Beyond Partisan Politics – A Duty to Govern

Members of Parliament (MP) are elected to carry out the business of the country, whether it be part of the government’s executive branch as Ministers, as backbenchers in the governing party or as members of the opposition. Regardless of their specific responsibilities all MPs have a role in “governing” – and governing is much more than merely passing laws. Governing ranges from the effective delivery of federal programs and services, to the policies and approaches that foster our economic and national security, to ensuring that those entrusted with leading the charge embody the values of honesty and integrity that Canadians expect. Any attempt to characterize the questioning, challenging or review of these critical elements as “partisan” or “petty politics” must be vehemently rejected. Replaced instead with– “that’s a reasonable question….why won’t the government provide an answer?”

In the midst of this pandemic, a number of reasonable questions remain outstanding, glaring in the government’s failure to provide any answers.

COVID-19 Response

Canada lags significantly behind the US and the UK in fully vaccinating our population. Further the vaccine manufacturers prescribed 3 weeks between first and second doses, but Canada has authorized four months between doses without any supporting scientific evidence making us the only country to do so. The legitimate questions: Why has Canada not been able to secure the same level of vaccine doses in the same timeframe as our peers? How does the government know that Canadians won’t suffer any adverse effects from vaccine doses being administered at any period greater than 3 weeks?

COVID-19 Economic Recovery

Canadians need to look no further than our neighbour to the south to see that economically we are failing to keep pace with our peers. The US has already experienced record air travel and allowed for the broad opening of restaurants and businesses, and large event gatherings. The US government has provided a clear plan and guidelines for how, when and under what conditions their country will reopen. The Canadian government has not. Every minute that Canada lags behind the US in opening will have severe and long-lasting effects on our economic recovery. The legitimate questions without a government response: What is Canada’s re-opening plan? When and under what conditions will Canada re-open the border with the US and other countries?

No Accountability for Abuse of Power

Under this government, incidents of unchecked abuse of authority at the highest levels have been reported. Allegations of serious misconduct at the highest levels in the Canadian Armed Forces, where the Minister, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister and a Clerk of the Privy Council were made aware, but did nothing to resolve them, and have not been held accountable for their failure to act. A toxic work environment in the office of the Governor General, resulted in her abrupt resignation but how that occurred remains unanswered. Ethics investigations and violations of the Prime Minister and a number of his Ministers surrounding the WE Charity and Aga Khan without any serious consequences. The removal of a Minister, Jody Wilson Raybould for standing for what is right in the SNC Lavalin issue while those who unlawfully pressured her to break the law have not been held accountable. These are merely a few examples.

Each of these incidents on their own are severe and should have been addressed decisively but taken together they represent a pattern of behaviour that must not be ignored. At their core, they are all an unchecked abuse of power at the highest levels. Ministers, Governor in Council appointments and senior public servants are entrusted with every aspect of running our country. If they fail to do so honourably every Canadian value is at risk. The legitimate questions: Why has no one been held accountable in any of these cases and if this is what we know – what don’t we know? How many other Ministers and senior government officials are abusing their authority – unchecked?

These are serious questions that strike at the heart of how our country operates and what we stand for as a nation. The government’s attempt to diminish the severity by characterizing them as petty partisan politics, rather than providing comprehensive answers is an abrogation of their sacred responsibility to govern.