I’ve never been a fan of Julie Payette’s appointment to be Governor General. There were too many questions raised by even a simple vetting, a vetting that the Trudeau Liberals obviously never completed.
My bigger problem now though is that Justin Trudeau is doing what he does to every woman who he sees as getting in his way, he’s trying to fire her but he doesn’t have the power. Since he can’t fire her, Trudeau and his office are trying to push Payette out with a sustained campaign of leaks.
Started as a distraction
It started in the summer, in the middle of the WE Scandal. You could plot it out, every single time the WE story would heat up and make Trudeau look bad, a leak on the GG would drip out, normally to CBC.
Trudeau has found a way to deal with the WE Scandal, he prorogued Parliament to shut down the committees and struck a deal with the NDP to stop further investigation. But Payette is still there.
Why won’t she just get under the bus he has parked on the driveway of Rideau Hall so he can drive over her?
These stories are based on leaks with an agenda
This week CBC is reporting on material that could only come from the inside.
First they had the story that the GG has retained the services of former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache to consult on constitutional issues. I’ll explain why that is fairly normal in a moment.
Secondly, they have details about the hiring of lawyers and communications advisors to deal with the ongoing investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace.
CBC shouldn’t talk
So many things to unpack here but let me start with the obvious. CBC should not be reporting on anyone or any organization regarding a toxic workplace. CBC should not be running stories lecturing any other government body on hiring of expensive outside counsel, last time I asked for that kind of info it was denied.
Yet CBC wants to hold every other government institution to a standard they won’t live up to.
Now let’s get back to what they are reporting about the GG. Let’s start with hiring Bastarache to advise and assist on constitutional issues related to this workplace review.
“My mandate is to ensure that the independence and integrity of the institution are not adversely affected by the process created by the Privy Council,” he told Radio-Canada in French.
Bastarache said he will be there to ensure that the review does not violate the constitutional protections enjoyed by Payette, and to prevent her from becoming personally involved in the process.
Now there is only one way that CBC’s French arm would get this and that is from a leak. This leads to the questions who would know about this contract and who would benefit from a story portraying the hiring of Bastarache as a bad thing.
The answer to those two questions is the Privy Council Office, otherwise known as the prime minister’s department. If PCO knows then the PMO knows and that makes this a very political leak.
Concerted campaign by Trudeau
This is part of the ongoing process by the Trudeau PMO/PCO to paint Payette as someone who wastes taxpayer dollars. We have a government that took spending through the roof and blew past deficit targets long before COVID-19 made that mandatory.
Is it crazy that Payette would seek constitutional advice as a different branch of government is actively trying to undermine her and the office she represents? No, not at all.
I’ve never seen a Governor General who is also a constitutional scholar so getting advice is part of the process and one that past GGs have availed themselves of at times. There were stories about Michaelle Jean consulting widely on the Harper prorogation.
Why hire lawyers?
Then we have the second story on hiring lawyers and communications advisors.
One of the communications advisors is Karl Bélanger, the long time NDP comms advisor. Bélanger is someone who worked alongside Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair for years and knows what he is doing.
Were I drafting a political comms team, I’d pick Karl. He’s been paid $5,000 since August. Pretty sure I could find waste among CBC’s expenses totaling far more than that with just a couple of minutes worth of access.
This story though, like the hiring of Bastarache, reeks of a leak from Trudeau’s people in PMO or PCO. Either way, this is a story to serve the interests of Trudeau.
The GG’s office doesn’t have its own legal department and is facing an investigation from a third party group hired by Trudeau’s people. According to the CBC story, these legal bills are to help ensure legal issues, privacy and HR issues are handled properly.
Some might argue that Rideau Hall could have used government lawyers to do the same. That’s true but overlooks some key points.
First off, the $74,500 paid to the legal firm Blake’s would be less than a rounding error for what the Justice Department pays of outside counsel on an annual basis. Yes, the Justice Department regularly hires outside lawyers.
Secondly, if Rideau Hall did use Justice Department lawyers their fees would be charged to Rideau Hall by the Justice Department and very well could have ended up including outside counsel.
Trudeau is using leaks and CBC to further his political agenda
What is really happening here is that Trudeau is using CBC, his favourite broadcaster and one that he’s given hundreds of millions of extra dollars to since coming to office, to launder a narrative that will build support for one idea.
That idea is that Julie Payette must go.
People who disagreed with me when I spoke out against Payette’s appointment are now telling me she must be fired or forced out by Trudeau. His campaign is working, at least in the realm of public opinion.
The difference between Payette and other women that Trudeau has wanted to do away with to keep pushing his feminist agenda is that he cannot fire her.
This is why the hiring of Bastarache is so important, it is protect the integrity of the office.
I may think that Payette should never have been given the job but I’ll be damned if I will support the idea that the prime minister of the day can ditch the GG at a whim.
Regardless of what you think of the appointment, all Canadians who want our system to continue functioning should be on Team Payette.