet-unproven actions.

Our American cousins have taken “guilty until proven innocent” to historically-high levels in their Republic, as seen in the anti-Trump derangement of many politicians, media types and activists that extends even to ordinary people wearing hats bearing the slogan “Make America Great Again”. Surely, we in Canada could have done better?

I don’t know if the PM is guilty of anything other than riding on someone else’s political coattails, and even if it turns out he is, surely judgement should be reserved by all reasonable people until that is decisively determined. And please spare me the “Yippee! Trudeau’s Going to Jail!” bushwah that is already being put about by his enemies. We are a long way from that potential outcome, whatever may transpire in the meantime, and JT deserves the presumption of innocence as much as anyone, however you might feel about him as an individual. A Shrug of the Shoulders  Columns Jim Chapman

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