Prime Minister Trudeau, your PMO too needs a shuffle !
Justin Trudeau just shuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, November 10th. It was needed and timely and not just because of the impending reincarnation of a self confessed pussy grabber, liar, racist, misogynist, xenophobe and a bully billionaire celebrity into President Trump. There were other legitimate reasons obvious for anyone to see such as rookie ministers screwing up simple or not so simple issues and damaging the Trudeau brand. The shuffle while staunching the bleeding on the electoral reform and some other files also prepares Canada for a fast changing world with violent turmoil in the Middle East and parts of Africa, the insurgent radical Right in Europe, Brexit as well as the Trump upheaval causing tremors in the politics and economy of our next door neighbor and the world.
Chrystia Freeland moved from Trade to foreign affairs and veterans such as John McCallum and Stephane Dion, both whom have served Canada with dedication and distinction are gone from the cabinet table. Maryam Monsef has been shifted from the difficult Electoral Reform to the Status of Women. There are some new faces including Ahmed Hussen in Immigration. Beyond that the Trudeau shuffle is already old news and the business as usual, Ottawa style, is likely to take over in Ottawa.
But Trudeau needed another shuffle; no, not a cabinet shuffle but a shuffle nonetheless-- to shake up the PMO that has brought him so much grief in the last several months. In his heart of hearts he probably knows he needs it. Those in the PMO around him may not yet or ever see the need for one; they may be willfully blind because, if ever the emperor so realised and decided, it is some of them who would need to be shuffled out or dumped.
One might ask: Who deserves to be fired or demoted from Trudeau's PMO? The crafters of the talking points for the ministers such as Maryam Monsef and Bardish Chaggar come to mind. Monsef was a rookie minister and clearly didn't remember that her brief was not to lecture colleagues but to shepherd the electoral reform through the House. Those who crafted the beauties that she delivered in House of Commons in the form of her ministerial answers must have been living on another planet since her words in the House seemed out of this world. Search and you would find some crafter in the PMO, drowned in the arrogance of his/her newly achieved power, writing the talking points and passing them on to the likes of Monsef to defiantly utter them as gospel in the House. Only a rookie minister in league with a somewhat errant PMO would have publicly reasoned that public consultations were superior to public referendums as a way of deciding what kind of an electoral system Canadians prefer.
It may have been the same political geniuses and Wordsworth who also extended a helping hand to Chaggar in her singing the ethical and legal praises of the suitably disgraced "cash for access". In the House she droned endlessly about how access for cash being granted by the prime minister and his ministers was all well and good and within the ambit of the law. Of course while she persevered in crassly droning on, she, her colleagues and their boss the PM knew all along that the latter's direction to them in the original mandate letters was being grossly and blatantly violated.
Often the wordsmiths simply translate into sentences the responses suggested by the PMO architects of government's positions and tactics. It is the latter who usually advise the prime minister and cabinet on the ever evolving policy and the shifting and turbulent sands of question period. Those in and around the PMO responsible for Monsef's highly quotable utterances or Chaggar's inanities such as the claim that she decided "on her own" to answer prime ministerial questions on "cash for access", or that the House is not the appropriate place to discuss "cash for access" clearly need to go.
So you see the cabinet shuffle is old news to those who feel the prime minister also needed a shuffle of his powerful political appointees in the PMO who decide on a day to day basis to send forth ministers armed with dumb pronouncements clad in even dumber--I bet they think clever--words leading to the dumbest somersaults, twists and turns regularly witnessed in the House on issues as serious as the "cash for access" and electoral reform. The same people probably advised and/or insisted that Trudeau's inadvisable, secret and ultimately not so secret vacation on Aga Khan's private Island didn't raise any conflict of interest or ethical questions. They must have been willfully blind to the clear but awful optics of prime minister-- and a champion of middle class Canadians no less-- spending secret time at a private island of a billionaire; and even more troubling is the fact that the prime minister or no one around him saw any ethical concerns in the fact that said billionaire's charitable foundations have received and may continue to receive money from the government that Trudeau now heads. How could they, and how could the PM let them, bungle things so badly ?
The truth is it is his PMO's bad advice and /or untimely silence, when speaking truth to the prime ministerial power may have been warranted, that has brought Trudeau to a juncture where he felt compelled to go on a hastily scheduled Canadian "listening tour." To do the "listening" he is even giving the Trump inauguration a miss. Talking to Canadians is always important for any prime minister. However it is not responsible for Trudeau to skip Trump's swearing-in. Despite most Canadians' dislike of what Trump stands for, US-Canada relationship is the most important among the country to country relationships for Canada.
In sum Trudeau's inner circle/PMO is mainly responsible for the mess he faces. His PMO team requires strengthening, adding to it or subtracting from it; it certainly needs overhauling substantially, if not fully. If Trudeau doesn't do it soon, he may have to be on a permanent stand by for more hurriedly scheduled listening tours of the country.
Prime Minister ! Happy listening, and shuffling in 2017.
Last modified on Tuesday, 10 January 2017
Disclaimer : The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the writer/author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Babushahi.com or Tirchhi Nazar Media. Babushahi.com or Tirchhi Nazar Media does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.