Monday, March 11, 2019

The Fake Scandal and the Toxic Trudeau Haters Part II

When I first heard about the accusations that Jody Wilson-Raybould had been removed as Attorney General because she insisted on prosecuting SNC-Lavalin, rather than allow the corporation to have a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, my ears perked up. You see, it's a pet-peeve of mine the way corporate criminals and fraudsters are almost never held accountable for their actions in this country.

Billionaire whining asswipe, untalented golden-spoon fuck-face Galen Weston's family-owned "Weston Bakeries" conspired with big supermarket chains (including Galen Weston's own "Loblaws") to fix bread prices for FOURTEEN years. Supposedly lil' Galen is really stupid and incompetent. Because he never knew about this all the years it was going on. Unnamed middle-managers supposedly did all of this and AS SOON AS GALEN FOUND OUT ABOUT IT he went to the government and promised his full cooperation in rooting-out the evildoers. It's either that or (much more likely) Galen Weston was very much a part of this conspiracy and someone tipped him off that an investigation was underway and came up with the bullshit story about how he was innocent of any knowledge as to what was going on FOR YEARS at two firms that he, himself ran. He was "cooperating" and so he could go back to the hard work of denying his companies' employees a living wage.

Bell is found to have been coercing employees to upsell customers with services that they neither want or need; gouging customers for services that aren't delivered, and lying about costs. Sickeningly, employees were told to refuse requests from relatives of deceased customers to cancel services and, instead, upsell them on new ones. Through a shameless wreak of a human being (called a "public-relations representative") Bell lied and insisted that none of these accusations of fraud and bullying (coming from thousands of customers and dozens of employees) were true. Don't worry though. A CRTC investigation might happen any decade now.

Leaks from two offshore tax-havens showed that Canadian corporations and wealthy individuals were illegally stashing their money there. The Canada Revenue Agency has done sweet fuck all to try to recover these funds. Apparently these wealthy people can hire top legal talent and it's expensive to take them on. CRA (and the Canadian federal government) simply don't have the resources to match any of these scofflaws, win in court with the fucking evidence handed to them on a silver platter, and make an example of even one of these assholes and hold them liable for the costs of having to prosecute them. Nope. Instead CRA is going after ordinary schmucks for alleged Child Benefit "over-payments" and forcing people to jump through hoops to prove they're entitled to the money. Because these targets of harassment can't afford fancy lawyers and fight back. Predators go after the weak.

So yeah, I was interested to hear that super-corrupt SNC-Lavalin might have had a non-compliant Attorney-General/Justice Minister removed because she wouldn't act in their favour. I didn't know the whole story. These were rumours based on anonymous sources. But it was serious stuff.

I didn't even know Canada had Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA's)at the time this story came out. Turns out that was part of the plan of the giant Liberal omnibus bill. Just like harper's regime: Use a majority to ram-through lots of legislative changes with little parliamentary oversight or debate. DPA's were created at the behest of SNC-Lavalin by the way. So there's that. All-in-all, pretty sleazy.

Well, that's enough non-paying blogging for one day. I'll post this AZ-IZ and finish it in my own sweet time. You the few, proud and brave readers of mine can come back in a few days and it'll probably be finished.

Right. So, continuing ... In Canada the Attorney General also serves as Justice Minister. Supposedly this had its origins in Sir John A. [let's starve the Plains Indians to death] Macdonald wanting to have as much power centered on his own person or something like that. But it puts the Attorney General in a bind. As Justice Minister they have to support the government in which they serve while as the Attorney General they are expected, nay obligated, to enforce the law without fear or favour to any party, including their own.

Do you understand this? The Attorney General is supposed to protect the rule-of-law and not act in a partisan manner. This means (among other scenarios) that if a member of the government or one of its "friends" (such as a wealthy benefactor of the party who can also provide lucrative post-government employment to said government's members) violates the laws, the Attorney General must not bend the law to accommodate the government or its friends.

I'll now provide two sources to illustrate how this pertains to JWR and SNC-Lavalin. First of all, there's the Tyee, with a very restrained, objective summary of the events and their significance. In "Five Facts to Help You Assess the SNC-Lavalin Affair," Paul Willcocks offers analysis that both mitigates the extent of the scandal but also clearly illustrates the troubling aspects of the Trudeau government's behaviour. And it's because a certain faux-progressive, partisan wingnut has been screeching hysterically about how this is all a "fake scandal" that I will focus on what Willcocks shows is the scandalous part:

