According to much of the media coverage, the March 19 federal budget came and went without much notice because, of course, everyone wanted only to hear more about the never-ending soap opera called the Lavalin Affair. Indeed, a Maclean’s Political Insider a day or two after had the snarky headline “Remember the Liberals’ new budget? Neither does anyone else.” And again, on March 25, the Political Insider opined “In case you forgot (and a lot of people have) Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered a budget last week.”
Since becoming Premier of Ontario, Ford has been less than supportive of the Prime Minister and his policies. But he owes a great debt to Trudeau, even though I doubt that it is one that he will acknowledge. The Lavalin Affair has totally consumed the media for the past month, with each day bringing increasingly apocalyptic comments about this unspeakable scandal and attack on democracy and the rule of law. As I have argued elsewhere, the media depiction of this whole episode is wildly exaggerated – but it has had the effect of allowing the at least equally dubious behaviour of Ford in the hiring of a new OPP Commissioner to go largely unnoticed.
The quote from Hamlet was actually “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” but perhaps an even more apt Shakespearian reference would be the play “Much Ado About Nothing.” I am referring to the increasingly frenzied media reports about the destruction of Canadian democracy, the abandonment of the rule of law, and the need for the Prime Minister to resign immediately. Could we please take a deep breath and review the basic facts of this story.
C. Richard Tindal, Ph.D is a retired Professor of Government. He taught for 30 years at St. Lawrence College, Kingston and was an occasional Visiting Professor at Queen's University. He has also written and consulted extensively about government.