/Who will WE always be?

Who will WE always be?

By Jim Poling Sr.

Published March 7, 2019

seems ludicrous that any political moment these days could make you
proud to be a Canadian. But there was one last week when pride swelled
in my chest.
came watching Jody Wilson-Raybould, Vancouver Liberal member of
Parliament, testify before the House of Commons justice committee about
her role in the SNC-Lavalin affair. Wilson-Raybould is the former
justice minister and attorney-general demoted to veterans affairs
minister, a portfolio she resigned soon after.
appeared before the committee the same day that Michael Cohen, former
Trump fixer, appeared before Congress in Washington to call President
Trump a con man, a cheat and a racist. 
was yet another bitter, snowy winter day, so I flopped in front of the
television and flipped between the Canadian and U.S. hearings. It was
educational to see the sharp differences.
Congressional hearing presumably was held to sweat Cohen for
information that might help determine whether President Trump did or did
not collude with Russia and obstruct justice. In fact, it was just
another political cockfight staged to win fans, also known as voters.
were few serious attempts to dig out real facts – certainly none by
bullying Republican supporters of the president. It was a political
circus of pathetic clowns and barking seals. 
media reports compared it to the television drama The Sopranos. More
frightening, it prompted a flashback to historical reports about the
collapse of  Congress during the lead up to the U.S. Civil War.
in Ottawa, Wilson-Raybould testified there was consistent and sustained
pressure from the prime minister and others to have her shelve
prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, the Quebec engineering firm facing
corruption charges.  
prime minister worried that following through with prosecution would
hurt the company and lead to job losses, which would be bad for the
economy. The prime minister’s office wanted a Deferred Prosecution
Agreement (DPA) in which the company would not be prosecuted if it
agreed to remediation measures, fines or other undertakings. 
Ottawa hearing was more civil and respectful than the Washington
spectacle, however not without moments tainted by political duplicity.
There was some pride in seeing that we have not slid as far into the
political sewer as the Americans. Not yet.
the real pride came in watching Wilson-Raybould. She gave us all a
clear reminder of the importance of standing up for what you believe, no
matter who tells you otherwise. And, no matter what it costs you
She reminded me of my mother, despite the fact that she is the same age as two of our daughters.
mothers teach us who we are and what we should stand for. They teach us
to conduct ourselves with conviction and dignity. They teach us to
consider carefully what we say because words that fly past our lips
cannot be taken back.
The SNC-Lavalin affair has developed into a very dirty and nasty fight, and it is not over yet.
tactics by Justin Trudeau and his people to get Wilson-Raybould to give
SNC-Lavalin a pass on criminal charges were not illegal.
Wilson-Raybould has said that herself. That does not mean that they were
ethically acceptable or the right thing to do. 
Trudeau says they were appropriate tactics. Wilson-Raybould says they were not.
This is a fight the honourable lady cannot win. Power and politics, jobs and money,  trump honour and higher principles. 
would have thought that rational and intelligent people could have
found a way early on to prevent this affair from morphing into the mess
it is. That is too much to expect in the politics of today.
best solution now is for Wilson-Raybould to walk. Quit the Liberal
party, quit Parliament and accept that there is not room for
higher-minded people in the politics of today.
is an intelligent, principled person with strong core values. What she
has to offer is wasted on political life but of great value to other
parts of Canadian life.
Her most important words to Parliament are contained in the final paragraph of her closing remarks to the justice committee:
“This is who I am and who I will always be.”
Canadians need to think hard about who we are and who we will always want to be.