More than talking parrots

It was quite appropriate that last Friday was International Women’s Day as Prime Minister Trudeau continues to absorb the resignation of two of his three most senior female cabinet ministers. Jody Wilson-Raybould’s concern of judicial interference by the Prime Minister and Jane Philpott’s resignation in support has left Trudeau reeling.

Trudeau, the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) staffers are being taught a very public lesson on the differences between men and women. They are uniquely different and more often than not have different leadership styles.

Woman generally have a higher sense of fairness, more easily accept responsibility for mistakes and believe strongly in the greater good. Men are much more into power, position and bravado.

Today, Trudeau should understand diversity isn’t just an equal number of men and women.

Rather it is a coming together of the sexes which will dramatically alter inputs into decisions and subsequent outcomes.

Trudeau would be well advised not to kick either Wilson-Raybould or Philpott out of Caucus, but rather learn from his mistakes and re-boot the agenda that drew people to vote for him in the last election.

Some positive preliminary changes are happening.

Trudeau is now studying the appropriateness of one person acting as both the Justice Minister and the Attorney General – a good step to stop politics from unduly influencing an independent judiciary.

Much to my chagrin, there is a strong argument that in order to stay competitive with Britain and the United States, we must have a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) process.

The argument goes—jobs, jobs, jobs. A Canadian headquartered company, SNC-Lavelin has 3,400 direct jobs in Quebec, 3,000 in Ontario, 2,600 in Western Canada and 40,000 internationally.

Those arguing for DPAs say it is not simply a slap on the wrist, as I depicted last week, but a restorative justice process with strong controls, tough supervision and long-term oversight.

If DPAs are to remain vehicles to save jobs and industries from themselves, Canadians deserve much more transparency during the process.

Gerald Butt’s departure from the PMO was a good start, but the end result needs to be a de-clawing of all appointed political operatives and a return of power to our elected MPs.

For far too long, strong political staffers have been calling the shots leaving our elected MPs as nothing more than talking parrots.

The Cabinet, not PMO staffers should be the body setting the policy agenda, managing government files and preparing talking points, not unelected political staffers.

We didn’t vote for Gerald Butt but he was so used to pulling rank he assumed he was more powerful than the Attorney General.

Under Prime Minister Harper’s government, Nigel Wright and Jenni Byrne were calling the shots, writing the talking points and overstretching their authority eventually leading to the Mike Duffy fiasco.

Conservative leader, Andrews Scheer seems more interested in using Wilson-Raybould as a pawn in his election campaign rather than addressing what changes he’d make if elected.

Let’s remember, Philpott and Wilson- Raybould are still part of the Liberal caucus.

Even with all Trudeau’s missteps and his declining favour, neither Andrew Scheer nor Jagmeet Singh’s leadership popularity numbers have seen a bump.

Therein lays the problem for both the ND and Conservative parties. As big as Trudeau’s blunders have been, he is still seen as more trustworthy.

What a difference it would have been were Rona Ambrose still the leader of the Conservative Party.


Brenda Schimke

ECA Review

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