The line has been crossed

We have finally received comment from our backbencher MP about the SNC-Lavalin/Liberal scandal in a recent article. Unsurprisingly, he said that the Liberals didn’t “cross the line”, but were instead “…just following the normal course of business of advocating for your constituents”*. After waiting over a month while the scandal unfolded, I expected a stronger update from our MP and I am disappointed that a larger conversation with Guelph hasn’t taken place. We deserve a leader who can stand up for Guelph and collaborate with the electorate on difficult issues.

An issue that has created this much attention should be given the priority to have a town hall or open Q&A period. The disadvantage to having a closed interview is that it doesn’t allow a conversation to be had with the electorate and keeps the issue moving. Regardless of political lines, a lot of people have lost trust in the government based on this SNC-Lavalin/Liberal scandal and a quick article does not allow Guelph voices to be heard.

During his victory speech after election, our MP had touted collaboration using technology and town halls – using these mechanisms to explain the scandal could have gone a long way to show Guelph the importance of the issue.

The article justified the scandal by putting forward the notion that PM Trudeau was advocating for citizens, and in particular his constituents. Our MP pondered, “At what point is it interference and at what point is it just following the normal course of business of advocating for your constituents?”  This question would be valid had it not been on behalf of an illegal activity. The notion that a MP’s job is to circumvent judicial process and advocate to reduce sentences seems out of touch and outright wrong.

MPs do have a responsibility to their constituents and to ensure jobs are safe, but not to intervene to soften prosecution for an illegal activity.  In this case the ends do not justify the means, and by no means should the rule of law be contravened to save jobs. Once our leaders begin to make exceptions and use influence to achieve their version of the greater good we lose our identity and our ability to be democratic.

The SNC-Lavalin/Liberal scandal is a complex issue with a lot of moving pieces. The public needs to properly informed of what happened and why. The story continues to become more intriguing as we continue learning pertinent details. The government has not done a good job of communicating and had they been transparent the public wouldn’t feel a deepening sense of distrust.

Guelph needs a leader who is willing to stand before the public and have a conversation about what transpired in real terms.

*Original story can be found on Guelph Today March 12, 2019 (https://www.guelphtoday.com/local-news/guelph-mp-convinced-feds-did-not-cross-the-line-in-snc-lavalin-controversy-1316749)