Earlier today I posted a piece on why the whole PMO/SNC Scandal matters in the political discourse and why we must pay attention to it. In that post I said something that I think bears some repeating for another big reason, which I will get into in a moment. But first, here is the quote:
We complain a lot about the quality of our politicians and how they behave, sometimes rightfully so. But if we turn a blind eye whenever a story like this comes up, we’re just sending them the message that it’s alright to keep doing business as usual. And then we never get the better that we deserve.https://magpiebrule.ca/2019/03/12/why-the-snc-lavalin-scandal-matters/
So why am I bringing this back up and re-hashing it? Why am I still flogging this horse? Well because nothing happens in a vacuum and the same is true with events. So while the SNC-Lavalin Scandal has been getting its rightful attention, other things of consequence have been happening too that should send some shivers down our spines. Two of those stories have happened in the past week:
Yes folks, it shouldn’t come as a big shock that Andrew Scheer hasn’t been setting the world on fire with his performance as the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. In fact, he’s been constantly over-reaching in response to the SNC Scandal by calling for the Prime Minister resignation far too soon. That left him in a position where he had nowhere else to go, and pundits have universally agreed that Scheer flubbed. Even former members of the Harper inner circle are pointing it out.
But the mistakes and over-reach from he and his caucus haven’t stopped there. Their response to certain issues and groups have left many people shaking their heads, with his sharp turn to the alt-right making for some disturbing situations. Situations like the two stories above, where you really have to shake your head and question their collective judgement.
So why is Team Blue doing this? What is the end game and what do they think they are achieving here? In my opinion, it all comes back to one reason, or should I more precisely say, one man: Maxime Bernier. Bernier seems to have taken up permanent residence in Team Scheer’s mind to the point where they should be issuing him rent receipts for the space he’s renting out.
But it seems that most of their decisions are being made thinking “WWMD”: What would Max do? How else do you find yourself in a town hall with Pizza-gaters and not denouncing them fully and on the spot? How else do you explain hosting anyone from abroad who supports Syria’s Bashir al-Assad and seems to be Islamophobic? Probably the same way Andrew Scheer ends up addressing the same rally as Faith Goldy and crew.
So to not to put too fine a point on it, we need progressive politicians to be ethical and moral and not just live strictly by the letter of the law. When we have a politician identify himself with the progressives like Justin Trudeau, who raises peoples’ expectations during an election only to dash them after the win in a seemingly cynical manner, that does damage to the perception of all progressives. It also pushes some people who feel that they were mislead or taken advantage of to either go towards politicians like Scheer or stay home, giving the Conservatives the same effect.
And let’s face some simple facts; we are not in a calm, rational period of politics in many places. These are not the happiest times for many people out there and there are many people are mad for many reasons. This is not the time to get cute about our ethics and morals, because the public isn’t in a mood to stand for it. Stories like the PMO-SNC Scandal are the kind that people can connect with because they touch those ideas of basic fairness. If you feel like you’re already getting screwed, stories like these just feel another screw being drilled into you.
Now this isn’t to say that it’s Justin Trudeau or bust for progressive voters in October, but you can’t look at the state of the NDP today and say they are ready, especially if you’re a progressive from rural and Northern communities like I am. But if the fate of progressive governance for the next four years in Canada rests on a choice between stopping Scheer by supporting an ethically challenged government or voting for a party with a tiny chance of forming government, then we will be in a terrible spot.
That’s a choice we should never have to make and that’s another reason why this SNC story matters. We as progressives need to expect and demand better when a progressive party gets into power. We can’t listen to those who say we’re “hurting the team” if we don’t put up with that garbage. When we start to accept that behaviour, the rot starts to set in and before you know it, you end up with a Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Given these turbulent times, the thought of a Prime Minister Andrew Scheer and some of the support he seems to be courting should scare the Hell out of progressives. That should be pushing us to be screaming for better from those who claim to be progressive like us. The moment demands it and we can’t accept anything less.