Politicians are people too — they just have bigger egos.
And, just like the rest of us, they’re far from perfect.
Take, for instance, “LavScam,” a tug of war between former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over how to deal with the criminal prosecution of Montreal based engineer and construction giant, SNC-Lavalin.
You’ve likely heard about the controversy that is currently rocking Ottawa.
If not, we’ll give you more on that later.
This is certainly not the first political scandal that has the potential to severely damage a government, and it likely won’t be the last.
Here are five other blunders in Canadian politics:
- Bev Oda’s Orange Juice
We know self-care is important, but one knows this better than Bev Oda. Throwback to 2011: the former cabinet minister had a treat yourself day at London’s Savoy Hotel with a $16 glass of orange juice and $1,000 in limousine rides—all on the taxpayer’s dollar. Glamorous! (Don’t worry, she eventually repaid the public purse).
- Maxime Bernier
You know what they say, love is blind. This was especially true for Maxime Bernier who left classified documents on the coffee table of his girlfriend Julie Couillard. When it later came out that she had links to Hells Angels, he was forced to resign. Talk about heartbreak.
The “little guy from Shawinigan” stayed a little too close to home. If I owned my own hotel and golf course, I imagine it would be hard to part ways too. Jean Chrétien faced accusations in the 1990’s of using his influence to seek financing from the Federal Business Development Bank for the hotel’s new owner. Despite an attempt to sell his shares, Chrétien was also a part owner of an adjacent golf course.
- Pacific Scandal
It is historically known that Sir John A. Macdonald suffered from alcoholism. So, it is likely he was drunk when his government accepted a contract from wealthy Montrealer Hugh Allan in exchange for more than $350,000 political donations.
Maybe he was just trying to get the hang of running a country too. We will never know.
- Schreiber Affair
Haven’t we all overlooked a few discrepancies over cold hard cash? It’s pretty tempting, even if you are a past Prime Minister. Brian Mulroney, who adopted the 1985 ethics code, was caught accepting cash stuffed envelopes from German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber after he left office.
I guess rules are meant to be broken, even if you are the one that implemented them in the first place!
So there you have it, some of the finest moments in political scandal history. You can decide if they are worth forgiving.
And now… back to LavScam.
Wilson-Raybould’s recent public testimony in front of Canada’s parliamentary justice committee spilled all the beans on how she felt the Prime Minister inappropriately pressured her a number of times to step outside of her impartial role and toss aside the criminal prosecution of SNC.
SNC-Lavalin allegedly paid millions of dollars in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to secure government contracts. It faces on charge of corruption under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act and one charge of fraud under the Criminal Code.
If convicted, SNC-Lavalin could be banned from bidding on federal contracts for up to 10 years.
Trudeau in response to her statement insisted that there was no wrongdoing on his part and that it is the government’s job to focus on jobs and growing the economy.
The riding of Papineau he represents is also located in Montreal, so if you put two and two together, you could see his concern over the engineering and construction giant getting convicted. It would likely leave Montreal and take jobs with them.
For the PM and the rest of his staff in this situation though, they kind of came off like the very persistent date that fails to understand you do not want to go out with them on a second date after you told them you are not interested the first ten times.