Rex Murphy cuts loose in the National Post about the Trudeau Liberals’ insistence that their repeated interventions on the SNC-Lavalin file were driven by concern about the economic impact. He summarizes their fall-back position as: “We may have acted badly but our hearts were job pure.” But, he says, it’s completely absurd since they sat by idly, or perhaps smugly, as tens of thousands of jobs disappeared in Western Canada as pipeline projects failed and oil prices fell.
Murphy writes so well that one could enjoy even a column one thought mistaken. But this one certainly isn’t. It’s highly entertaining, even invoking Trudeau’s fondness for costume changes to describe the sudden pivot from being social justice warriors to middle-class job protectors. “You’re in the theatre, you’ve watched the first three acts of Hamlet, the curtain opens on Act 4, and it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” But the humour carries a serious edge. As Chesterton rightly said, the opposite of funny isn’t serious, it’s not funny.
As Murphy says, “Building pipelines involves jobs. The oilsands involve jobs — tens of thousands of jobs. Northern Gateway involved jobs. The Energy East pipeline involved jobs. Oil companies cancelling projects involved jobs. The flight of headquarters from Calgary involved jobs. The still-stalled Trans Mountain pipeline involves jobs. The most massive jobs hit in the Canadian economy, involving an entire industry, did not get 1/100 the prime attention that a single company, with a dubious reputation, already sanctioned outside Canada, and under investigation within, received.”
If they had cared about Western energy jobs, he points out, there was a lot they could have done. “Did they hound and set siege to the National Energy Board with the same ferocity and frequency the attorney general was subjected to for the benefit of SNC-Lavalin? Was the dark lord of the Privy Council on the phone to the head of the NEB reminding the board that there were massive jobs involved in all these impeded and cancelled projects?... Were they strong-arming the B.C. premier to lower his opposition to Trans Mountain? Were they back-dooring the legal system to hold off on nuisance lawsuits from environmentalists because … so many valuable Canadian jobs were at stake? Were they fighting the octopus green lobby’s relentless campaign against Canadian energy, speaking out in international forums against its propaganda? The answer to all these questions and a hundred similar ones is No.”
Maybe it’s time for Trudeau to lose the fancy dress and put on a statesman’s suit.