Yesterday the drama on the Hill unfolded as expected when the Justice Committee met on the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Everyone knew opposition MPs would be demanding answers to the SNC-Lavalin mess while the Liberals would try and stonewall any investigation.
Other than a lot of phony outrage, did anyone actually expect the Liberals to allow an investigation into the actions of the PM and his senior staff?
Over my career, I spent many long days in committee meetings on both the House and Senate side as well in both Opposition and government. The result of this meeting was pretty much as I expected.
No one, especially the reporters who sounded so shocked at the outcome yesterday (as they tried to create some drama around the story) should have expected anything different.
The Justice committee has a Liberal chair and a Liberal majority. Who in their right mind thinks they will vote to investigate their own sides misdoings?
It is a sad fact of Canadian political life that this is how our committees behave. All MPs in these committees reflect the wishes of either PMO or their Leader’s Office. To do otherwise is almost a guarantee that they would either be replaced, or a substitute member brought in to vote the wishes of the party.
I have written hundreds of talk points and speeches for committees. The Liberal speeches and talk points were either very sloppy or the MPs incapable of delivering them properly. Either way their messaging sucked. They did more damage to the PM and the Liberal brand than the opposition members at the table.
Lisa Raitt and Nathan Cullen were good. They were on message, stuck to their talk points and succeeded in positioning their respective parties for the next series of attacks which will come in Question Period and down the road as the election gets closer.
There is a lot more to come out in this story and it continues to be a fire that Liberal spinning and the smearing of Jody Wilson-Raybould cannot put out.
I would wager that it will be solid investigative reporting that will break this story open- not some committee meeting that was going nowhere before the participants even sat down at the table.