Martyn Brown: Lametti lounges on the Leaky Ship Liberal, as Puglaas issues an SOS

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      We’ve all seen the video of the Viking Sky cruise-ship disaster.

      The water rushing in. The chaotic scenes from the bow as the ship is tossed to-and-fro. The helpless tub, dead in its tracks, threatening to crash on the rocks. 

      Ah, yes. The Leaky Ship Liberal.

      Perilously listing. Its passengers screaming for help. A showpiece of negligence and neglect, going nowhere fast. 

      With Captain Trudeau asleep at the wheel and his first mate Lametti lounging as it leaks. Both are completely confounded by the sudden turn of events that has set their once proud and seemingly invincible ship-of-state reeling.

      Holy crap. Now we learn that the former chair of the Liberal Agency of Canada audit committee is bolstering calls for a public inquiry into the LavScam debacle.

      Do they even know how ridiculous they look, trying to maintain a stiff upper lip while doing diddly squat to respond to their government’s latest self-inflicted catastrophe?

      Do they have the faintest clue how inept, insensitive, and foolhardy they appear in posing as mere bystanders in the accident-in-the-making in the name of the partisan flag now in tatters?

      I am referring of course to the appalling attempt by some unknown miscreant to discredit former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould by leaking confidential information aimed at painting Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench as an avowed enemy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      If you are not yet quite up to speed on that fiasco—perhaps, because you’ve been too busy throwing up from the other endless sickening swells in the LavScam disaster—you can learn all about it here, here and here

      The attacks on Justice Joyal were vicious, malicious, and possibly criminal in their motivation, in their abuse of power and position, and in their potentially defamatory content and design.

      They were enough to prompt him to respond with remarkable self-restraint, “I fear that someone is using my previous candidacy to the Supreme Court of Canada to further an agenda unrelated to the appointment process. This is wrong.” 

      They were enough to prompt Conservative MP Lisa Raitt to write to Marc Giroux, Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, urging him to investigate the matter.

      He responded by stressing that “The release of any such confidential information is wholly inappropriate,” but that “in light of [his] particular role and [its] enabling statute, he is “not in a position to accede to [Raitt’s] request to investigate”. 

      The deputy leader of the Conservatives, Lisa Raitt, wants an investigation into the leak concerning the chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

      And what of the intended target of the Liberals’ scurrilous leaks intended to present her as a de facto anti-Liberal, whose own first choice as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada was supposedly someone who stood to undermine Trudeau’s father’s proudest legacy? 

      Puglaas has proved yet again that she is a woman of dignity, sound bearing, and righteous resolve who is not to be trifled with or so easily disparaged by those on her Liberal “team” (“more united than ever!”) who are so intent on doing her harm. 

      She forcefully responded with a call to investigate the breach of confidence, to find the leaker, and to hold him or her or them duly accountable. We should expect no less of her, as someone who could give current attorney general David Lametti lessons in what the office she held really demands in its leader. 

      “I do feel compelled to say that I have not—as some have suggested—been the source of any of these stories, nor have I ever authorized any person to speak on my behalf,” she said.

      “I strongly condemn anyone who would speak about or provide information on such sensitive matters. Any commentary/reporting in this regard with respect to a SCC [Supreme Court of Canada] appointment(s) could compromise the integrity of the appointments process, our institutions and potentially sitting justices.” 

      And JWR and Raitt were far from the only persons sending out an SOS. 

      Others called out the nefarious leakers and urged the prime minister and Lametti to act.

      The Canadian Bar Association offered this condemnation:

      “There is a process to get informed input about the merits of the applicants. It rightly goes on behind closed doors. Keeping the deliberations confidential respects the privacy of applicants and guards against interference,” said CBA president Ray Adlington.

      “Breaching confidentiality by releasing the names and commenting on the suitability of the other applicants after the appointment demeans the selection process and ultimately all those who hold the office of judge.” 

      The Law Society of Manitoba issued this statement:

      “The Law Society of Manitoba is very concerned when circumstances arise that will weaken the public’s confidence in the administration of justice. A highly confidential process has been established to encourage the best and brightest candidates to put their names forward for appointment to all levels of courts.

      “The integrity of that process is called into question when the confidentiality of deliberations and discussions about candidates appears not to have been maintained.

