National Newswatch

The hole that Gerry Butts leaves behind

Feb 18 2019 — Stephen Maher — The second act of l’affaire SNC-Lavalin could be devastating for Trudeau, and it’s not clear he’ll be better off without his trusted advisor. Last week, I wrote here that Justin Trudeau needed a fall guy to take the blame in l’affaire SNC-Lavalin. Today, we learned who that fall guy is: principal secretary Gerald Butts, a […]

The silence/shame double bind for women in power

Feb 19 2019 — Linda Trimble — The saga unfolding around former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has been characterized as many things – evidence of the old guard that still pulls the levers in Ottawa, of the over-centralization of power in the PMO, and of hypocrisy in the Liberal government’s promises of reconciliation and feminist government. But it is also fundamentally […]

Gerald Butts was done in, at least partially, by the ethos of identity politics

Feb 19 2019 — Neil Macdonald — A good headline, like Varsol, cuts through the grease and varnish applied to any story by political or corporate message-crafters. So, my suggestion for the big political headline of the day: “Nothing Happened, So I’m Quitting” — Gerald Butts Now, Gerry Butts — until Monday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary — is a smart […]

Gerald Butts is trying to be a martyr. Voters are smarter than that

Feb 18 2019 — Lori Turnbull — In the latest development in the story involving the Prime Minister’s Office, Jody Wilson-Raybould and SNC-Lavalin, Gerald Butts has resigned. This is big news but not totally unexpected, given the magnitude of the political crisis. Someone had to go. In his departing statement via Twitter, the principal secretary to the Prime Minister denied that he […]

Gerald Butts: If thy right hand offend thee, pluck it out

Feb 18 2019 — Paul Wells — At any other time it’d be interesting to entertain a few notions of comparative PMO staffing. Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper shook up their senior staff regularly: Mulroney’s principal secretaries included Peter White, Tom Trbovich, Michel Roy and Hugh Segal; Harper made more frequent changes to his chiefs of staff but when Ray Novak moved […]

Why did Justin Trudeau cut off his right hand?

Feb 18 2019 — Globe and Mail — On Monday afternoon, another senior figure abruptly exited the Trudeau government. But, as with the departure last week of former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould, principal secretary Gerald Butts’s resignation is a move that is generating far more heat than light.

Butts is out, which only fuels further speculation

Feb 18 2019 — Lorne Gunter — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, has resigned. But, he says, it’s not because he’s done anything wrong in the SNC-Lavalin/Jody Wilson-Raybould affair. Uh, huh. Powerful people with nothing to hide resign all the time. In his resignation letter, posted online on Sunday, Butts insisted allegations he improperly pressured former Attorney General Jody […]

SNC-Lavalin scandal feels, and smells familiar

Feb 18 2019 — Dan Leger — As federal scandals go, the rampaging furor over who said what to influence a decision by former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould feels familiar. The facts are only vaguely understood, subject to partisan and geographical interpretation and the whole thing is drenched in hypocrisy. It seems likely that some sort of pressure was indeed applied to […]

Political whistleblowers deserve our thanks

Feb 17 2019 — Robin V. Sears — Politicians of all stripes love whistleblowers — until they are in power. Then the offending civil servant, public employee, or angry citizen becomes a “disloyal, illegal leaker!” Of all the many hypocritical hobby horses in political life there are few that can match this dichotomy. The Ford government was badly bruised this month when their […]

Why SNC-Lavalin deserves to avoid prosecution

Feb 17 2019 — Jaime Watt — This week has shown the Canadian public is resolved in its belief that politicians and public servants must, at first instance, be up to no good. Take the so-called scandal around the SNC-Lavalin matter, and the emerging consensus that the government has misbehaved from the get-go.