It's all "Bullshit Theater." CBC columnist, Neil Macdonald, revives John Turner's term for politics in the public forum in dissecting the antics of Andrew Scheer and the NDP's Charlie Angus over what has now become known as LavScam.
In Scheer's estimation, the prime minister is "disgraced," up to "something sinister," running a coverup, and corrupt in the manner of a Third World despot. Trudeau, Scheer tells us, pressures, harasses, subverts the law and gags elected MPs. And he should be investigated for what are clearly crimes, something Scheer has written to the RCMP demanding.
Now, Trudeau might not be a particularly inspiring, or even articulate fellow. His gurgly moralizing is aggravating. But a sinister, disgraced, subversive, corrupt criminal? Because he tried to get his justice minister to change her decision about a prosecution, to persuade her to use a new law the Conservatives supported, then eventually accepted her decision, and then moved her to Veterans Affairs, an assignment she herself, truth-teller that she is, said at the time was not a demotion?
...With Scheer heading the opposition, we are supposed to forget that the government his party formed under Stephen Harper happily imposed its will on Canada's judiciary, using minimum-sentencing legislation to interfere with judicial discretion.
Or that Harper's Conservatives, having denounced Belinda Stronach for crossing the floor to join the Liberal government in 2005 (a betrayal of her constituents, we were told) happily received Liberal David Emerson, who crossed to join Harper's government in 2006, and then booted Conservative MP Garth Turner from the caucus after he protested (speaking truth to power, really) that Emerson should seek a new mandate from his constituents, the way the party had argued Stronach should have.
To be clear, Trudeau's mob is no different. They went from screeching that the Mike Duffy affair was proof of utterly corrupt government, and declaring that the Canadian people demand transparency and answers from Harper, to running an administration at least as opaque and secretive, once in power.
...If Scheer ever does achieve power, it's a safe bet he'll exercise the same sort of top down control every other prime minister does. Does anyone believe he won't? That he wouldn't, perhaps, order Tory MPs on the Justice committee to abruptly adjourn rather than take more political damage? I humbly suggest he would.
He goes on to quote University of Ottawa political scientist, David Moscrop, who said, "If you were to put Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, and Jagmeet Singh beside Bob Stanfield, Pierre Trudeau and … Ed Broadbent, I know what team I'd pay attention to."
Only technique has changed, he says. Now, whenever the opposition (or the governing party) has a fit of outrage, they do two things:
"They immediately send out a fundraising request expressing the outrage and asking for five dollars, and they create a data-mining site."
Example: LetHerSpeak.Ca, the website set up by the Conservatives (although you have to go right to the end of the page, and examine the shaded fine print, to find out who's behind it, which is sort of a tacit acknowledgement of opposition credibility).
The nominal purpose of the site is to help The Canadian People demand that Trudeau un-gag Wilson-Raybould, because, you know, she really hasn't had a chance to speak much. Coincidentally, the site gives voters a chance to disclose their names, email addresses and postal codes. If they haven't read the shaded fine print at the bottom, and don't know they're supplying data to Conservative election campaign managers, well, they should buy reading glasses.
"It's the new frontier of bullshit," says Moscrop.
And we journalists are all just theatre critics.