Got a dictionary? Look up the word “hubris.” Is Justin Trudeau’s picture beside it?
Last week he tried giving himself more power than Stephen Harper. He then blew it with an arrogant outburst of elbowing, grabbing and swearing.
Until then, Trudeau’s wall of sunny ways had blocked Canadians’ view of his high-handed governing style.
Canadians hadn’t seen him use closure to ram through Bill C-10, a bill letting Air Canada kill 2,600 maintenance jobs in Winnipeg and Montreal and move them overseas. They didn’t see his time-allocation on Bill C-14 – the assisted dying bill. Or on budget bill C-15.
Behind the sunny ways wall, Trudeau stacked his Commons committee on electoral reform. He retained the right of his 39% majority to change our voting system – even if every other party was opposed.
Then Trudeau went for the hammer – Motion 6. Stephen Harper’s concentration of power wasn’t enough. Motion 6 would give the Liberals the ability to set the Commons agenda unilaterally.
But even sunny ways sometimes needs a reason.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled a complete legal ban on physician-assisted suicide conflicts with our Charter-guaranteed rights and freedoms. Existing laws wouldn’t apply “to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person” who consents and is enduring “intolerable” suffering caused by a “grievous and irremediable” disease.
The Court suspended its decision until June 6.
The Trudeau government chose to treat June 6 as an urgent deadline by when its assisted dying bill had to be proclaimed – or else.
The rhetoric ramped up. Trudeau’s House Leader argued that without C-14 in place by June 6 there’d be “a complete vacuum” – creating an impression assisted suicide would be wide-open legal.
Never mind that opinions from law professors refuted the vacuum theory. “You can call it baloney” one told Canadian Press.
Never mind that Senate Liberal and Conservative leaders also dismissed the June 6 urgency.
And never mind the assisted dying bill itself was drawing legal criticism. Tom Mulcair believed C-14 recreated restrictions the Court had just struck down. And last Tuesday, an Alberta Court of Appeal decision – agreeing with that analysis – found the government’s approach in an assisted dying case, which mirrored Trudeau’s C-14 approach, was “not supported by the words of the (Supreme Court’s Carter) decision as a whole.”
But Trudeau was having none of it from anyone. Behind his wall he clung to his eroding position.
And last Wednesday morning – the day C-14 was coming for a vote – he introduced Motion 6.
The Conservatives and NDP fought with what little muscle an opposition has against the arranged power of a Canadian Prime Minister. They made small delays. But Trudeau’s majority meant Motion 6 was going to pass. So was C-14.
Until Trudeau’s outburst.
Indignant a vote on his Bill C-14 was delayed by a mere 30 seconds, Trudeau marched across the Commons floor, told several MPs to “get the f— out of my way,” grabbed one, elbowing another in the process.
And the sunny ways wall came tumbling down. Over its rubble the opposition pointed to Trudeau’s time-allocation, closure, committee-stacking and “draconian” Motion 6. And linked them to a theme of arrogance in power.
And by mid-afternoon Thursday, the government had withdrawn Motion 6.
This week he should withdraw his illegitimate election reform committee.