THUNDER BAY – OPINION – If Justin Trudeau were to fire Defense minister Harjit Sajjan for public lying, he should also fire himself. That seems unlikely.
What is Sajjan’s offense? He exaggerated about his military accomplishments as an army officer in Afghanistan. He exaggerated in a self-promoting way about long-ago events. That’s not admirable, but hardly unusual.
Compare this to the cabinet benchmark set by now-Prime-Minister Justin Trudeau. The Liberal leader said, publicly and repeatedly, that 2015 would be the last federal election under First Past the Post rules. He said a Liberal government would act swiftly to make every citizen’s vote count – the very definition of proportional representation in the House of Commons..
Trudeau’s pledge on behalf of the entire Liberal Party was, as it turned out, a blatant public lie. Trudeau has since admitted that he was and remains an advocate of the Alternative Vote . That’s First Past the Post on steroids, a phony reform guaranteeing that up to half of all voters in every riding remain unable to elect the MP they prefer… a favouring the centrist main party to boot, of course!
Trudeau’s government realized it couldn’t justify or sell that flimsy piece of fakery — and instead chose to do nothing. The Liberals are leaving the once-condemned First Past the Post scheme, and their own undeserved domination of the House of Commons, intact.
To render this policy reversal irreversible – or at least as permanent as his own leadership of the Liberal Party – Trudeau asserted that proportional representation of voters in the House of Commons would be “bad for Canada.”
Justin Trudeau did not say why he found it necessary in 2015 to promise Canadians proportional representation – because there obviously is no honourable explanation.
Having authored such a big and consequential public lie, however, Trudeau made it difficult to rebuke or punish Harjit Sajjan for a much smaller and far, far less consequential one.
Bruce Hyer is the Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada and the former MP for the Thunder Bay Superior North riding.