It’s Thursday night and while the House of Commons is going late into the night having an emergency debate on Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony yesterday and the PMO/SNC Scandal, news keeps breaking elsewhere. It would have been totally normal and justified to think that probably the most of the big news of the week was done; hey, normally that would be the case. Well if this week has shown us anything, it’s that it’s been far from a normal week. And that continued as this evening has gone on:
It looks like we’ll be in for more testimony at the House of Commons Justice Committee, with Gerald Butts coming forth to give his truth. Add to that a return appearance by the Clerk of the Privy Council and there promises to be more fireworks when those meetings happen. But before all that happens, we had a curve ball come at us involving Rideau Hall of all places:
Cabinet shuffle? Now? Wow, I tip my hat off to you if you had that one on your PMO/SNC Scandal Bingo Card. But in the meantime, this surprises me if only because of the optics; that is, it looks really bad. This looks like a Prime Minister who is panicking and not in control right now. The timing of this looks even worse given the fact that when Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned as Veterans Affairs Minister, the position was given over to Harjit Sajjan and we kind of got the impression this would remain the case for a while. The PM or his team didn’t give the impression that this was a temporary, holding of the position.
So that leaves more than a few legit questions that we have to ask:
- Why do this now? It seems that this could have waited and promises to add more fuel to this fire.
- How many people in this Cabinet Shuffle? You would think it wouldn’t be big, yet the CBC is reporting that “some ministers have been called back to Ottawa to prepare for a Friday morning shuffle”. Some is more than one, so that leaves the impression that some ministers are either getting shuffled around or shuffled out. Stay tuned on that.
- How safe is Minister Lametti? Given everything that’s happened so far, especially the way in which he was brought up in yesterdays committee hearing, that he is a damaged minister barely a few days into the position. You have to ask the question if he can stay in his spot given all this storm, but that also leads to another question.
- Does the PM split the Justice Minister and Attorney General positions into two separate cabinet positions? Given how this scandal has revolved around the tension of being both Justice Minster and AG, it would seem to make sense to split these jobs apart now. It would be one way for the government to say that they’ve seen the problem and have taken a concrete action going forward. It wouldn’t change the story and wouldn’t put it to bed, but at least it would allow the government to say they’ve learned and done better.
- If this split happens, who becomes AG? Given how Minister Lametti’s name has been hurt in this scandal, I can’t picture him staying in the role if the split comes. So if not him, who? That would make for an interesting promotion for whoever got it and one that would be completely nerve wracking. If you thought there was pressure on that role before, well crank that up to 11 now.
Those are a lot of open questions and we’ll find out a lot more tomorrow. One thing is clear tonight; this is a government that’s not in it’s finest form and they’re searching for ways to staunch the bleeding. Depending what they do with this shuffle tomorrow, we’ll have a better idea about how the government is going to try to deal with this. But at this moment, this does look like a government in a bit of a panic and if they’re not, sudden moves like these sure to make it look like they are. As we move into week four of the PMO/SNC Scandal, the government still hasn’t gotten a handle on it. This news tonight doesn’t offer immediate promise that they will get a handle on this before this week ends either.