Rex Murphy on the COVID-19 crisis: calls for opposition. Liberals do not respond


It’s a Cottage Life government in a Brady Bunch Parliament.

In a way, this is a curiously open question as to why the Prime Minister has continued his almost total self-isolation for more than two months now and exercises his leadership function from the bottom of his residence. I have no problem believing that there are serious reasons behind this. We are in a pandemic. A prime minister, Boris Johnson, was actually affected by the COVID-19 virus, and shook Britain somewhat for a few weeks. In Trudeau’s case, he could and probably is his idea that setting an example, being a “role model”, as he said several weeks ago, is at the root of his own advertising practice. from the chalet and largely avoid traveling elsewhere.

However, the combination of a distant leader for most of the country and a Parliament that deviates from its supreme office during the greatest crisis of 50 years seems to me at least as disturbing. The isolation of the leader and the suppression of parliamentary debate and control simultaneously leaves a great void in the flow of necessary information – we called it responsibility – during a very anxious period, previously unthinkable spending being made every day on the fly with little or no details on the amounts sent and the different groups to receive them.

We know so little of what is decided

We know so little that is decided, the protocols by which massive spending is decided, why group X receives money and not group Y, why $ 9 billion for students and $ 2.5 billion for old people. There should be questions and answers for each amount.

All we really know is that the deficit is growing at a staggering rate and that the resources required to keep up with it are slim to deplorable.

A headline in the National Post says that the Auditor General is concerned that his office simply does not have the resources to carry out its essential functions. Let me quote: “The House committee is unanimous in asking Morneau to fill the funding gap for the Auditor General.” In the jargon of the noble profession, the “sous-chef” gives alarming information that he told the committee in May that his office had “no other choice” than to cut five audits planned for the year in Classes. These are disturbing things. The only parliamentary office responsible for overseeing the public treasury is forced to cut office oversight. There is another lament: “Public spending is increasing, which amplifies the challenges we face.” I will say.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau arrives for a special committee meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 13, 2020.

Blair Gable / Reuters

However. It might add a touch of spice to know that this is not a story or report from this year. It’s last year. And at that time, when the audits were suspended or cut, the auditor general asked for an addition of $ 10.8 million to his budget. An amount which, compared to the billions and billions that spring from Cottage Life, is a jewel, a stain, a jot and a title, a whispering breeze in a howling hurricane.

If the GA cried in 2019, when the weather was good, people were outside, when hundreds of thousands were not forced to remain lazy, when tens of thousands of businesses did not close or closed, and that l economy was doing well – if he cried and struggled to keep track of the public treasury, how lamented poor poor GA was in 2020 today?

There has been a lot of discussion about what is and is not an “essential” service. Will we not all agree that, since the invention of the pencil, there has been no more essential service – in the context of Canadian non-parliamentary governance today – than that of the accountant . There was no budget. There was no tax update. And of course, there was a deadlock and non-response to the GA’s request this year to supplement the ability to obtain an independent measure of the tide flow of daily expenses.

Since the invention of the pencil, there has been no more essential service … than that of the chartered accountant

It is almost comical to watch the different clips of Pierre Poilievre, who is the (de facto) Leader of the Opposition in our Parliament Brady Bunch, trying to get Finance Minister Bill Morneau to respond, with details, when there will be updates, information indicating whether “fraudulent” claims for benefits are made, whether inmates receive part of CERB payments and finally whether he will provide the requested supplements to the office of the Auditor General.

Shameless and shameless non-responses from Morneau, his quiet account of the day’s talking points, almost matched Trudeau’s sublime ability in the same department. Ask Poilievre. Morneau does not answer.

Where responsibility has gone is the question of the day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the center, attends a meeting of a special committee on the COVID-19 pandemic as MPs practice social distancing in the nearly empty House of Commons on May 13, 2020 in Ottawa.

Dave Chan / AFP via Getty Images

But there is no reason, at the end of this holiday weekend, not to suggest a small diversion. I think one of the best headlines of the last few days, when so much is dark and tense, was this one, also published in the Post: “Canada’s Road to the Headquarters of the United Nations Security Council goes through Fiji ”.

It is geopolitics as it is played by the masters. Do we have Fiji on our side?

We know that despite the great demands to govern during a crisis, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken with 28 world leaders since the start of the pandemic crisis in early March as he continues to seek a temporary seat on the Council Security Council. “

Come to think of it, this may explain the mystery of self-isolation. It could just be an embarrassment.


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