Don Martin: Keeping quiet means cover-up is the only conclusion
Here’s proof that a week can be a lifetime in politics.
One week ago today, Jody Wilson-Raybould was the veterans affairs minister and prime ministerial interference meant limiting debate on a piece of priority legislation.
Now Wilson-Raybould is gone from cabinet and seeking legal advice while Justin Trudeau reels under mounting pressure that his office encouraged her to avert an SNC-Lavalin trial on corruption charges, the better to keep government contracts flowing to the Quebec employment giant.
There has been a lot of story-shifting since the Globe and Mail broke the allegations.
The flat-out denial morphed into confirmation there had been a vigorous internal debate on SNC, minus any direct pressure on the attorney general to intervene in the prosecution.
The latest damage control theory from the prime minister has it that Wilson-Raybould is at fault for failing to alert him to any pressure to cut a deal.
But there has been one fixed position in this controversy. This prime minister will do all the talking.
Ok, sure, staff can whisper anonymously about the former minister’s conduct. But that’s it. Crickets is the rest of his government’s response.
So there you have it.
A feminist prime minister with an indigenous reconciliation priority who profusely proclaims respect for the rule of law has decreed only he will speak on behalf of a widely respected indigenous female politician who may have witnessed an illegal act.
The prime minister who pledged transparency has scrubbed an MP investigation's witness list clean of anyone who might deliver contrarian testimony; a leader seeking reconciliation is without indigenous cabinet representation, a source of international acclaim for his women's agenda has stood silently for a full-week by while aides anonymously trash-talk Wilson-Raybould's character and conduct.
What the prime minister clearly doesn’t grasp yet is that he will inevitably cave and be forced to let her speak.
The opposition thunder will get louder with the Commons back in action, the polls will start to move against him, the media will keep asking even if his answers stay the same and caucus lapdogs will start barking back.
There is only one way out: Independent corroboration of Trudeau’s version of events from the only person who can deliver it: Jody Wilson-Raybould. And there’s only one person who can give her permission to speak: Justin Trudeau.
If mum’s the final word on this gag order, cover-up is the only conclusion.
And that’s definitely NOT the Last Word on this issue.