TRUDEAU LIBERALS EAT THE CAKE WHILE WE GET THE CRUMBS
Ex-finance minister Morneau is caught in another scandal, Diane Francis writes.
What CEO pushes out his chief financial officer during a scandal, then spends shareholder money to lobby for him to land a cushy job with a lavish expense account?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does. Last week, the CBC broke the story that 19 federal public servants have been working part time advising former finance minister Bill Morneau on how to become secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
This is the Morneau who quit under a cloud in the middle of a pandemic, but the Liberal elite looks after its own. The OECD position is a great gig and comes with an astronomical expense account to live and entertain in Paris, as well as to hobnob globally with other rich and powerful elitists. It's Davos and a Grand Tour on steroids.
The OECD is described as a “club of rich countries” and is a talking shop with 37 members aimed at stimulating economic progress and trade. It stages conferences, cocktail parties, collects comparative statistics on taxation and health care and champions policy initiatives to halt corruption and money laundering.
Unfortunately, since 2015, Canada's Liberal government and Morneau have done little to crack down on money laundering, despite criticism at home and abroad concerning secrecy and negative effects like soaring real estate prices. In fact, global watchdogs have coined the term “snow washing” to describe how tens of billions of dollars of dirty money a year can be easily washed clean, like the snow, in Canadian real estate. There's also the issue of Canada's gaping tax loopholes for offshore corporations.
Morneau has also had a few dust-ups. He was fined for failing to report the value of the French corporation that owned his French villa to the ethics commissioner. He was accused of conflict of interest for holding shares in Morneau Shepell, the company he ran that his father founded, before taking office.
In August, he suddenly resigned as finance minister and as a Liberal MP after he and his family were implicated, along with the prime minister, in the WE Charity scandal. He apologized about the WE situation, saying he mistakenly thought he'd paid for trips he and his family took. He later said he left because he already had his eye on the OECD job, that he wasn't going to seek re-election and that Canada needed a finance minister who would be there to see the country through the economic recovery, which is likely to take years.
Last month, the ethics commissioner dropped the investigation into Morneau over the WE
Charity scandal. “I accept that you genuinely believed you had paid for the entire cost of both trips,” said Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion.
Now, Morneau faces 11 rivals for the OECD gig, and 19 public servants are helping him snag it. So far, $6,265.76 has been spent on hospitality in Paris, but Global Affairs Canada said it had no projection for the final price tag, adding that the pandemic could drive costs higher. By the way, that total covers one fancy dinner in Paris for four.
Clearly, Canadians are captive
to an elite group of people who look after their own. We'll likely never know how much Morneau's bid for secretary general will end up costing taxpayers, or how him getting the job benefits the country. We still have no idea how many millions the prime minister blew on his road show last year wooing tin pot despots to back his failed attempt for a useless Security Council seat at the United Nations.
This is Liberal Canada: they eat the cake; we get the crumbs.
Clearly, Canadians are captive to an elite group of people who look after their own.