MP’s re­moval adds to ‘re­form’ bungling

The Welland Tribune - - OPINION -

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau last week re­moved Lib­eral MP Wayne Long from two gov­ern­ment com­mit­tee po­si­tions as pun­ish­ment for vot­ing along­side Con­ser­va­tives on small busi­ness tax re­forms.

There’s been vis­ceral out­rage across the coun­try — in­clud­ing in Long’s rid­ing — among small busi­ness own­ers and pro­fes­sion­als who see the Lib­eral “re­form” as a job-killing tax grab.

Long, a New Brunswick MP, sup­ported a Con­ser­va­tive move to ex­tend the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed tax re­vi­sions.

In ret­ri­bu­tion, he’s been de facto stripped of what­ever min­i­mal pow­ers he’d held.

While he hasn’t been booted out of the Lib­eral cau­cus, Long — who is not a cab­i­net min­is­ter nor a par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary — now has no real gov­ern­ment du­ties aside from be­ing an ad­vo­cate for his con­stituents.

The irony of course is that Long voted the way he did pre­cisely be­cause he was ad­vo­cat­ing for his con­stituents.

He was be­ing a good MP. And he was pun­ished for it.

But if any­thing, Trudeau should lis­ten more closely to the likes of Long be­cause his rid­ing is a bell­wether for broader grass­roots opin­ion.

Look­ing at elec­toral results in his Saint John-Rothe­say rid­ing it is pretty clear the rid­ing is a swing seat that gen­er­ally fol­lows the party that forms gov­ern­ments.

His res­i­dents are out­raged over gov­ern­ment plans to close what the Lib­er­als char­ac­ter­ize as “loop­holes” for the rich, as are a grow­ing num­ber of Cana­di­ans across the coun­try.

“I just can’t sup­port a process that was only 75 days long that pit­ted peo­ple against each other. Doc­tors against nurses, put farm­ers on the de­fen­sive and made lawyers, small busi­ness and pro­fes­sion­als feel vil­i­fied,” Long told the CBC.

“It’s not who we are as a party (or) what I be­lieve in,” he said. “I need to fol­low my heart, and, in the end, I need to look in the mir­ror.”

The most trou­bling part of all this is how dump­ing Long from com­mit­tee posts seems to vi­o­late a ma­jor cam­paign pledge Trudeau made to al­low “free votes in the House of Com­mons stan­dard prac­tice.”

Long’s vote ap­pears to con­form to that pledge.

Trudeau, mean­while, is in­creas­ingly hav­ing trou­ble rec­on­cil­ing his prom­ises and his ac­tions. It doesn’t look like do­ing pol­i­tics dif­fer­ently, that’s for sure. — Post­media Net­work

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