Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Sunday, May 22, 2016

For the good of the country, let us all hope the Rolling Stones are now too old to tour.

In conversation, I have called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ‘the Dauphin’ given that his only qualification before being elected as an MP was that he was his father’s oldest son, and whether  you agreed with Pierre Elliot Trudeau or not, he was brilliant intellectual and a Canadian parliamentarian of the first order. Certainly, nothing in Justin Trudeau’s career trajectory would lead one to assume parliamentarian was an objective let alone a career goal given the lack of heft to his political resume.

This is why Justin Trudeau always struck me as more Maggie’s Boy than Pierre’s.  And just like the Pierre, the country tired of Maggie’s antics very quickly.  Be that as it may be, never did I imagine the possibility that Justin Trudeau believed the people kicked out a dictator and elected him King.  My bad. 

Last week, we were treated to Trudeau’s wife pleading for funding a team to help her serve the people. A Chef, two nannies, a team of housekeepers as well as 1 personal assistant wasn’t enough for the un-elected spouse of a Prime Minister with no official role or responsibilities other than to her family and hobby ‘career’ and I due use the term ‘career’ in the loosest sense of the word.  In fact, being Prime Minister does not even require a spouse.  Many of our Prime Minister’s were spouseless. In fact, the elder Trudeau was first elected Prime Minister as a bachelor. 

Last week, when Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau whined for alleged entitlements, and given her rather bizarre behaviour of breaking out in song during a speech; it felt like it was shades of Margaret Trudeau all over again, and I thought, good G-d, did Justin Trudeau marry his mother? 

Nowhere is Trudeau’s lack of political and common sense more on display than the behaviour he exhibited this week in the House of Commons. His majority government nearly lost a vote when Team Trudeau couldn’t be bothered to show up enmass in the middle of a workday for a vote on a bill they proposed. The government’s defeat was only narrowly averted when the Speaker of the House voted to break the tie and sided with Team Liberal.

And then came Wednesday. Thirty seconds after the bell rings, and while the bell is still ringing, the Prime Minister rises from his seat, charges across the floor to barge into Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, and lays his hands forcefully on the opposition whip to drag him into his seat so the vote on a Liberal motion limiting Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition time to debate a forth coming right-to-die bill. In the process, he inadvertently strikes another MP in the chest.  All the while Liberal MPs pound on their desks cheering on the downright shameful behaviour of their leader. 

According to Parliamentary rules, if Liberal Government Whip Andrew Leslie had just sat down in his seat, the vote could have commenced immediately.  Parliamentary rules require only 1 whip needs to be seated before a vote can be cast.  And thirty 29 seconds after the bell rings does not seem to be an unreasonable delay.... as long as your birth certificate does not read entitlement  Justin Trudeau.

One could reasonably assume a Prime Minister, and as Liberal party leader had enough control over his own whip to ensure he was seated at the call to vote, and consequently, there was no need to cross over to the opposition side of the house to seek out a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to bully.  One could reasonably expect a Prime Minister would be familiar enough with the rules governing conduct in parliament but apparently knowing the rules of the house Justin Trudeau aspires to lead is not part of his resume. Hence, both reasonableness and irony are lost in the SunnyWays of the Justin Trudeau government.

In Canada, the head of our government is her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll.  We are a constitutional parliamentary monarchy and not a republic. The opposition parties are always referred her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. It seems an archaic way of speaking and harbours back to a time so long ago its rationale is lost and forgotten by most, but the reason we maintain this tradition, is remind ourselves, that good subjects can disagree on points of law and hold differing opinion which are as valid as the majority opinions, although not necessarily binding under the laws which govern our country.  Opposition MP’s collectively represent citizens who are not in agreement with the majority, but who still have the right to be consulted and heard.  It is the duty of her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to oppose and utilize any parliamentary tools at their disposal in fulfilling their duties in parliament. 

A Prime Minister should never exercise his privilege to abrogate the rights or responsibilities of opposition parties.  In the past, when the Liberals and NDP did they stint as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition those rules worked for them. The fact that the Liberals now find those rules inconvenient only prove  the conclusion those rules are needed more than ever.

Due to the Prime Minister’s own antics, he has proven the aptness of the Conservative party’s ad advising Canadians that Justin Trudeau is  ‘Just Not Ready’ to be Prime Minister. And they ought to know, given they were tasked to work with him in a previous parliament.

I will give the Prime Minister credit for one thing. He’s good at apologizing and since we are Canadians, perhaps it is time for a Ministry of Official Apologies to be established - given the Prime Minister’s  baleful ignorance of house rules and we still have 4 and half more years of his governance.  In the end, it will save us all time.

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