      “Confidentiality is critical to protecting the reputation of all applicants including sitting judges, who are not able to respond to unjust criticism. The aspersions cast in recent media reports on Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench represent an unwarranted attack on a distinguished judicial career.”

      Oh, yes. Trudeau’s leakers also had no compunctions about compromising CTV’s journalistic best interests in choosing that esteemed forum as the most suitable outlet for their spurious counter-rationale for JWR’s supposed longstanding friction with the prime minister.

      A false twist on the true treachery, as it were, that was supposed create new cover for Trudeau’s firing of the main person who could be trusted to protect the rule of law and the independence of her office as Canada’s first Indigenous attorney general.

      David Lametti was sworn in as attorney general and justice minister at Rideau Hall as Justin Trudeau looked on.
      Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office

      Yet despite that crescendo of outrage crying out for action, echoed by so many pundits, columnists, and others, what have we heard in response from Trudeau and Lametti? 

      After three days, no less?

      Absolutely nothing of hard consequence.

      Neither Trudeau nor Lametti apparently have any intention of investigating that wanton breach of public trust.

      They have so far failed to take any action to investigate that egregious violation of personal privacy and that calculated smear on a sitting justice and on JWR, which is at its core yet another deliberate affront to justice.

      Lametti’s Twitter response was pathetic.

      It was as weak as Trudeau’s mealy-mouthed prattle that could be interpreted as he damn well knows or suspects that the leaks came from within his own office. And it seems he won’t be doing anything to try to identify and potentially prosecute the person(s) responsible.

      Watch Lisa Raitt tell CTV why she thinks there needs to be an investigation.

      This, from the guy who only last month waxed on about his father’s deep commitment to justice.

      Who bleated that “those principles of justice are fundamental to me in what we are as a country, what we want to be as a society. And I have spent my entire political career fighting for justice and for people … the SNC-Lavalin file was not an exception.”

      Some fight. He has done more in his single term in office to erode Canadians’ confidence in justice and the rule of law than any other prime minister in living memory.

      Meanwhile, the whole Liberal crew hides behind the ludicrous tweets of Sheila Copps, who seems to be quite comfortable debasing herself with no end of attacks aimed at discrediting JWR and former treasury board president Jane Philpott and driving them both out of caucus.

      The party that once held itself above all others as a moral force of international repute is now a rudderless vessle awash in its own bilge water.

      It doesn’t look, act, or smell anything like its former “renewed” post-Adscam, self. And that won’t change as long as the guy with the real dirt on his hands is at the helm.

      His arrogance knows no bounds, as he demonstrated yet again at the Liberal fundraiser in which he laughed off protesters from the Grassy Narrows First Nation who were concerned about mercury contamination in their communities with the sarcastic dismissal: “Thank you very much for your donation tonight. I really appreciate the donation to the Liberal Party of Canada.”

      This is what it’s come to, really? Making jokes aimed at disparaging Indigenous peoples whose health is being threatened by mercury poisoning and tainted water supplies that successive governments have done nothing about?

      Yeah, that’ll go a long way to advancing the goal of reconciliation.

      Despite his belated apology after getting pounded by all who watched the clip, that type of “leadership” goes a long to explaining why Trudeau’s approval rating is now lower than Donald Trump’s, according to one new poll.

      I say again, it ought to be Trudeau who walks the plank if his battered ship is to have any chance of winning back the public confidence needed to convince Canadians it’s safe to ride for another term in government.

      And if the contrast between Puglaas and Lametti previously flattered the former, the latter is now also looking like he might be unworthy of the independent office that he was invited to uphold.

      Get off your sorry butt and at least pretend that you are not so afraid to offend your sinking captain by getting to the bottom of this matter that was so wrongly initiated under his watch and in his perceived partisan interests.

      Like the greater LavScam scandal that gave rise to this new wrongdoing, this fiasco threatens to corrode and degrade all it touches in its filthy wake.

      Anyone involved in it deserves to be royally keelhauled.

      Martyn Brown was former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell’s long-serving chief of staff, the top strategic adviser to three provincial party leaders, and a former deputy minister of tourism, trade, and investment. He also served as the B.C. Liberals' public campaign director in 2001, 2005, and 2009, and in addition to his other extensive campaign experience, he was the principal author of four election platforms. Contact him via email at