Skip to main content

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons this week.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

It would take a significant amount of willful blindness at this point to convince oneself that the new Liberal government doesn't carry the DNA of Liberal governments of old. The party that came to power on a promise of kinder, gentler politics has shown itself perfectly capable of resorting to the hoariest of old-style tactics.

A debate in the Commons this week on a Conservative motion is the latest example. The motion called on Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to apologize for attending a $500-a-person fundraising reception held by a prominent Toronto law firm on April 7, and to return the money raised by the event.

This is a valid issue for the opposition to raise. Ms. Wilson-Raybould, who also serves as Attorney-General, met with lawyers, a group that is a stakeholder in the departments she oversees. Among other responsibilities, the Minister names lawyers to judgeships. There was a conflict of interest for her to be the star attraction at this fundraising event.

Story continues below advertisement

So what do the Liberals do? They deflect. They argued the event didn't violate Parliament's conflict-of-interest rules, which is true except that those rules are narrow and also completely at odds with the Liberals' self-imposed Open and Accountable Government rules. Those rules state that "ministers … must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government."

Ms. Wilson-Raybould argued emptily that she attended the event as an MP, not as the Minister, without explaining why lawyers in Toronto would have an interest in meeting the representative for the West Coast riding of Vancouver Granville.

The Liberals also struck back with the preposterous accusation, made by Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef, that the motion was "a vicious and unfounded attack on an indigenous leader." It was a shameless implication of racism that was unworthy of parliamentary debate.

Couple this episode with the Liberals' less than forthcoming ways on the Saudi Arabian arms deal and the appeal of a controversial court ruling regarding residential school compensation, and a pattern emerges. Arrogance, deflection, opaqueness. It's all very Liberal indeed.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter