It was just last week that I wrote an update to the story of British Columbia Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido and the allegations against him and his law firm. This is a story that’s continued to fester and grow bit by bit, leaving me to openly question what exactly would have to happen for his spot in the Liberal caucus and his candidacy in the fall to be taken away.
By his very presence in the Liberal caucus and his continued candidacy it’s become clear that as far as the Prime Minister sees it, he’s not reached that point. If that wasn’t clear, surely these Tweets from earlier today must speak to how the PM feels about him:
Yep, despite everything that’s come out so far, there’s Joe Peschisolido making a funding re-announcement on the behalf of his party. You’d think that given everything that’s swirling around him right now that he’d be laying low but nope. All of this surely shows some judgement that’s easily open to questioning by many. But that in mind later this afternoon, a few hours after those Tweets went out, another shoe dropped in this case, one that came from Ottawa and was surely expected to come at some point:
Well this was bound happen sooner or later. Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, come on down, it’s your turn to take part in this story. And really folks, this development just takes matters from bad to worse for the Liberal caucus, as this makes another Ethics commissioners investigation of the Liberals and their caucus in this term. Far from being an isolated case, this is another one to add to the pile of Ethics commissioners investigations that we’ve seen in this Parliament, far too many for any party that ran on being different. And unlike other investigations that Mr. Dion has undertook, the subject matter of this one seems to be more serious and more dangerous for this government.
Given the timing of this announcement, we shouldn’t expect a resolution of this investigation before election day, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for the Liberals. Yes, there won’t be a finding against Peschisolido before people vote, but that means that for the entire campaign the other parties be able to point to this investigation, in concert with the others that have already happened, and talk about ethics. Remember how the last time I wrote about this case that Peschisolido is a tempting subject for an attack ad against the Liberals? Well being able to add “under investigation by the Ethics commissioner” just makes it all the more certain we’ll see that ad from someone, and it will be that much more damaging.
Last time I wrote about this story I said something that I believe bares some repeating right now, because after this news it’s all the more true:
In stories like these, eventually a point gets reached where a parties’ unwillingness to punish, suspend or remove a caucus member for allegations like these starts to transfer the blame for the acts. If a party acts quickly and decisively, it’s much easier for them to separate themselves from the alleged actions against that caucus member. But the longer they wait to act, and the more details that come to the surface, that starts to put some of the blame on the party itself. That delay or refusal to act sends a signal that they don’t have a problem with these allegations, that they feel they aren’t that serious or that they are above it all. And the longer that seeps into the public conscious, the harder it is to undo.https://magpiebrule.ca/2019/07/28/allegations-revelations-in-british-columbia-an-update/
By having kept Peschisolido in their caucus, the Liberals have exposed themselves to the risks that come with this investigation and the association that comes with it. If they had cut ties with him, they would be much more protected against this development. But instead inaction here has brought more consequences for the Liberals, the Prime Minister and for everyone running under the Liberal banner in this election. If I was one of those candidates, tonight I’d be asking myself why I will have to defend attacks on this topic and why they are in this position. Those are honest and legit questions, and way things are going, it seems like there will be more questions to be asked, not less.
So what will it take to remove Peschisolido from the Liberal fold? That question remains open but it seems that not even an investigation from the Ethics commissioner will get him booted or get his candidacy revoked. Instead it seems that he’ll get to keep doing government funding announcements while Mr. Dion does his work. That’s not exactly the look any party wants going into a tough election, yet it’s the one the current government has seemed to have given itself.