Saturday , 3 June 2023
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Should have just said no

Justin Trudeau, for the second time in two days, said that in retrospect he should have recused himself from cabinet discussion of the plans to award a contract for a $900 Million student volunteer grant program to WE Charity. But suppose he had recused himself? If, as he insists, it was the recommendation of the bureaucracy to award the contract to WE and the deal had gone through, would anybody believe that the PM hadn’t influenced the decision in some way? Not likely. Its hard to believe that wily senior civil servants, risk averse as they are, would recommend sole-sourcing the contract to an organization so publicly identified with the Trudeau’s. If anybody should get thrown under the bus, it would be a senior public servant so obtuse as to not see the red flags in awarding this contact. Would his chief of staff Katie Telford not have seen the bad optics that would almost certainly ensue by signing up WE for this job? Or is it case of everybody pussyfooting around Trudeau, afraid to tell him what should have been obvious. Its naïve of Trudeau to think that none of this would have happened if he had simply recused himself. As qualified as WE may have been to administer the file, and even that is in doubt, there was simply no way this government, this Prime Minister could award this contract without it looking like a rigged deal. As for the Kielburgers, they are seeing their organization crumble along with their personal reputations as corporate sponsors flee, and contracts dry up. In three weeks the Conservatives will have a new leader. If it should be Peter MacKay, he will have an opportunity to re-brand the party in a more progressive light. With the Trudeau star greatly diminished from the sunny days of 2015; next year, as Margo Channing once said, promises to be a bumpy ride politically.

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