Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Opposition brings the Noise to Budget Presentation, as SNC-Lavalin controversy continues to roll on

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen speaking Tuesday in the
House of Commons amid the tumult of the Budget speech

On some occasions, the House of Commons appears at times to be but an extension of a Middle School Classroom with a dis-spirited substitute teacher at the front of the class, the noise, catcalls and somewhat boorish behaviour all serving to give voters at times cause to ponder the wisdom of their choices on election day.

Tuesday was such a day, as we noted in our look at the Federal Budget, the Opposition side made the delivery of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's Budget presentation something that only a lip reader could divine, such was the cacophony of noise to drown him out.

Through the Budget Presentation  Opposition Members drowned out the Finance Minister, offering no opportunity for him to be heard, leading at times for a frustrated Speaker to call a point of order  to try and retrieve some sense of decorum.

It was during the course of one such stoppage, that  Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen spoke to the controversy  (accompanied by an emergency bell chiming at the time ) in the Chamber as he offered  up how there may be a path away from the tumult of the Commons on the day.

As the video shows, that attempt of the Skeena-Bukley Valley MP to address the SNC-Lavalin concerns didn't quite find any traction and the disruptions continued; though towards the end the Finance Minister did get to wrap up his presentation after the Speaker finally gained some control of the chamber,.

However, the focus of the Budget certainly shared centre stage with the SNC-Lavalin controversy certainly claiming a good share of the day's news, despite the hopes of the Federal Liberals.

The noisy commons tactic was the latest move of protest by the Opposition side to the way the Liberals are handling the SNC-Lavalin controversy, a political firestorm that has claimed four participants by way of resignation so far with the Opposition members calling out cover up at every turn of the story.

So far, Canadians have watched with some fascination as the former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned in protest over pressure from the Prime Minister's office and senior clerks over the SNC-Lavalin issue, her resignation was followed by that of the Prime Minister's top aide Gerald Butts.

Adding her name to the list of departures was former Treasury Board Minister Jane Philpott who outlined her concerns over how Ms. Wilson-Raybould had been treated by the government officials, while rounding out the list of the departing (so far) was the Senior non elected official in Ottawa the Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick. 

He resigned following a less than well received performance at the now suspended Justice Committee hearings earlier this month.

All of which has rattled the Trudeau government but so far led to no movement on calls for a Public inquiry, or some other formal mechanism to look into the scandal that has caught International attention and tarnished some of the Prime Minister's global glow these days.

On Tuesday, the Opposition served notice that they weren't going to let the SNC-Lavalin story fade from the headlines, suggesting it may take more than a Budget full of pre-election goodies to knock down the fire that continues to surround the Prime Minister's office.

You can catch up on many of the elements of the story from our political portal D'Arcy McGee making use of our Ottawa Observations Archives going back to January, we have created a special sub category on SCN-Lavalin for each days' entry during the controversy.

For more notes related to federal politics and the impact on the Northwest see our House of Commons Archive page here.

To view the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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