Will Singh And Blanchet Cover Up Corruption?

November 1st, 2019 | RR

As the new minority parliament sets to convene, one question voters and opposition leaders need to ask is: what about SNC-Lavalin? Now that the Trudeau government no longer has a majority, it no longer has the power to shut down a public inquiry into the scandal. If opposition parties wanted to, they could vote on a motion that forces an inquiry. Liberals will also lose seats on most of the committees, meaning that their ability to interfere or tamper with an investigation would be limited. If there was ever a good time to open an inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin scandal, it would be now. We know Andrew Scheer is eager to do it, but what about Jagmeet Singh and Yves-Francois Blanchet?

The wildcards in a possible inquiry are Jagmeet Singh and Yves-Francois Blanchet. We already know that Yves-Francois Blanchet would be reluctant without first polling the Bloc's rabid base of separatists to find out if they are alright with a federal inquiry into their province's most prized multi-national corporation. Chances are, Quebeckers don't give a shit about how corrupt SNC-Lavalin is, was, or will be. The whole scandal is a Canadian issue more than a Quebec issue, so I wouldn't count on the Bloc supporting an inquiry.

The sad reality is that NDP and Conservative seats don't even match the Liberal Party's 157 when combined. Together, Conservatives and New Democrats only have 145 seats—but that doesn't mean all hope is lost.

Aside from forcing an inquiry through a motion in parliament, opposition parties could demand an independent inquiry with the ultimate consequence for Trudeau being a no-confidence vote if he refuses.

If Blanchet were to allow his caucus an open, free vote on an inquiry, opposition parties would only need 13 Bloc MPs on their side. That doesn't include the 3 Green seats in parliament. With the Green Party on board, only 10 Bloc MPs would need to vote in favour of an inquiry. Had the Liberals won fewer seats, we wouldn't need to be doing this kind of math and relying on separatists from Quebec to push for an inquiry into a Quebec corporation—but this is our reality now.

These are some scenarios that could result in a successful inquiry into Trudeau's SNC-Lavalin scandal.

A Free Bloc Vote

If Blanchet wants to play both sides, he should allow his caucus to vote however they choose when faced with a motion that pushes for an inquiry into SNC-Lavalin. If he forces them to vote one way, he risks alienating the segment of Quebec voters who would like to see an inquiry into Justin Trudeau's corruption. If he forces them to vote in favour of an inquiry, it may alienate the hardcore Quebec separatists who don't care how many laws SNC-Lavalin breaks or how many politicians they try to buy.

Blanchet's safest bet is to allow a free vote.

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"Chances are, Quebeckers don't give a shit about how corrupt SNC-Lavalin is, was, or will be. ."

Again, though, it depends on what the Bloc's base is willing to let happen. If a scary majority of the separatist base doesn't feel good about an inquiry into the province's prized multi-national corporation, Blanchet might chicken out and force his caucus to vote against it.

Make no mistake about it, Blanchet doesn't want to risk losing the 22 seats he picked up for his party. If Blanchet goes for a free vote, only 10 or 13 Bloc MPs need to vote for an inquiry, depending on what the Green caucus decides to do.

A Marathon No-Confidence Vote

You might remember when the SNC-Lavalin scandal was still young in our minds and how Conservatives forced a marathon round of no-confidence votes. You might also remember that there were at least two bills during the first three years of the Trudeau government that Liberals almost failed to pass because a portion of their caucus failed to show up for the vote. Trudeau's Liberals are notoriously lazy, so who knows what a minority Liberal government might look like.

With that said, another marathon no-confidence vote in a minority parliament could eventually lead to success. If Trudeau refuses to open an inquiry, Conservatives and opposition parties could force another marathon no-confidence vote.

A Three-Way Attack In The House Of Commons

If all three opposition parties (four if you include Greens) went at Trudeau for the first straight week of the new parliament, it would create an endless cycle of media coverage. One of the first steps for all opposition parties should be to barrage Trudeau in the House Of Commons with questions about when his government will open an inquiry.

Furthermore, they should attempt to re-open questions about who, what, where and when.

When Mulcair did the same to Harper during the Duffy Affair, it created an endless cycle of media coverage. With three opposition parties going after Trudeau in the first week, even Canada's biased media wouldn't be able to ignore it. As a result, it could create a groundswell of public support for an inquiry.

Tory, NDP and Bloc Supporters

If the party leaders don't move fast to force an inquiry into SNC-Lavalin, their supporters should hold them accountable. Like I said, we shouldn't expect much from the separatists in Quebec, but if the few who support investigations into corruption made themselves loud enough, it could make Blanchet squirm.

If Jagmeet Singh is willing to quietly sit by while Trudeau escapes accountability, he isn't much of a leader. If you're anything like me, you have already been getting weak, yes-man vibes from the NDP leader. He seems like the type who would chop off his own dick if Justin Trudeau asked him to, but it's up to true socialists in the NDP base to make a man out of him. Singh is so afraid of Conservatives that he might choose to let the Liberals get away with corruption just to prevent the Tories from getting the upper hand.

If NDP supporters really hate capitalism and crony capitalism, they would force their leader to investigate one of the most egregious cases of crony capitalism we've see in decades.

The Results Of An Inquiry

Liberals in parliament and on committees haven't been voting down calls for an inquiry for no reason. They have something to hide, so an independent public inquiry is likely to bring forth some damaging information. The days of Liberals being able to suppress the findings of an inquiry are over, unless opposition parties, who claim to be against corruption, decide otherwise.

NDP socialists are famous for their hatred of capitalist corruption, so there really aren't any excuses for them to refuse forcing an inquiry. The results of an inquiry will, in fact, erode Liberal support when they are made public. If NDP strategists had brains, they would use the results of an inquiry to present themselves as a viable alternative to Liberals—just like Jack Layton did in 2011.

If a public inquiry truly does bring forth damaging information—or possible criminal charges—Canada's left-wing voters won't just disappear. Yes, a lot of them may lose faith in the system and stay home on the next election day, but the ones who don't will disperse. Disenchanted Liberal voters will shift to the NDP and Greens, like they almost did this time. If the NDP starts polling at 30% following the damaging results of an SNC-Lavalin inquiry, voters won't have any doubts that the party could form government.

As for the Bloc, they could also benefit from a damaging public inquiry into SNC-Lavalin. They definitely did well in this election, so they may fair well after a successful inquiry. It may be hard to convince Bloc supporters to open that can of worms, but once they see the results, they may see an opportunity to throw Trudeau's Liberals aside and to capitalize on the casualties.

A public inquiry into SNC-Lavalin is good for all parties and even better for Canada as a whole. We can't just let an obvious case of Liberal-corporate corruption slide. Most Canadians know it. A public inquiry into SNC-Lavalin is sure to produce an array of destructive facts that will destroy the Liberal Party for a long time to come. More importantly, it would end Justin Trudeau's political career and put corrupt corporations on notice.

That's a win for everyone.

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