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Justin Trudeau and WE Charity: one more political personal objective

The place was the grownup within the room when the federal cupboard authorized the sole-source contract to WE Charity to manage Ottawa’s $900-million scholar volunteer program?

After all, this being a pandemic, there was in all probability no person within the room. It was probably a safe Zoom-like name. However clearly, the grownup within the room wasn’t our 48-year-old prime minister, who’s in his fifth 12 months as chief of a G7 nation.

BACKGROUNDERWE Charity withdraws from managing Canada Pupil Service Grant

For a very long time, I’ve been keen to provide Justin Trudeau a bit extra slack than many others. Sure, he was the inheritor to his father’s identify and had the nice appears and charisma that gave him an enormous benefit in right this moment’s image-obsessed world of politics. 

But these belongings may find yourself being a legal responsibility and from the beginning, Trudeau has been tarred with being out of his league, a light-weight with nothing however his inherited traits to energy his political model. That appeared to me to be a tad unfair. Whereas no mental like his cerebral father, Justin isn’t any dummy, and the Conservatives discovered in two consecutive elections that they had been silly to underestimate his appreciable political abilities.

As prime minister, Trudeau was a breath of contemporary air after the controlling, partisan nastiness of the Harper years. From the beginning, he appeared to sense the nation’s want for a extra open, empathetic type of politics. When he strode to Rideau Corridor together with his gender-equal cupboard, it appeared greater than only a picture op.

His cupboards, although not stellar, have been competent, and he has discovered learn how to delegate accountability to his in a position Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland. And total, his authorities’s insurance policies have been affordable. Hashish was legalized and the world didn’t finish. After years of oilsands-induced denial below the Harperites, Trudeau not less than acknowledged the hazards of local weather change and the necessity to act. Donald Trump’s insistence on scrapping and renegotiating NAFTA might have resulted in disaster however Trudeau’s deft dealing with of the following talks and the US narcissist-in-chief has left Canada in a comparatively good place.

And in these terrible previous a number of months, Trudeau’s management throughout the pandemic has been stable. Not stellar, however nonetheless spectacular in comparison with the mess south of the border. No ugly squabbles with the provinces, though that’s been on the value of a extremely nationwide strategy to the pandemic. The well being response has actually been dictated by the provinces.

The place Ottawa has carried out higher is within the financial response, placing collectively the Canada Emergency Response Profit shortly and coming to the help of a myriad of different sectors of the economic system.

But regardless of these expertise, Trudeau stays a flawed chief, a grasp of the personal objective who manages to miraculously rating on himself and emerge stunned that anyone would discover. Three investigations by the ethics commissioner since 2015 and every case was the results of remarkably poor judgment and the sort of governance we thought had ended with the sponsorship scandal.

READ MORE: One other Home committee to research Trudeau authorities’s WE Charity deal

Sure, the Aga Khan is a philanthropist and non secular chief, however he’s additionally one of many wealthiest males on the earth whose basis lobbied the federal authorities. If you happen to’re making an attempt to show your humility by eschewing a expensive reno of 24 Sussex Drive in favour of transferring into the extra modest Rideau Cottage, why then take an expense-paid vacation on the Aga Khan’s non-public Caribbean island?

Though the story was much less private, the SNC-Lavalin affair confirmed an equally flawed strategy, as Trudeau opted to favour an enormous firm with a questionable moral historical past over the important safety of our impartial judicial system. And it’s solely due to the braveness of Jody Wilson-Raybould that we ever found the nastiness of what went on.

This newest caper might be essentially the most disturbing of all. Who on the earth might assume it was a good suggestion to provide a sole-source contract value an estimated $19-million to a charitable group with a historical past of offering a stream of audio system’ charges and journey bills to members of the Trudeau household?

If the prime minister was once more blind to this battle of curiosity, what of the phalanxes of political aides and public servants working for the Prime Minister’s Workplace and the Privy Council Workplace? Did anyone there do their job? What about members of the Trudeau cupboard? Have been they so afraid of Justin’s wrath that no person might truly say, “Do you realize how awful this will look to the public?”

As for Trudeau himself, I reluctantly come to the conclusion that he has no potential to see himself as others see him, that he has internalized this concept that he’s above suspicion as a result of he’s working so onerous to make the world a greater place alongside his spouse, his mom and his brother. And if the fabulous Kielburger twins see the world in the identical approach to the fantastic Trudeau clan, who might presumably object to their being requested to helped out with one other laudable objective—serving to college students throughout a pandemic?

TIMELINE: Trudeau’s ties to WE are as previous as his political profession

Maybe with the abrupt finish to the WE Charity contract, Trudeau can staunch the bleeding and survive. However his prime minister-ship stays ceaselessly tarnished. And it was all so pointless.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by all iPolitics columnists and contributors are the writer’s alone. They don’t inherently or expressly replicate the views, opinions and/or positions of iPolitics.

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