Top News

EDITORIAL: No time for political games — or gamesmanship in Ottawa

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises to vote on a confidence motion against his government in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Oct. 21, 2020.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises to vote on a confidence motion against his government in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Oct. 21, 2020. — Reuters file photo

It was far from Parliament’s finest hour.

Wednesday went from an imminent federal election to a tempest in a teapot.

Or, more to the point, to political brinksmanship on plenty of sides.

The issue was a simple one: frustrated by Liberal stonewalling on the details and documents surrounding the WE Charity and its connections to the federal government, the Conservatives moved to set up a committee to review all aspects of the affair.

The Liberals didn’t like the Conservative motion, preferring the idea of setting up a committee that would be, despite the Liberals’ minority position in the House of Commons, fully controlled by Liberals. (That’s significant, because whenever a variety of Parliamentary committees have tried to approach the issue, the Liberals have simply found ways to shut the committees down.)

The solution this time?

Wednesday went from an imminent federal election to a tempest in a teapot.

The Liberals made the motion to establish the Conservative committee into a vote of confidence in the government, meaning that parliamentarians had to either sink the plans for the Conservative-style of committee, or go to the polls in an election campaign.

After a fair amount of procedural stick-handling, the Liberals got their wish: the Conservative motion was defeated, and another avenue to examine the curious machinations of WE and the Liberals was shut down.

One thing that’s hard to fathom in all this?

Just why the Liberals are fighting so very hard to stop the review of documents and details of the government’s dealings with the WE Charity.

The Liberal mantra for the last few months has been that they are prepared to be completely open about the WE process, except for the fact that they are studiously and constantly closing off avenues to have an open review of the whole issue.

There isn’t, the Liberals argue, anything to see here.

But if there isn’t any more to see, why bother taking the country to the brink of an election over a review?

There are two ways to look at it: on the one hand, either there still are significant and damaging details that the Liberals don’t want to see the light of day, or, on the other, petty party politics and scoring House of Commons points are more important that addressing the significant health and economic crises of COVID-19.

Neither option is pretty.

Even in the midst of a pandemic — a pandemic that, in many parts of the country, is deepening into a second wave — there are federal politicians who want to spend time playing political games.

It says a lot about their egos — in the opposition as well as the government.

It does not speak well about their ability to govern.

You could say “a pox on all their houses.” Except, of course, for the fact that the pox (or at least the pandemic) is already here.

RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories