Not done saving Canada
Laurentian elites, the Globe, and class
What happens after we die?
How *do* they get the caramel into Cadbury Caramilk bars?
Why do people read the Globe and Mail at all, let alone take what’s in it it seriously?
These remain among the great mysteries of life in Canada.
The mystery seems even harder to solve, at least as far as Tranna’s ever-pretentious rag goes, with an op-ed by David Johnston over the weekend demonstrating why he is fundamentally out of touch with any reality, both his and ours. “My work to protect Canada’s democracy from foreign interference is not done,” screams the headline on it. Sadly, the picture of Johnston adjusting the cape and tights over his geriatric superhero ass didn’t accompany the piece.
For those not following the story, Johnston is the former Governor-General who took a controversial partisan hobble1 from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about interference by hostile foreign governments in Canadian elections. The issue is controversial not just because foreign governments are trying to swing the outcome of Canadian elections but because of other charges that one government in particular - that of China - has been harassing Chinese-Canadian politicians, that the national intelligence service has warned about this, and that no one bothered to do much about it. In the background is a relationship between the Trudeau family charity and an identified Chinese donor that involves some financial skullduggery.
All the allegations are rooted in leaks of classified information apparently coming from inside the Canadian security intelligence community In itself, that implies a deep problem at the highest levels of the Canadian government. All of that makes it a controversial *partisan* job for Johnston in that the problems all affect the Prime Minister and his Office politically.
Johnston is not a stranger to this sort of thing, as some Trudeau fanboys noted. Before he was Governor General, Johnston did a similar hobble for Stephen Harper. Two huge differences: Johnston had not been the GG at that point for one. For the other, notice that Harper had the sound political judgment to find a prominent Liberal to do the job. That alone shielded Harper from any criticism that the game had been rigged.
Both of these things are what make Johnston’s job as Trudeau’s special rapporteur troublesome from the start. The Office of the Governor General must be impartial, that is to say, not showing favour to one party over another. non-partisan. It naturally follows then that Governors-General should stay out of partisan politics while in office and afterwards. Same goes for Lieutenant Governors and federal or provincial Supreme Court Justices. All three offices should remain non-partisan and free of the hint of such bias. Getting involved in partisan work of any sort after leaving the high office not only makes the former office holder look bad, it casts a shadow on the Office for many reasons that should be obvious.
Responsibility for the current mess, then, has to the fools in the PMO who offered it to him in the first place and moreso to Johnston for taking it. That either of them thought the made-up title would somehow make everything alright only makes the political stunnedness of this all the greater.
It also reinfoeces the suspicion based on repeated experience that the people in the Prime Minister’s Office these days lack sound judgment as well as the seriousness, solemnity, or dignity appropriate for the job. As the saying goes, they either don’t get good advice or don’t take it. And now we can add to the description the more recent line from popular television that they are “not serious people.”
What’s worse is that if Justin and his Brain Trust thought their special rapporteur would fix the problem, they guessed wrongly. Johnston’s first report - issued last week - pointed out many things, not the least of which was the ineffectual way the PMO handles national security issues generally, matching the Prime Minister’s personal disinterest in the subject. That dubious judgment thing leads us back to why folks in the intelligence and security community leaked the information in the first place.
No need to delve into this any more than that here, partly because others like Paul Wells have deftly sifted out this mess and its serious implications and partly because the Globe and Mail has offered us a bit of inadvertent humour.
One of the great mysteries of Newfoundland and Labrador life is why you aren’t a Bond Papers subscriber. Solve the mystery.