Second, it is wrong ethically — and perhaps legally — for those same people to press Wilson-Raybould to shut down the prosecution because it’s bad for the Liberal Party of Canada. That would be a fundamental subversion of the justice system, a confirmation that there is one law for the politically well-connected and another for the rest of us. Wilson-Raybould says that she was repeatedly pressured to intervene on the basis of partisan political interests.
As soon as politicians can decide who face charges and who doesn’t, justice ends and cronyism and corruption begin. Again, Wilson-Raybould’s evidence suggests that line was crossed by pressure from the most powerful long after her decision was made, including “veiled threats.”
No one has denied pressuring Wilson-Raybould or raising partisan political concerns as reasons to allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid prosecution. No one has challenged her evidence to the committee about meetings and phone calls and “veiled threats” aimed at heading off the criminal charges.
Perhaps they will. The justice committee will hear from more witnesses.

Again, the entire article looks at the issue as a whole and is quite objective and fair. I'll point out that Willcocks wrote his piece on March 4th and that Justin Trudeau's long-time friend and [now] former principal secretary Gerald Butts would testify before the Justice Committee on March 6th and attempt to challenge JWR's interpretation of events.

Now, for my next source, I'm sure Liberal partisans and apologists will sneer, but as I said here (and on other occasions), Andrew Coyne showed himself to be a principled defender of Parliament and a consistent critic of stephen harper's abuses of it. As such, while I have agreed with Trudeau-groupie Montreal Simon that some of Coyne's criticisms of Trudeau have been overblown or even unjust, I have no qualms on using him as a source here.

Coyne gets to the heart of the matter (and dismisses the rancid Liberal hypocrisy) in this editorial: "If the system truly worked it would not hang on the defiance of one woman":

One response is to say: the system worked! Rather than dwell on the many attempts by officials up to and including the prime minister to subvert a criminal prosecution for nakedly partisan ends, we should instead give thanks, it is suggested, that their efforts did not succeed.
The shields held, that is, despite his own best efforts, and those of the various other political staff, ministers and civil servants sent to undermine and overwhelm them. The shields, in fact, amounted to one person, Wilson-Raybould, and her refusal to submit to the demands of the prime minister and his delegates to do something unprecedented and probably unlawful: interfere in a prosecution to suit the partisan interests of the government.
This Liberal stupidity reminds me of the desperate flailing of harper-apologists when the Conservative's electoral fraud in 2011 election was being uncovered. Then, those shameless, stupid, anti-democratic scum farted out how it couldn't be proven that anybody sent to a phony voting address failed to vote and that therefore there was no crime. (I even recall the Con lawyer insisting that it was an insult to Canadians' democratic spirit to believe they'd let his party's criminal activity stymie our determination to exercise our franchise.)

Coyne continues:
So the glass may is 10 per cent full, perhaps. The former attorney general was indeed able, while she remained in office, to prevent the prime minister and his flunkies from trampling all over the independence of the prosecutor. The precedent was averted of a wealthy corporation with a history of bribery and corruption escaping prosecution by lobbying everything that moves and threatening to shift its headquarters out of a politically sensitive province.  ...  If the system were really working as it should, basic constitutional norms like prosecutorial independence would not hang on one woman’s defiance. If the system really worked, the minister of justice and attorney general of Canada would not have had to listen to lectures from unelected political staffers and supposedly non-partisan civil servants on the need to submit the rule of law to the higher demands of Liberal election strategy.
Coyne makes it crystal clear: The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary count for more than the government party's self-interest. Now, we can argue whether the Trudeau government really stepped over the line or not. But what brazen Liberal apologists are doing is showing us that they don't even understand the importance of this issue.

In a later editorial, "It was Wilson-Raybould's decision to make, as long as she decided it their way" Coyne examines Gerald Butts' [not under oath] testimony to the Justice Committee. Coyne argues that Butts' friendly, seemingly open manner betrayed a complete failure to appreciate the principle of judicial autonomy, incoherence, and a determined effort to not understand what constitutes "pressure" and what Wilson-Raybould said about it.

