Justin Trudeau hates transparency and laughs in the face of accountability.
No this isn’t a Sun News column or a fundraising letter for the Conservative Party of Canada, these words came out of the baby Trudeau’s own mouth!
Okay, so not exactly… but if you read between the lines he totally said it. In Peter O’Neil’s column in the Vancouver Sun on Monday, Trudeau promised that as Prime Minister he would scrap the new federal legislation that makes it mandatory for aboriginal leaders to publicly disclose their salaries to the Canadian people. This is the same legislation that helped reveal the “million dollar chief” in British Columbia earlier this summer.
Citing the bill as having a “lack of respect for first nations,” Justin told the Vancouver Sun that his government would overhaul, scrap, and, er, keep the transparency legislation. Well excuse my confusion, Trudeau didn’t really seem to know what he thought either.
Trudeau talked of major overhauls, citing a need to further consult aboriginal leaders. But when asked for specifics, Trudeau began a sentence with the tentative phrase: “whether we keep this legislation,” but quickly changed his mind and tone to: “actually, I wouldn’t keep the legislation in place,” and then sputtered “I would work with First Nations to make sure that a proper accountability act that would have disclosed any excesses we see, but is done in a way that is respectful of the First Nation communities.” Poor sentence construction aside, Justin Trudeau was compelled to further contradict himself, vowing that he wouldn’t “commit to a law that requires chiefs and councillors to make their remuneration available not just to band members but Canadians at large.” Wait… so Justin won’t keep the legislation, but will draw up a similar bill, with the caveat that it won’t allow for transparency among aboriginal leaders, which is the entire point of the bill… what?
Do you think Trudeau Jr. was told what position to take by his handlers and keeps forgetting what it is? Or maybe he is just simply making it up as he goes. I can’t really tell, but to be honest, the fact that he has a problem with the bill at all rings several alarm bells in my head.
Transparency in the public sector is a good thing. When the public knows how much our leaders are making, it leads to (or should lead to) greater accountability on behalf of our leaders and their staff. I really like transparency. Don’t you? For instance, I like knowing that the Prime Minister of Canada earned about $327,000 this year. I also like knowing that First Nation Chief Ron Giesbrecht earned almost triple that amount ($914,219) in the same amount of time.
It is quite popular for our opposition leaders to throw up a red card and cry foul every time federal legislation is passed dealing with Canada’s aboriginal peoples. This is for good reason. Canada’s aboriginals have been treated in terrible, disgusting ways by previous governments, and their mistreatment is a black stain on this nation’s history.
We should absolutely proceed with caution and show respect when passing laws relating to aboriginal governance. However, contrary to what the NDP and the Liberals will tell you, I don’t believe that the big bad Conservatives inherently hate freedom, kick innocent puppy dogs for fun, and make life miserable for aboriginal communities. Quite to the contrary, I think that the very point of the bill was to put Aboriginal leaders on equal footing with every other public servant. True equality means that no group should be exempt from fiscal responsibility and public accountability.
This means any leader that has his or her salary paid for by the government, whether it be a Supreme Court judge, a First Nations chief, or Justin Trudeau himself, must publicly disclose their salary to the Canadian people. After all, our tax dollars are footing the bill!
Look, I get it. Parliament is in summer recess and it’s a slow news week. Trudeau needs to complain about something every once and a while to keep his name in the headlines. God forbid he go a week without making the front page, just think of the damage that could do to his ego! *shudders* But whether he is making headlines or not, Justin Trudeau will soon learn a very important rule for Canadian politicians: Playing politics with transparency is like spitting into the wind… it looks really cool at first, but soon enough your own saliva is splattered all over your face.