Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Ministers are clearly showing contempt for Canadian voters and the Canadian Parliament. In December, the PM and his family took a trip to a private island owned by billionaire the Aga Khan billing Canadian taxpayers $100,000+ to pay for the trip. Talk about an attitude of entitlement! As a result, the whole matter is being investigated by the Ethics Commissioner.
Then, recently, we heard that Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan exaggerated his war record in Afghanistan in a speech he gave in India on April 18, 2017 when he claimed that he was “the” architect of Operation Medusa. In fact, this exaggerated claim was made before in a CBC interview in 2015. (See also this Google search page for videos of that earlier interview.) So, how was it only a mistake this time?
Anyway, you would think that both of them would be more than ready to set the record straight in Question Period. Yes, apologize but pay the consequences as well. In Sajjan’s case, by resigning. In the PM’s case, by paying the travel expenses out of his own pocket.
Yet, when asked questions on those matters this week, both used robotic non-answers that showed nothing but contempt for their questioners and Parliament itself. Sad really, But, as a former professor, if I were grading the Trudeau Liberals, using their own criteria regarding transparency and accountability, I would have to give them an “F” for failure.
(1) Prime Minister Trudeau was asked how many times he has met with the Ethics Commissioner regarding his December 2016 trip to the private island of the Aga Khan.
- His first reply: “Mr. Speaker, as you know, I am always pleased to work with the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner to answer any questions she may have.”
- Asked a second time: “Mr. Speaker, as I have always said, I am very pleased to meet with the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner and work with her to answer any questions she may have on this subject or any other.”
- Asked a third time: “Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to work with the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner to answer any questions she may have. That is what Canadians expect of the prime minister and that is exactly what I am doing.”
(2) Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was asked why he claimed he was the architect of Operation Medusa in Afghanistan — when he was not.
- His first reply: “I in no way intended to diminish the great work that our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces have done, and their superiors, and I am truly sorry for it.”
- Asked a second time: “Mr. Speaker, I am not here to talk about my service record. I am here to apologize for my mistake and to be able to learn from it.”
- Asked a third time: “Mr. Speaker, I am not here to talk about my service record. I am here to apologize for my mistake and to be able to learn from it.”
And, on and on it goes and we are not even half way through the Liberals’ four year mandate. The crux of the matter is that the PM and Sajjin’s responses show contempt, not only for the voters who gave the Liberals a majority government, but for Parliament itself. What Sajjin did was certainly a “mistake” as both he and the PM claimed, but it was more than that as well– especially since it was the second time he made the “mistake.” Meaning, from the get-go, it was a lie. As for the PM’s contempt, billing more than $100,000 to the taxpayers for his family’s deluxe trip showed a complete lack of judgement.