I am truly sick and tired of both Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould. After the recent mutual Seinfeld press conferences about nothing, I hope that Canadian media realizes that they have been played.
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They had press conferences to announce that…nothing at all had changed. That they were remaining independent Members of Parliament. Of course, with Jane and Jody – it came after a weekend of drama and media speculation of what they would decide.
I’ve come to the realization about the state of play leading into the 2019 election campaign. Whenever a positive or quasi-positive story about the Liberal Party, good news for Justin Trudeau, or a misstep by Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party – a story involving Jody Wilson-Raybould or Jane Philpott will be released.
Let’s take a look at Jody Wilson Raybould’s record as Attorney General. Wilson-Raybould upheld many of the failed tough on crime policies of the previous Stephen Harper Government. Time was wasted unnecessarily striking never used zombie laws from the criminal code. Wilson-Raybould as Justice Minister did nothing to address the over-representation of racialized defendants in the prison system. Nothing was done to address Canada’s broken pardon system. Wilson-Raybould left many judicial appointments unfilled and helped pass draconian drinking and driving laws that criminalized drinking after driving that will cause no end of constitutional litigation.
Even the two legacy achievements of Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice – crafting and passing laws dealing with assisted death and the decriminalization of cannabis appear to be highly flawed in various ways. How can you decriminalize cannabis yet not include a mechanism to allow for the automatic erasing of convictions for simple marijuana possession?
Jody Wilson-Raybould was a poor to mediocre Attorney General/Minister of Justice who has perfectly used a fake scandal to become a cause célèbre for Conservatives and members of the media intent on tearing down Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.
It is true that some of the damage to Justin Trudeau has been self-inflicted: an inability to present a consistent and coherent narrative and reasoning for the cabinet shuffle. The PMO failed to get in front of the story, or understand how big the story was about to become. Justin Trudeau should have had Jody Wilson-Raybould removed from caucus immediately, but was instead able to cause significant damage from inside the party and caucus. That is unacceptable.
Justin Trudeau nor the PMO had any idea that a long game was being played, that this entire sequence of events had been prepared and coordinated long before Jody Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the Justice portfolio. Everything, from the initial story leak to the Globe, to the resignation, to the testimony and beyond was meticulously planned to devastate Justin Trudeau and to promote Jody Wilson-Raybould. No one saw that coming initially.
It seems that Canadian media has forgotten the concept of cause and effect. Both Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould chose to resign from cabinet, they both chose to give interviews that undermined their own party and government. Both chose to show no confidence in their leader and Prime Minister in public.
Jody Wilson-Raybould chose to surreptitiously record a privileged phone call with the Secretary of the Cabinet, hide it from the initial disclosure to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Wilson-Raybould only chose to disclose this unethical recording when it became convenient to do so. Never mind that Jody Wilson-Raybould chose to disclose her self-serving letter asking to remain in caucus to the press when caucus communication is confidential. This wasn’t about speaking truth to power, it was about speaking power to ego. This was all about Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Jane Philpott gave an interview to Paul Wells playing the reluctant resistor, while she was selling the story to any journalist that she could – was in full awareness of when the story would drop, and the damage it would cause to the budget itself, and the government’s ability to sell it.
The cause is the first part of the equation. Being removed from caucus is the effect. Cause, meet effect. You cannot have an effective caucus or government when you have members actively working to undermine the government from the inside. Removing both Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott was the only recourse. It is a decision that each previous Prime Minister of Canada would have made.
Despite what Canadian media would have you believe, there are no heroes in this story.
Now Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott as independents claim that the political party system no longer works for them. They were both elected while taking advantage of the campaign infrastructure provided by the Liberal Party of Canada, with the fundraising assistance provided by the Liberal Party, and with Justin Trudeau visiting both ridings to provide support. They were willing participants in the partisan political party power structure in Ottawa until both were removed from caucus. To claim that running as independents is the first choice of both Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott needs a leap of faith that requires a disconnection from reality.
Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould are not marginalized voices. Both were first time Ministers of Parliament who were given the opportunity to hold multiple roles in cabinet. Both had a seat at the table for nearly all important decisions and policy initiatives championed by the Trudeau Government. Both Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott had a platform to advocate for whatever change they sought in government. Both chose to resign.
It is time for Canadian media to cancel the Jane and Jody show.