It seems our local Member of Parliament, Michael Barrett, has found a cause.
As Opposition Spokesperson for Ethics, he has joined with that warm and cuddly Pierre Poilievre, Conservative Shadow Minister for Finance, to demand that their recent campaign against corrupt Liberals, particularly Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau, continue without Parliament sitting.
The fact that Parliament is no longer sitting interrupted their media campaign against the two Liberals, centering on the WE charity scandal, as they put it. But the two enterprising Conservatives have found a way to carry on the fight regardless. On August 28, the pair fired off letters to the Clerk of the Privy Council, and the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, warning them not to destroy any relevant documents which might be useful to them, following the resignation of the Finance Minister.
In a press release, Michael Barrett continued the high level of righteous indignation which has characterised the crusade so far. “Conservatives have written to the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Librarian and Archivist of Canada to ensure that documents related to Justin Trudeau’s scandals are not destroyed,” said MP Barrett. “Justin Trudeau has used every tool at his disposal to cover up his ethical failings, including shutting down Parliament. Safeguards must be in place to ensure that relevant documents are not destroyed.”
Now, as an historian, I can only imagine how Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, will react to this letter. As a professional, Ms. Weir would find the very idea of destroying records, especially government documents, as completely anathema. Archivists exist to preserve records and to ensure they are available to researchers, writers, historians, and the general public, within the remit of Library and Archives Canada.
The letter to the Archivist reads, in part: “Subsection 12(1) of the Library and Archives Act prohibits the destruction of any ministerial record without your permission. Can you confirm that you have not given permission for Mr. Morneau to destroy, or to cause the destruction, of any ministerial record from his time as Minister of Finance (and particularly any record created in 2020)?”
It is unfortunate that the two crusaders should even raise the suggestion that a professional archivist, particularly one in charge of the National Archives, would somehow act in such an unprofessional manner. To politicise the position she holds smacks of an attempt to copy the worst excesses of the Excited States these days, when no-one and no public office is immune from having mud slung in its direction.
This is not a defense of Trudeau, Morneau, or the Liberals. It is simply an objection to making political hay out of the reputation of responsible and professional public servants. Politicians will be politicians, and there is no need to list the ways in which Conservative ministers of the Crown have behaved while in office. “A plague on both their houses” would be the appropriate comment, I think. Poilievre stated in the press release: “Documents must be preserved so the truth is not hidden, and Canadians can get the answers they deserve.”
If only we got the politicians we deserve…or maybe not.