Former attorney general Jody Raybould-Wilson (JWR) secretly recorded her colleague Michael Wernick, which she later revealed to substantiate her belief that justice was being compromised. She was then sacked from the Liberal caucus along with her fellow MP and ally Jane Philpott.
Where do the local candidates stand on the SNC-Lavalin affair?
Liberal Connie Denesiuk still stands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
NDP incumbent Richard Cannings thinks Trudeau’s damage control strategy has been
Conservative Helena Konanz says the whole ordeal “has given a bad name to all politicians, which is really sad.”
Should politicians be secretly recording their colleagues?
Denesiuk said she would never secretly record a colleague. She believes JRW should have told Wernick the call was being recorded.
When Konanz was asked if she would ever secretly record a colleague, she said she would “never do anything that’s illegal, or participate in anything that’s illegal.”
Secretly recording phone calls or conversations isn’t illegal though, as long as one participant is aware.
Cannings can’t imagine why an MP from his party would ever have to secretly record a colleague because the NDP isn’t in bed with big business. He wouldn’t speculate on whether or not he would covertly tape a political colleague, “But I can understand (JWR’s) motives. She had been repeatedly pressured – when she heard Wernick was calling she thought, ‘well I better record this.’ She felt she was being threatened, and felt she needed some evidence to back up her position.”
Regardless of the motive behind the secret recording, Denesiuk called it unethical and said it was the “tipping point” that got JWR and Philpott removed from the Liberal caucus.
Is Trudeau a feminist?
Denesiuk says yes.
“I think that being a feminist doesn’t mean you never disagree with someone simply because they’re female,” she said.
Cannings believes Trudeau underestimated the strength of the dissenting women in his cabinet, but “I don’t know if I want to get into what the definition of what a feminist is.”
“Whether Justin Trudeau is not being a feminist or just being arrogant – I’ll leave for others to decide,” he said.
Konanz said the legitimacy of Trudeau’s feminism is up to voters to decide. She believes feminism is an important quality for a Prime Minister to possess, but doesn’t necessarily agree with a gender-balanced cabinet. She said there are many strong women in the Conservative Party who would make great cabinet ministers, and they would be appointed to cabinet “not to fill a quota but actually because they’re the right people for that role,” she said. “I would rather be a woman that’s promoted on merit and not on a quota.”
Cannings believes the attorney general was inappropriately pressured to skirt the rule of law
Trudeau must have initially assumed JWR and Philpott would back down when they realized they might lose their positions in cabinet, Cannings suspects, so the Prime Minister “doubled down” on his attempt to undermine the two women.
“Every day there was something new. The Prime Minister said ‘This never happened, she was never pressured.’ Then there was clear evidence she was pressured.”
Cannings believes Trudeau and the Liberal Party have done a poor job handling the entire situation.
“A real meaningful apology would have gone a long way to solving this weeks ago. Instead Trudeau went the other way, said it didn’t happen, and tried to trash the reputation of both of them. And it came to this. Kind of astounding.”
Denesiuk not deterred
The local Liberal candidate realizes her party has taken a hit in opinion polls over the scandal but she still feels optimistic about the October election. Denesiuk says her campaign will focus largely on local issues. And no matter which leader is at the helm, Denesiuk said she will always “hold strongly to the Liberal values.”