Justin Trudeau says Michael Wernick will retire as top civil servant—and there was no devilish impulse to push him out

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      Sometimes, the devil is in the details.

      Less than a week ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article in which Lucifer himself offered political advice to Justin Trudeau to deal with the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

      Foremost was a recommendation to dump the clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, who was deeply involved in this political mess.

      The devil told Trudeau that he had to fire Wernick for this scandal to die down.

      "The public wants a corpse," Lucifer said, "and for you to show that you realize what you did was wrong."

      Today, Trudeau declared that Wernick had announced his "upcoming retirement following nearly 38 years of distinguished public service".

      So no, Canada's top civil servant wasn't fired. He just chose to take his pension voluntarily in the midst of the biggest headache of Trudeau's political career.

      The incoming clerk of the Privy Council will be Ian Shugart.

      Trudeau also appointed Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray to cabinet today.

      Coincidentally, she also came up in the devil's conversation with Trudeau.

      Justin Trudeau overlooked Joyce Murray when he chose his first cabinet, but now she's made it into the inner circle.
      Stephen Hui

      Lucifer told Trudeau last week that he had appointed too many featherweights to his inner circle.

      "Who should I have put in cabinet?" Trudeau asked.

      "David McGuinty. Judy Sgro. Wayne Easter. Arif Virani. Joyce Murray. Adam Vaughan. Anthony Housefather," Lucifer responded. "I could give you more names if you like."

      "No. That's enough," Trudeau replied.

      So far, the prime minister still hasn't followed up on some of the devil's other tips, such as being photographed with skater Patrick Chan and former Liberal cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal.

      Nor has Trudeau reappointed Jody Wilson-Raybould as attorney general, despite a suggestion to do this by Straight contributor Martyn Brown.

      But the Liberal head honcho took one step closer to doing this by naming a former justice minister and attorney general, Anne McLellan, to review whether those offices should be separated.

      That could conceivably clear the way for Wilson-Raybould's return to cabinet, depending on how forgiving Trudeau can be.