Butts re-emerges from the shad­ows

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Ryan Dahlman

Po­lit­i­cal cyn­i­cism is ram­pant th­ese days. Not be­cause of the an­nual jokes of politi­cians work­ing hard at­tend­ing bar­be­cues, flip­ping pan­cakes or go­ing to var­i­ous com­mu­nity cel­e­bra­tions. Other than time be­hind a grid­dle, the per­cep­tion of politi­cians is that there are par­tic­u­larly con­spic­u­ous with try­ing to be­ing in the public eye when they can dur­ing the sum­mer.

Time to make hay as the leg­is­la­tures and Par­lia­ment are out for sum­mer.

That is ex­cept if you are Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and his long time pal Ger­ald Butts.

Butts who re­signed as prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary …aka…chief ad­vi­sor for Trudeau, qui­etly came back or did he ac­tu­ally ever re­ally leave, to the fed­eral Lib­er­als as he is be­ing re­ported in na­tional me­dia to be back help­ing the Lib­er­als as time rolls on to­wards the sched­uled Oct. 21 fed­eral elec­tion date.

In mid-Fe­bru­ary of this year, Butts re­signed over his in­volve­ment in the SNC-Lavalin con­tro­versy. It ap­peared that Butts was part of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice which was try­ing to put pres­sure on Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould to in­ter­vene by of­fer­ing SNC-Lavalin a de­ferred prose­cu­tion agree­ment in a crim­i­nal case against the Que­bec com­pany. The po­lit­i­cal fall­out was tremen­dous and Butts made a very public de­par­ture as he fell on the sword for the en­tire PMO.

Now he has qui­etly slipped back into the Lib­eral fold. He is back in the news as he made some dis­parag­ing com­ments about In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dras Modi in an in­ter­view for a book writ­ten by a Na­tional Post colum­nist John Ivi­son called Trudeau: the Ed­u­ca­tion of a Prime Min­is­ter.

In the in­ter­view which was made be­fore his de­par­ture in Fe­bru­ary, Butts ac­cused the In­dian prime min­is­ter of sab­o­tag­ing the now-infamous Trudeau visit to In­dia in 2018. Trudeau had a dis­as­trous trip public re­la­tions wise and now th­ese com­ments don’t help an al­ready ten­u­ous re­la­tion­ship with In­dia and can’t look good on the world stage at a time when Canada is hav­ing trou­ble with trad­ing part­ners, es­pe­cially in the agri­cul­ture field.

Butts has had a busy ca­reer hold­ing a prin­ci­ple sec­re­tary job with for­mer On­tario premier Dal­ton McGuinty; cam­paign ad­vi­sor to the On­tario Lib­er­als; pres­i­dent and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund amongst other jobs. He knows how the po­lit­i­cal game works.

The trou­ble is, there are a lot of bu­reau­crats and be­hind-the-scenes peo­ple of all po­lit­i­cal stripes who are just like Trudeau’s buddy. It is all about net­work­ing, who is friends with who and pa­tron­age ap­point­ments.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties and some mem­bers in the me­dia com­plain Cana­di­ans need to get out and vote. I be­lieve that is the case as well but it is un­der­stand­able why they don’t.


If Butts and the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice didn’t get into trou­ble or were in­ves­ti­gated about th­ese se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions and if Butts ba­si­cally went on “a hol­i­day” or just stayed out of public light for a while as what ap­pears to be the case, how does a voter in the up­com­ing fed­eral elec­tion trust any­one?

The Lib­er­als… af­ter all the self­ies were over, there seemed to be con­tro­versy and con­fu­sion with the gov­ern­ment. If you need re­mind­ing of what just lis­ten to the cam­paign once it kicks into high gear in the fall. In a June Aba­cus Data poll, the Con­ser­va­tives (32 per cent ap­proval rat­ing) have been dis­ap­point­ingly quiet with An­drew Scheer not grab­bing hold of the op­por­tu­nity pre­sent­ing it­self with all the crit­i­cism of the Lib­er­als (33%). The NDP hov­ers be­tween 16-18 per cent with only the fed­eral Green’s mak­ing head­way, es­pe­cially in the East go­ing up from 6 per cent in Jan­uary 2018 to 12 per cent in June 2019.

No one is mov­ing up, no one is mov­ing down de­spite all the con­tro­ver­sies. Why is that? Poorer re­port­ing of is­sues? Other things for vot­ers to worry about? The con­cept of con­tro­ver­sies are overblown?

Vot­ers have con­tro­versy fa­tigue. There are only so many “(BLANK)-Gates” vot­ers can take and ab­sorb. Th­ese peo­ple are paid rel­a­tively well and are sup­posed to be our lead­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives. They are spend­ing the ever in­creas­ing tax­pay­ers’ money, hard to put your sup­port be­hind them when the voter has no faith in them or in the sys­tem to weed the wrong ones out.

Po­ten­tial vot­ers feel they have bet­ter things to do than sup­port some­one or a party that will in­evitably dis­ap­point.

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