It seems like ages ago that the first word on a small issue that may or may not have started out of the Prime Ministers Office came out. Did anyone think seven weeks ago that we would still be talking about this? In fact as the timeline extends on what is commonly known as #LavScam or “the thing that Liberals don’t want anyone to talk about” you just have to know there will be more.
The fallout has been emence; three cabinet shuffles, two resignations from cabinet, one Liberal MP is now sits as an independent, one ‘retirement’ and the resignation of the Principal Secretary for the Prime Minister. Then there is the collateral damage; a committee shutdown, an inaudible budget speech, a walkout and 31 hours of voting. Apparently, even though the Prime Minister and the Liberals on the Justice Committee have all said that the story has been told they neglected to ask the person at the centre of the storm, Jody Wilson-Raybould (JWR) – she has more to say.
The Prime Minister is treating this like a chess match, saying that JWR has used up all her time, 4 hours, when she appeared at the Justice committee a few weeks back. The problem with that situation is that following her testimony former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gerald Butts came forward to tell his version of events to the committee. In fact the Justice committee allowed now retired Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick to comeback to answer to some of JWR’s testimony.
Now that Butts and Wernick have had their chance to reply to JWR, the opposition have been pressing to have JWR back in front of the Justice Committee. They have held up regular proceedings in Parliament, they worked towards having the presentation of the budget delayed and forced a a vote on 257 motions, all spending items, that could – and almost did topple the government.
But wait, what’s this? The Liberals are willing to let JWR and Jane Philpott have their say, but not in a committee but in the House where parliamentary priviledge allows them to say anything without any threat of litigation on what is said. The issue with this is that the government could and would limit Wilson-Raybould and Philpott’s speaking time and would not allow for questions to prode further into their statements. This seems to be the message du jour from the Liberals as Judy Sgro and Melanie Joly have come out in favour of this and if this is what the Prime Minister wants expect more from the Liberal Caucus to speak out.
In the meantime Wilson-Raybould has said she will be sending a written statement with details of texts and emails that will further support her initial remarks. She can certainly send to the committee her written submission but I don’t think the Liberal majority on the committee will accept it, remember last week the Liberals forced an end to the study saying they had heard enough – nothing more is needed to be said.
The only thing I can safely say here; this is not going away. Just when you think all this is all done and there can be no more something happens and so far the something has been a misstep from the government. I mean, this is the third post I’ve written on this subject since February 12th, there will be more.
Both sides have called ‘check’ in this match of words and wills, but no one yet can claim “check-mate”.
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