The Donald is struggling, twisting and turning in the winds of feral politics– his family, and financial skeletons exposed and being rattled as a bright light is being shone on all things Trump. We marvel and tune in every night to be updated on the latest insanity.
Trump has been battling hard, in this “post-truth era”, where ridiculous statements are blended and bent into truths, where any factual examination is pushed aside in favour of the strident comment. Where objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
He has fired many, threatened to fire others, and has been tampering and belittling the Justice Department, the FBI and the Intelligence agencies in torrential bursts on Twitter. He has fired the head of the FBI for not showing “loyalty” to him and continues to pursue Special counsel Mueller and the Deputy head of the Department of Justice Rosenstein.
Yet, for all his shenanigans, he has not prevailed, the hounds are still at the gates. The Mueller investigation carries on, in secrecy, seemingly oblivious to the rants of their President. The resulting outcome has yet to be revealed, but it seems unlikely that Trump will come out unscathed. We can only hope that someone continues to keep him away from the nuclear codes.
The President of the United States has been stymied by both an independent and highly resistant judicial and investigative arms, and a highly mobilized 5th Estate. Freedom of the press is highly guarded in the U.S., supported and backed on many occasions by their most Supreme Court. Justices Black, Marshall, and Douglas wrote, in an infamous test in the courts concerning freedom of the press –” the courts lack the power to suppress any press publication no matter how grave a threat to security”
As much as we often dislike the Americans for their gung-ho bravado, their rights to bear arms, and their often fierce patriotism, one must have some admiration for their ability to pursue, once finally convinced of a wrong doing. No one is above the law, even the President himself. And this is not the first time, we don’t have to go back very far to Clinton and Nixon, both of whom went down for their indiscretions exposed by a media and subsequent judicial examination.
Which leads us to wonder what about Canada? We are a bland nation in comparison, which maybe good depending on one’s point of view. This is a nation which is complacent, its peoples often accused of feverishly pursuing the government pension rather than displaying an entrepreneurial spirit. We are slow to demand answers, more wanting to believe rather than disbelieve our leaders. The political fire and brimstone, often seen to the south of us, seems dramatically lacking in this country.
We never seem comfortable rocking the boat, we thrive in offering support, counselling, “moving forward” and “working together”. We are populated by the polyester crowd, both in dress and thought. Does this make us immune to bad and dangerous politicians like Trump? Do we have a swamp to drain, or are we in nirvana?
If our politicians were corrupt ; if our Prime Minister or some of his cohorts were doing something illegal; if our Prime Minister was trying to alter the Justice system in his or her political favour; would they be exposed? Would our 5th Estate be there, would they be asking the tough questions even under threat of being ostracized by their political leaders. Would our police and judicial arms swing into action?
There does not seem to be any reason for confidence.
Lets refresh our memories.
When the verdict was reached in the Colten Boushie case in Saskatchewan, both the Prime Minister and the Solicitor General of Canada were implicitly critical of the jury; as they sided with the indigenous voices of the day crying racism. They incorrectly scapegoated the pre-emptory juror challenges. Despite legal criticisms, they were undeterred in their wanting to assuage their indigenous constituency–so in the last month or so, the same Solicitor General has now put forward proposals to do away with those pre-emptory challenges. The Boushie family, when asked to comment, approved.
It seems clear that our elected leaders are not hesitant to interfere with the judicial system in order to further their political goals.
In a recent foreign affairs fiasco to India, Justin Trudeau ended up at the same party as Jaspal Atwal, a Canadian convicted of attempted murder in a terrorist style act, and was sidling up for the requisite selfies with both Justin and Sophie.
To explain away this breach of security, the PM put forward a senior government official, Daniel Jean, who not only explained some security measures, but went further and put out a conspiracy theory involving the Indian government. The conspiracy was vehemently denied by the Indian government and now does not seem to stand up to any kind of scrutiny.
The significant part in all of this was that this government official felt the need to assist in taking off the pressure off the Prime Minister. Was he put up to it?
Is it possible the Security and Intelligence group were trying to aid the PM? In the worst case scenario the PM office may have directed that this government official to put some spin on this story, throw out a little smoke screen.
Have we forgotten Senator Duffy , paid by the PM Harpers Executive assistant Nigel Wright, who used his own private funds to pay Duffy for what were believed to be fraudulent claims. Duffy was paid $90,000 to cover all the expenses he said he had claimed, and which he could now pay back, along with a promise to go easy on him.
Michael Cohen, paid off Stormy Danials with $130,000, on behalf of Trump. Is the Canadian version of Stormy Daniels Senator Mike Duffy? In typical Canadian fashion Duffy is now back in the Senate readying himself for collecting a government pension.
A two year inquiry into former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his connections to a German-Canadian arms lobbyist Karl Heinz-Schreiber found Mulroney accepted $225,000 in cash to hide the transactions. The inquiry summarized the wrong-doing by saying, in a typical Canadian spin, “these dealings do not reflect the highest standards of conduct”.
Mr. Mulroney’s daughter recently ran for the leadership of the Conservative party of Ontario.
The point of this historic review, is that the potential for wrong-doing in this country is a reality. This country is not immune. But we are not looking.
Our 5th Estate has been deeply wounded, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, CTV, and the smaller papers are burdened by decreasing budgets and are in a deathspin struggle to remain relevant and financially viable.
The CBC clearly has become an arm of the Liberal party, and have been rewarded by increases in their annual budgets. If you are not a believer, the extra money even comes with strings attached; that the CBC develop a 5 year “accountability plan”, with no details given or outlined what this involves.
So that leaves us with the police and the Department of Justice.
In a recent Globe and Mail article, the article notes that Commissioner Lucki has not given any media conferences since her appointment, but was busying herself with finding a home in Ottawa.
However, what was striking was one paragraph, where the author discovers that the government “has been preparing a mandate letter listing the goals she needs to meet in coming years”. It goes on to say that this is unusual, something usually done for the Minister of a particular portfolio, but in this instance “the Federal government wants to lay out exactly what Canadians can expect of their new top cop”.
The days of an independent and viable national police force seem to be rapidly disappearing. The Liberals have taken the step over the line, the line separating the state from the police.
The mandate of the RCMP is pretty obvious, enforce the laws as constituted.
The Commissioner represents the rank and file of the RCMP and the width and breadth of the investigational and operational policing across this country. In this time of proposed civilian oversight, these could prove to be dangerous times, given the nature of the current crop of politicians who seem to want to wrest control over the direction and scope of the National police force.
Ms. Lucki seems to have been chosen for her amenability to accept direction from the Liberals, one does not get the impression of her pounding the table to defend the rank and file, or standing up to possible governmental interference. Operational policing once again seems to be being pushed into the back seat.
Principals and scruples seem less apparent with our current Prime Minister as he frolics on the beach with Aga Khan. The Solicitor General seems unaware that it is ethically wrong to change the laws to cater to her core political base, a group for whom she once worked.
But no where in sight is anyone who seems concerned.
“What people fail to appreciate is that the currency of corruption in elective office is not money, but votes” – William F. Buckley.