In my last post I explained why the Con attack on SNC-Lavalin and its workers was going to cost them most of the few seats they have in Quebec.
And will almost certainly hand Justin Trudeau another majority.
Which needless to say would please me greatly, except for one thing. It would also doom the NDP, the party I have always voted for, to extinction in that province.
And now I have my NDP friends in Toronto, the ones who don't know Quebec, saying they don't understand how that could happen.
So this is what I tell them.
1) The NDP somehow failed to understand that Quebecers consider SNC-Lavalin a so-called heritage company. They are proud of the way it helped the province become the modern society it is today.
And the thought that 9,000 good Quebec jobs could be sacrificed by the Cons and the NDP for crass political purposes, makes them really angry.
Or just puzzled as you can see in this pundit round up.
Since the Globe and Mail published a report last week alleging the Prime Minister’s Office pushed Wilson-Raybould to help the company avoid prosecution, a chorus of voices in Quebec has sought to defend the Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, its importance to the provincial and national economy and the appropriateness of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desire to save some 8,600 Canadian jobs.
“I can’t help but wonder whether English Canada’s punditocracy would be as indignant if the prime minister’s office had seemingly been trying to save a Toronto- or Calgary-based multinational corporation instead of a Quebec one,” wrote Lise Ravary, in English, for the Montreal Gazette on Tuesday. “SNC-Lavalin is Canada’s largest engineering firm. Not just Quebec’s.”
2) The NDP failed to rein in the rabid partisan instincts of MPs like Nathan Cullen, who in his never-ending desire to destroy the Liberals, is always cuddling up to the Cons.
And making a spectacle out of himself.
Just like he did today at the Justice Committee.
Where he rejected any talk about a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, that could save all those jobs. At times appeared to be quivering with anger, or pent up toxic Trudeau rage.
And horrors of horrors seemed to be singing from the same songbook, or should I say prayer book, of the far right Con Michael Cooper...
Who made a monkey out of his position as co-chair of the committee,
(3) They failed to understand that there really is nothing sinister about the Trudeau government trying to save SNC-Lavalin.
What risks getting lost in the mess the Trudeau government may have created for itself is the need to distinguish between the crass politics and the sound policy principles that led the Trudeau government to include measures in its 2018 budget bill that allow Canadian companies to seek remediation agreements in the first place.
So they failed to appreciate, that the law can be an ass.
It is somewhat baffling that the director of public prosecutions chose to reject the company’s application for such a deal and opted to subject SNC-Lavalin to a potentially endless criminal proceeding that could sound its death knell.
Especially since SNC-Lavalin has worked hard to clean house.
It has taken extensive actions – overhauling its management, board and compliance procedures – to qualify under Ottawa’s remediation-agreement regime.
So seeking to punish a company for the actions of one or a handful of corrupt employees makes absolutely no sense.
In the case of SNC-Lavalin, this includes jeopardizing the very survival of an otherwise outstanding company, with 52,000 global and 9,400 Canadian employees, by depriving it of the ability to bid on federal contracts for a decade. Even if the company was acquitted – a strong possibility given the burden of proof – a lengthy trial would subject it to years of uncertainty, with considerable fallout.
And at a time when the company is already weakened.
A long trial, and a ten year ban could finish it off, for no sane reason.
It’s too bad the mess in Ottawa now risks souring public opinion on a worthy policy. It could cost the country a global engineering champion.
And also finish off the NDP...
You know, there's a statue of Jack Layton down by the Toronto waterfront where I live.
I pass by it almost every day, and sometimes when it's really cold I put a scarf on him, or a tuque.
And these days I feel sorry for Jagmeet Singh, and can almost hear him asking "Jack, Jack what went wrong?"
Just like I can almost see Layton showing him this:
Today, the Ethics Commissioner has agreed to the request by New Democrats to investigate PM Trudeau’s #SNCLavalin scandal. Canadians deserve answers to what exactly happened in this apparent breach of trust by the Prime Minister's Office: https://t.co/s4MimRELxo— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) February 11, 2019
And then asking " But where are the people, the ones who are about to lose their jobs and their families? You know the workers."
"And doesn't that last picture look familiar?"
But of course Jack can't talk, he died a long time ago.
And now sadly, in Quebec, it's the NDP's turn....