This morning the 43rd General Election will kick off, with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau heading to Rideau Hall to visit the Governor General. With that, the campaigns are now rolling, the journalists are hitting the road and campaign signs will start to fly up all over the place. In short, it’s on. But before the PM could even walk from his place at Rideau Cottage over to see the GG, the Globe and Mail came out with some seriously damaging reporting that brings the SNC-PMO Scandal roaring back to life:
Okay folks, this is very big. Firstly, the Globe and Mail is reporting that the RCMP have been looking into potential obstruction of justice charges in the SNC-PMO Scandal. That by itself would be massive, the idea that the RCMP is looking at potential criminal charges in this case. But that’s just the starter here; the meal seems to be that according to the Globe and Mail, that examination has been stopped dead in it’s tracks because the government is allegedly refusing to lift cabinet privilege on the matter. That’s exactly the same thing they did when the Ethics Commissioner investigated this matter, a move that seriously hindered his ability to get to the bottom of this issue.
Let this sink in everyone; the RCMP, our national police force, is looking into potential criminal charges in a case where the government has been alleged to have tried to interfere in a criminal case, for political reasons, and in response to that RCMP inquiry and their requests for information, the government is trying to hide behind cabinet privilege. Essentially, they are trying to stop the potential investigation of a potential criminal charge against them by starving them of information that would help them get to the bottom of this. That’s crazy, and an amazing bombshell to hit on the very first day of any election campaign.
And here is the kicker folks about this; because the election is starting today, the RCMP is actually hitting the pause button on this inquiry until after the campaign is over. So for the Liberals, that means this whole story will sit out there, festering, without any chance for it to be settled and put to bed, all because of the tactics they have allegedly taken with the Ethics Commissioner and the RCMP. Now that are some chickens to have come home to roost.
This development is surely going to test the theory running around out there that people’s views on this scandal are already baked in. When the Ethics Commissioner report came out last month, that seemed to be the case as the Liberals polling didn’t suffer for that news. But in my view, this is very different. It’s one thing for an officer of Parliament to say this, someone who no one outside of political Ottawa knows of, but it’s totally different for the police to get involved. Everyday people know that the police don’t start looking into things if there is nothing there to look into, and they also know that when those who are being looked into try to hide details or potential proof that they don’t look very innocent at all. Given the Liberals history, this could unleash a lot of bad memories for many Canadians.
For the Opposition parties, this gives this issue not only a lot of new life, but an added dose of credibility with the inclusion of the RCMP. Now that Canadians are paying more attention with the campaign arriving, early reactions to this development will be a true litmus test to the potential legs this might have. Expect all Opposition parties to lean on this, especially the NDP and Greens, who are trying to fight off the “Red Door-Blue Door” argument that they will subjected to in this race.
It’s hard to imagine any worse timing for news like this to come out, but for sure it will rain on the start of this parade for the Liberals. With the very first debate happening tomorrow night, and Justin Trudeau deciding to stay away, there will be a lot of talk about alleged Liberal corruption without a Liberal voice present to rebut it. A story that many thought was sleeping and in the past has woken up, just in time for the start of this race. We’ll see what how it plays but if I were in the Liberals shoes, this news today would frighten me, not only about how people might react to this, but what else might come out on this front over the next six weeks. Campaigns can feel like an eternity, and stories like these can make them feel that much longer.