Mar 2019 07

Look closely at the assassination of character that the Liberals are trying to put upon Jody Wilson-Raybould as they deal with the SNC-Lavalin affair. It’s so old school Canada.

If you know me, you know that besides my undying love for hockey there is nothing that makes me more Canadian than my love for Canadian Politics. For the record, I despise hockey but my fascination with the politics in this country run true.

It’s not just my thirst for frothy but polite debate amongst the elected in the House of Commons that fuels my passion. It’s also a curiosity about how one could ever govern such a bizarre nation. How could one set of rules possibly serve every region and the disparate needs that have evolved within them, some based on geography and others from seeds officially planted in 1867? French-Canadians, Maritime concerns, the Alberta oil industry, First Nations, spoiled brat Ontario, and the obvious list of what Canada is on the surface goes on.

And then, we talk of Canada being a place where you can immigrate to and retain your identity. Religious, cultural, and relatively recently, sexual identity as well. We’re not the ‘melting pot’ like our neighbours, we savour every distinct flavour to add to our mix.

Attempting to be government for this crazy experiment is comedy just waiting to happen, and it does evolve constantly. Lately, daily.

Last week on Facebook, I contended that the SNC-Lavalin affair would possibly expose just what the real Canada might be under our hockey-loving and polite exterior. Maybe it would show the great divides we have between French Canada and the ‘Rest of Canada’, the Liberal ideology and the Conservatives’ one, and the haves and have nots. After seeing our ugly, maybe we could accept this is who we are, and where do we go from here? There is still an opportunity to show the world a true model for what a society ‘could’ be, a work in progress going in the right direction. What I didn’t say explicitly, and I wish I had now rather than being vague about it, was that it might expose Canada’s relationship with First Nations peoples.

I am in no way an expert, or even I admit, mildly familiar with the history here. And that also, sadly, makes me very Canadian. In school we read stories of the noble Wilfrid Laurier, Jacques Cartier, and oh yes, also the pemmican-eating original people here who just rebel and cause trouble.

Did you watch or listen to Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony in the House of Commons last week? Whether you cared about any of the content or the ‘scandal’ itself, it was easy to conclude that Jody Wilson-Raybould carries herself with a strength, dignity, and pride that goes beyond the oath she took to serve Canada. Something more was going on here. Just revisit her opening statement about being a truth-teller and from a long line of matriarchs.

She was basically putting not just her reputation on the line, but also those of her family, and the culture that shaped her. Talk about pushing all your chips into the centre of the table.

And yesterday when Gerald Butts revealed that Jody Wilson-Raybould refused the cabinet position of Minister of Indigenous Affairs as she was shuffled out of the Attorney General’s role, he says he was shocked at first but should in hindsight, have known that was insulting to her. And no, of course it wasn’t punishment for not towing the party line, and putting someone in the position who would.

She has dedicated her life to opposing the Indian Act and they were putting her in charge of administering it? Fuck. That’s a slap in the face. I think they knew exactly the message they were sending. Where are the real attempts at reconciliation, as were promised instead of just serving the powerful and wealthy under the table?

Something stinks here as much as the mould in schools and the drinking water in First Nations communities, and I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable with how the Liberals are trying to cover-up a special relationship with a large corporation (they are not new in government, sadly) by trying to take down the character of Jody Wilson-Raybould in saying she interpreted interactions differently than they did. A lawyer being told she should see their different interpretation of the law. That’s fucking rich.

What we have here now is a they said / they said situation.

Whose side do you believe?

Neither Gerald Butts, nor Jody Wilson-Raybould were under traditional ‘oath’.

I know who I believe. The chips, and what someone is risking by pushing into the middle of the table, don’t lie.

Regardless, Canada will continue to rollick along somehow after this. Regardless of what government is in power. The question is, what kind of Canada do we want? What kind of society do we want? Is it impossible to please everyone? Probably. But can we find a way to do what’s right and serve the basic dignified needs for all of us? Where is this elusive ‘greater good’?

This is really the heart of this whole affair. Look beyond the talk of ‘jobs’, partisan fury, hiding behind ‘what is really the law?’. There are multiple fractures being exposed here across a huge country and its specific group interests, that we need to look at and try to repair. We can’t rely on just our elected politicians to do it.

A desire to find a middle ground without conflict is so… Canadian.

Perhaps a good old hockey brawl indeed has its place.