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DIANE FRANCIS: The crushing of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott is proof Canada is run by a Liberal cabal

Independent Members of Parliament Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak with the media before Question Period in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019.
Independent Members of Parliament Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould speak with the media before Question Period in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday April 3, 2019.

It was no coincidence that the current unravelling of the Liberal party was caused by the principled objections regarding SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. by two political newcomers against a concerted attempt to subvert justice.

It is also no coincidence that both were female and both from outside the Quebec-Ottawa power centre that has controlled postwar Canada for generations.

Clearly, they failed to realize the party’s lengthy tenure in Ottawa is based on putting all things Quebec or Liberal above everything else. Instead, they collided with this coven of Liberal civil servants, corporations, media sympathizers, law firms, lobbyists, and caucus colleagues who salute first and never ask questions.

Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, both women of immense talent and merit before entering “public life,” were crushed and spat out for the crime of not understanding what they were a part of.

They are simply the latest, and highest profile, victims of the dirty little secret that governs Canada. The country’s federal government, civil service, regulated industries, Crown corporations and its surrounding infrastructure of law firms, public and government relations outfits, are populated with people who went to the same schools and grew up in Quebec, Ottawa, or Rosedale.

"Equalization payments should be renegotiated to eliminate the existing and unjust benefit to Quebec."

Canada, in other words, is run by an elite who crush and spit out whoever breaks ranks or their code of omerta, or silence.

This is nothing new, nor is the building backlash. Every so often the Liberals are defeated in elections, but they leave behind unscathed unelected Liberals in crony appointments. These people move in and out as advisers, consultants, deputy ministers, Senators, Crown corporations, directors, bank bigshots, or CEOs of government agencies as well as regulated corporations, dependent on Ottawa.

Electing Tories to run provinces or as Prime Minister helps drain the swamp, but major reforms must be put in place and left behind. The Raybould-Philpott situation illustrates this very well. If former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had not created a legislative ring-fence around the Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor due to past scandals, the Liberals would have ridden roughshod over the justice system.

Opposition parties are critical to fixing a country that will never realize its potential as long as cronyism flourishes. Top officials in government, Crown corporations, or agencies should be vetted for conflicts, relationships, financial connections, and partisanship. There should be a five or ten year, not a two-year, cooling off period before government employees can join the private sector.

Most importantly, equalization payments should be renegotiated to eliminate the existing and unjust benefit to Quebec, and the ban on oil tankers on the West coast should be scrapped because there’s none on the East coast. Most importantly, the federal government must remove barriers to entry against most of Canada by lifting bilingualism as a primary criterion for hiring and advancement.

Only 17.5 per cent of the populace are proficient in both official languages. As Ottawa Citizen commentator Randall Denley wrote : “The federal government wants to hire thousands of millennials to rejuvenate the public service. This attempt to attract the best and brightest is laudable, but it’s not going to happen as long as the government continues to regard bilingualism as a primary criterion for hiring and advancement…The government must make a choice. Does it want the best people or the best bilingual people?”

Beyond the scandal, the truth is that, as currently constituted, Canada is not a meritocracy, but a parochial place run by cronies who keep out others and act as though they own it.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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