The Duffy Trial recommences on November 18th. It offers all kinds of lessons to Justin Trudeau and his incoming government. Michael Harris writes:
This is a story I have watched, with minor variations, unfold countless times. Whether it’s Arthur Anderson’s accountants lying for Enron, the CBC downplaying the ethical and criminal lapses of its “stars” until that became impossible, or Penn State turning a blind eye to football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual predation — it always ends badly.
Those who work within an organization -- most of the time -- have a reflexive response to protect the organization. But, of course, the basic rules is that a good organization hires good people, not just those who will protect the leader of the organization.
Michael Higgins, the former President of St. Thomas University, has written extensively about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. He has applied the lessons he learned to the Government of Canada:
“When you undertake to ‘protect’ the reputation of an institution – in this case the Red Chamber – when you seek to insulate any governing body – in this case the PMO and the Prime Minister – from the taint of scandal, and you do this through spin, sophistical argumentation, and lawyerly legerdemain, any gains are provisional, any result pyrrhic.”
Harris adds this codicil:
The lesson from the Wright/Duffy Affair for prime minister designate Justin Trudeau and the PMO he will create around him is clear. Canadians were falsely promised transparency and accountability in 2006 and all too often got self-interest and lies from the highest office in the land. The mendacity reached its crescendo with the Senate expense scandal.
With all his great promise, and with every good wish for success coming Trudeau’s way from the voters who just elected him, Canadians now expect a much higher standard than the one offered by Wright’s notion of loyalty in Harper’s PMO.
One hopes Trudeau has got the message.