Pathetic Liberal hacks have made sport out of how JWR was only asked eleven times about her decision to allow prosecution against SNC-Lavalin. When you tell someone "It's your decision" and then you question that decision ELEVEN TIMES it should be clear to anyone who isn't a total shithead that the sentence "It's your decision" is a lie. And, when it's a decision made by the goddamned Attorney General and it is very much their decision by custom and convention and by the rule-of-law, then this constitutes interference.
The emphasis of Butts’s testimony was that the sustained and mounting pressure the former attorney general said she was under — from ministers, political staff, civil servants and the prime minister himself — was not really pressure at all. Or if it was, it was merely pressure to seek an outside legal opinion on the matter, perhaps from a former Supreme Court justice.
Various reasons were presented as to why this was justified. Wilson-Raybould had taken only 12 days to arrive at her decision not to overrule the DPP. The law permitting prosecutors to negotiate remediation agreements was “new,” having only been passed (in response to years of lobbying by SNC-Lavalin) earlier that year. Decisions on prosecutions are never final, but must be constantly reassessed in light of fresh evidence. And, of course, those 9,000 SNC-Lavalin jobs that were supposedly at stake. ... All of these may (or may not) be true. They’re just not anyone’s business but the attorney general’s, and the DPP’s. It is not relevant, as a matter of law, what the prime minister, or Butts, or anyone else outside the attorney general’s office, thinks about Wilson-Raybould’s decision-making process, or the new law, or what fresh evidence there might be. Those are considerations exclusively for the DPP, or in exceptional circumstances, the attorney general.
Just so, she was told: the decision was hers and hers alone to make. She was the “final decision-maker.” Only the decision was also “never final.” She could make it, that is, but she would have everyone from the prime minister on down coming back to her again and again — not because there was any fresh evidence, but just because they could — all the while implicitly questioning her judgment, in the sly form of that repeated suggestion that she seek an outside legal opinion.
This last is a distraction. The attorney general has available to her all the legal advice she requires. The only point of demanding she seek a second opinion was because they did not like the first.
And then there's Butts nonsensical testimony that it wasn't until 2019 that he learned of JWR's discomfiture:
Ah, but if she felt this was interference, Butts wondered aloud, why didn’t she tell anyone? If she had made up her mind, why didn’t she say anything?
According to her testimony, she did: to the prime minister, at their Sept. 17 meeting (“I told him that I had done my due diligence and made up my mind on SNC”); to the clerk, at the same meeting; to the finance minister on Sept. 19 (“I told him that engagements from his office to mine on SNC had to stop — that they were inappropriate”); to Matthieu Bouchard and Elder Marques, officials in the PMO, on Nov. 22 (“I said NO. My mind had been made up and they needed to stop – enough”); and to Butts himself, on Dec. 5 (“I needed everyone to stop talking to me about SNC as I had made up my mind and the engagements were inappropriate”).
Regardless of the obviousness of the truths that Coyne is telling, for some Liberal dead-enders, Butt's stupid, simpering testimony actually constituted "Blowing the fake scandal out of the water." It's everyone's right to question a legal decision. But in the process leading up to the making of any decision, the principle of the independence of the judiciary must be respected. This is especially so when the critic of the decision is the government. Butts demonstrates that he doesn't understand this and he willfully disregards JWR's testimony that she repeatedly told Trudeau, Butts and their henchmen to back-off.

Now, ex-Liberal blogger: The Mound of Sound has stated on several occasions that he's really not all that invested in this story. It's nothing compared to the scandal of the petro-state corruption that is causing Trudeau to betray the country and the world's future and push the carbon economy in the face of global warming. He's right about that. FWIW: I'm not all that consumed by it either. This country (and its progressives) have snored through the covering-up of torture and child-rape in Afghanistan. We have shrugged our shoulders (or cheered) the spitting upon responsible government. We have whined in impotence over the theft of the 2011 election. Contempt of Parliament. Global warming. Unilateral abrogation of treaties. Nothing is going to change. Certainly nothing I write is going to change anything.

What's motivated me to write is the sickening way that a former progressive comrade has mutated into a sickening embarrassment of a Liberal apologist. I have watched in dismay as Montreal Simon has ignored one Liberal scandal and betrayal after another to fixate on the way that the Conservatives have attacked Trudeau. Yes, Scheer and the Conservatives are disgusting. Yes; the Islamophobia, homophobia and the death-threats of these imbeciles are horrible things. But if you fail to honestly hold their opponents; the Liberals, the Greens, the Democrats, the NDP, whatever, to account, then your hypocrisy will only contribute to the stupid and useless polarization of our society into two warring-camps of idiots.

Regardless of what you might think about DPA's and their application to SNC-Lavalin; you MUST admit that even the potential of partisan interference in the Attorney-General's office on this is a serious issue. But from his very first post Simon has been carrying water for the Trudeau Liberals. Seeing the whole thing from the perspective of the Liberals. Instantly taking as gospel truth anything that undercuts JWR and that supports Trudeau. In short: shameless hackery.

In one of my first attempts to bring Simon back to reason as he began to soar to heights of partisan absurdity, he said "I haven't changed." That might be true. He despised the Conservatives and he still does. He never showed himself particularly interested in (or able to) critique anything more progressive than that.

Summarizing this hackery and its significance will be the topic of my next post.

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