Monsef, Freeland and now Sajjan: Ministers Can Do Anything In a Trudeau Cabinet and Get Away With It
PRIME MINISTER YOUR BACK BENCHERS ARE WATCHING: TIME TO FIRE YOUR DEFENCE MINISTER
Hon. Harjit Sajjan, P.C., O.M.M., M.S.M., C.D., M.P., must resign, and he must do it now, if he hopes to ever rehabilitate his career in politics, but his entitlement to stay says more about the Prime Minister’s character than the Minister of National Defence.
Canadian can be very forgiving of their political elite and let bygones be bygones when they apologize for mistakes, errors in judgement, and even a slip of the lip. In the case of Minister of National Defence Sajjan the time is running out, and he heads a department like no other, and his mistake could not be worse. This is a Minister with a distinguished service record as a police officer, and a soldier, who has lied or misled not once, but twice, publicly about his war service in Afghanistan and Operation Medusa in 2006. The first time was during the 2015 election campaign and the second during his recent trip to India.
The Minister has retracted his claims, and he has apologized, but the damage to his personal reputation at National Defence is done. Now Minister Sajjan must resign, or in the worst case, the Prime Minister must fire him. But I suspect neither will happen, the Prime Minister owes considerable political favors to the Canadian Sikh community that handed the Liberal leadership to him, by extension the Premiership, and secondly, he does not understand the military profession, and what’s more, like his father, he does not care about the Canadian Forces and those that serve God, Queen, and Country. Others could fill the role but Sajjan is likely to stay, not because he should but likely because the Prime Minister won’t let him go.
Let’s look at Minister Sajjan, for many he was one of the more promising picks in a cabinet, and a caucus, where we were spoiled for choice. This formerly distinguished Canadian police officer and soldier is the very man who turned up at a Khalistan event in uniform protesting for an independent Sikh homeland. Then there is Minister Sajjan’s recent trip to India, billed as a private trip, that becomes very public when a ‘Khalistani’ is not welcomed in certain ruling political quarters in India. Then there is his very public announcement that he is going to fight for justice for the victims of the Sikh genocide, but no mention of Air India in 1985 and its bombing victims. Lastly, there is the great ‘porky’ about his war record and leadership role in Operation Medusa told not once but twice.
These issues of Minister Sajjan’s, go to character, and they go to leadership, and for any other Minister, in any other Department, save Public Safety and Justice, he might be forgiven. But here is the rub. Minister Sajjan is a police officer, a soldier, and he holds the Queen’s commission, and so he knows better. He knows that fortitude, courage, loyalty and endurance matter and that trust in any military unit is paramount. When trust and loyalty are gone, it is over. Quite frankly the Canadian Forces deserve better. National Defence and the Canadian Forces, are a ‘no fail’ organization. By definition, they must succeed no matter what, and failure is not an option. The Minister has been held up as a ‘bad ass’ soldier and now he is a guy who fudged his war record in a Department where credibility matters, and he has none.
Sadly, Minister Sajjan is a symptom of a failure in cabinet making in the current government but it goes deeper than that. Canadians need to ask themselves how it is that our Ukrainian nationalist Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather was a senior Nazi-era propogandist in Eastern Europe, why she is not welcome in Russia, and how she came to cabinet in the first place? Or how our Minister of Democratic Institutions at the time, Maryam Monsef, lied about her place of birth claiming she was born in Afghanistan, when she was born in Iran? Or how our Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, is by all impressions a Sikh nationalist first and a Canadian Defence Minister second, and not really that welcome in India? To say the very least, this is problematic. Perhaps had the vetting process been stronger during the Liberal’s transition to power their collective fibs and failures to disclose would have been caught. Perhaps not. Perhaps this says more about the Prime Minister’s ethically-challenged character and the character of this Liberal government than anything else.
Take the case of the Hon. Andrew Leslie, P.C., M.P., C.M.M., M.S.C., M.S.M., C.D., a man that unseated the first Conservative MP, Royal Galipeau, to hold the seat of Orleans back to back in for more than two terms for the first time since the 1880s. Andrew Leslie whose grandfathers, General Andrew McNaughton and Brooke Claxton, were Liberal legends, Defence Ministers, and great public figures. Lieutenant General (retired) Andrew Leslie who led the Canadian Army through some of the most bitter fighting of Canada’s Afghan War who has been left out of cabinet twice because he is such a leader, and so feared by the small-minded people in the Prime Minister’s Office, including according to rumor, the man himself, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Andrew Leslie that is now Parliamentary Secretary to our esteemed Global Affairs Minister and who must travel, and thus in the ultimately paranoid world of the Prime Minister’s Office, is out of the country to prevent him from organizing against the Prime Minister. Here is the very man that should be put in Cabinet and made Minister of National Defence or any Minister for that matter, and he is passed over twice for the likes of Freeland, Sajjan, and Monsef.
Must be magic sitting on those Liberal backbenches looking at the Liberal front benchers.