Our Ottawa castle keep turned out in all its pomp, glory and pageantry this past week to see former governor general David Johnston in the lists to joust with Poilievre’s partisans. It was not too sad to see the partisans of the right fall to the well tuned lances of the wily octogenarian.
It was particularly amusing when the politicians complained that he was taking advice from firms, in the business of giving political advice. It was like saying: “Shame on you for taking political advice from where the politicians go for political advice.”
Would you believe that David Johnston, as special rapporteur on Chinese interference in Canadian politics, had to hire a crisis management firm such as Navigator—which I think of as basically conservative—to advise him on dealing with the pack of wolves who happen to be conservatives on the parliamentary committee that he was ordered to address. Mind you, the wolves dined more on the liberal and NDP advisors that David Johnston had also hired. Don Guy and Brian Topp are well known names to politicos across Canada. Guy is the former brain trust in Ontario liberal premier Dalton McGinty’s office. And Brian Topp is a top NDP funcionado.
The most amusing situation though was the presence of Johnston’s lawyer for his rapporteur job, Sheila Block. We were told that she has been seen donating money to the liberals. This is despite the obvious conclusion that other partners in her firm donate to other political parties. This is common practice among Canadian law firms who want to be noticed and hired by the government and people working for the government. The only questionable part of this is that the donations were made two years ago and were well below the limitations on political donations.
But while the news media took delight in the forays of the combatants, not much was resolved in the three hours of political sport. They never did get away from the concern that the prime minister had appointed a friend of the family with whom he had skied as a youngster. Considering how much the prime minister likes skiing, there are probably many others to choose from. I doubt that there are many with the legal qualifications and who have Mr. Johnston’s concern for his country.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to: