Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott are far more than independent candidates running for election in Vancouver-Granville, British Columbia and Markham-Stouffville, Ontario.
Wilson-Raybould and Philpott aren’t the usual incarnation of political party endorsement-bereft wannabe’s. Each is a national powerhouse in her own right. Each until very recently a senior federal Liberal cabinet minister much crowed over by a Prime Minister insistent on reminding a national constituency of his feminist bona fides. It was not unusual for Justin Trudeau to point to Wilson-Raybould and Philpott as evidence of his grand plan for gender equality within the structure of his government.
Then the catastrophe. The Prime Minister of Canada stood accused of applying pressure on the sitting federal attorney general to engage with national prosecutors and forestall any criminal charges against Quebec construction and engineering giant SNC LAVALIN over the company’s alleged misbehaviour in Libya while that country was under the fist of dictator Muamar Gaddafi.
Trudeau’s accuser was, and remains, the calm and determined former attorney general herself, Jody Wilson-Raybould. Support arrived in the form of Treasury Board President Philpott, resigning from cabinet because “I must abide by my core values, my ethical responsibilities and constitutional obligations.” Ouch!
In order to remain in Trudeau’s cabinet Jane Philpott informed Canadians she would have to shelve her personal ethics and park her constitutional obligations. Could there be a more public condemnation of the personal ethics and lack of honouring constitutional obligations by the Prime Minister of Canada? Hardly.
Trudeau in turn appeared shaky, his story changing repeatedly. The Prime Minister’s facial expressions likened those of a ocean liner passenger about to reach for the institutional paper bag.
Justin Trudeau’s supporters have turned with vengeance on their erstwhile colleagues Wilson-Raybould and Philpott. Voters aren’t listening if national polling numbers reflect the public mood.
There’s talk of senior national Liberals already scouting a replacement for Justin Trudeau, should the party be forced to return to opposition benches.
Add the calamity of the cruelty directed toward Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, as yet again questions of a Trudeau manipulation were raised. Twice in the public arena the Prime Minister speculated the Admiral would be seeing the inside of a Canadian courtroom. On one occasion Trudeau declared this to be “inevitable.” Admiral Norman had not yet been criminally charged.
Was Trudeau’s speculation a transparent attempt to influence, even bully federal prosecutors to get moving with charging Norman?
The charge was laid but Canadians were having none of it. A Go-Fund-Me page, opened to assist the Admiral with legal costs, soared over the $400,000 mark by the time prosecutors issued a ‘no mas’ and stayed the indefensible charge.
No, indeed, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott are far from mere political hopefuls. They are a national force.
So what may be in the offing? An absolutely believable speculation suggests that should Trudeau lead the Liberal Party back to opposition on October 21, Jody Wilson-Raybould would almost immediately be invited to return to the Liberal fold to contest the inevitable party leadership race to follow.