Caesar’s wife must be beyond suspicion.

Recently we wrote that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is in the role of Caesar’s wife. The simple point of that is what Julius Caesar said when he divorced his wife Pompeia: “My wife ought not even be under suspicion.” That statement has meant for centuries that those who seek to be leaders can have no blemish of scandal on themselves or those who share in their trust. It is why Prime Minister Trudeau has an ongoing problem with Bill Morneau.

The Liberal finance minister can no longer be retained in that trusted position. He has failed to rise above the criticisms of detractors.  He has failed to allay suspicions of impropriety. He has failed to hear the baying of the media wolf pack seeking his downfall. He has failed to quiet the catcalls of the political opposition in parliament.

And why does Morneau think that donating to charity the earnings of his stocks since coming to parliament are a panacea? Whether the net difference was $5 or more than $5 million, it comes across as an admission of guilt. The flunky in his office who dreamed up that gambit should be wearing the dunce cap of the apolitical.

But then the dunce cap belongs to Morneau. He has proved to be without political understanding or depth. I have been pleased to hear that voters in his riding seem to like him. They see him as a nice guy. Maybe he just needed time to learn something about the political realities. You cannot do that in the action chair of finance minister.

To use a baseball analogy, he needs to be sent to the minors for some conditioning and experience. His earned run average is abysmal. His runs batted in stats are below average.

We should also realize that Morneau has done some good. He was a fresh and friendly face in the largely inexperienced team presented by Justin Trudeau at Rideau Hall two years ago.

Trudeau did not dump John McCallum from cabinet for doing a poor job for the Syrian refugees. He did not dump Stéphane Dion because of inexperience in foreign affairs. We can only speculate on his reasons. We know he cannot go on trying to protect Morneau in the finance portfolio.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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