The germ that ate their brains
By Jim Poling Sr
Published Feb. 28, 2019
Perhaps because of our northern latitude, or perhaps because we thought we had been vaccinated, we expected Canada to escape the epidemic.
Alas, we haven’t. It is here, perhaps swept in on wind shifts created by climate change. Or, maybe it came with the same cough or sneeze that started this winter’s measles outbreak.
Whatever, sadly its arrival has been confirmed by observers on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill.
P-BED, the clinical abbreviation for Political Brain Eating Disease, has been raging in much of the western world, notably the United States and Britain. Canada, however, appeared to be immune.
The Canadian economy was burbling along with a relatively stable employment rate. Its politics were calm compared with the Mad King disaster in the U.S, or the Brexit lunacy in the U.K.
Canada’s prime minister, the boy in long pants and rolled up shirt sleeves, was saying good things and gaining attention and respect in a world gone increasingly mad. All appeared to be . . . well, sensibly Canadian.
Then P-BED struck in the form of the SNC-Lavalin affair.
First came the humiliating demotion of Jody Wilson-Raybould from justice minister and attorney-general to veteran’s affairs minister. The prime minister said it was not a demotion. He had to move her because someone had resigned from cabinet, making a shuffle necessary.
Let me pause this narrative to say that as someone who did two journalistic tours of duty on Silly Hill, being removed from almost any other cabinet post and being sent to veterans affairs is a massive demotion. Anyone who has worked on the Hill knows that.
Not long after that, Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet. The prime minister said he could not understand why.
Then Gerald Butts, the prime minister’s principal secretary and close adviser and friend, resigned. There were allegations that senior officials in the prime minister’s office pressured Wilson-Raybould as attorney-general to shelve criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin, a leading global engineering firm from Quebec.
Butts said in his resignation letter that he did not pressure Wilson-Raybould. He did not give a reason for his resignation but tossed in this non sequitur: Our kids and grandkids will judge us all on one issue above all others – climate change.
That’s probably true, but what climate change has to do with his and Wilson-Raybould’s resignations, SNC-Lavalin and the prime minister’s odd statements on the whole mess is anyone’s guess. My guess is P-BED.
The most obvious manifestation of brain eating disease occurred last week when Michael Wernick, who as Clerk of the Privy Council is the country’s top bureaucrat, testified before the House of Commons justice committee.
Wernick admitted there was pressure put on Wilson-Raybould in the SNC-Lavalin affair but none of it was unlawful or inappropriate. He left the impression that she is to blame for much of the muddled controversy.
Sounding more like a politician than a bureaucrat he also said – completely off topic – that violent language is being used in public discourse and he fears someone will be shot during this fall’s federal election campaign.
Hopefully that bit of hysterics will not prompt some deranged person to go to an election rally with a gun. And, hopefully his comments on SNC-Lavalin will not encourage other bureaucrats to think they can get involved in partisan politics
Wernick’s delirium about a shooting was a political shot at Senator David Tkachuk, a Conservative, who earlier told the United We Roll protest caravan in Ottawa “to roll over every Liberal left in the country.”
That was a figure of speech made in the context of this fall’s federal election, Tkachuk said later.
The prime minister then jumped in to say that Wernick is brilliant and people should heed carefully what he says. Perhaps he wants Wernick to run for a seat in the election.
What people really need to heed is how to halt the spread of the brain eating disease raging in Ottawa. It will continue to spread as the SNC-Lavalin scandal develops and will worsen as the federal election campaign approaches.
All that we poor voters can do is watch election candidates closely and make sure they know how negative partisanship can eat their brains. Question them closely and confirm that they have been vaccinated.