THREE YEARS AGO, almost to the week, Justin Trudeau informed the world he no longer believed in Canada. Our country will be the “first post national state,” he told the New York Times. “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.”
Freshly-minted as prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in 2015, foreshadowed his ambition to transform Canada. And by his owns words, and the action of his government since then, it’s clear the country he was elected to serve is not the Canada he has in mind.
Has this prime minister committed treason? And not just in the court of public opinion? And, if so, is there a process for his removal from office before he does more harm to the country, and himself?
Justin Trudeau, self-declared champion of the world’s first post-national nation state, is obsessed with world governance and has abrogated his responsibilities as prime minister of Canada.
The prime minister recently sent an entourage of over 100 people with Minister Catherine McKenna to participate in the climate summit in Poland. Contrast this against the relative handful of negotiators sent to Washington, this year, to remake Canada’s trade agreement with the Americans.
Justin Trudeau also declared a federally-mandated climate change policy in the ‘national interest’, a blunt legislative object that trumps provincial and municipal authority. Meantime: the prime minister refuses to use the very same federal tool to declare a pipeline crossing provincial boundaries to be in the national interest.
A CASE FOR REMOVAL FROM OFFICE?
We asked a constitutional lawyer for advice. To follow is an account of our to-and-fro exchange (edited for clarity):
CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: I’ve looked at this ‘national interest’ issue previously. Basically, it’s not so much Trudeau, but parliament [that’s in question]. If they really wanted this [pipeline] built, they would just invoke the Peace Order & Good Government (POGG) power, which is the “national concern” or interest branch. It is a legislative power, meaning it rests with parliament.
Parliament of course cannot be forced to legislate. They have parliamentary privilege and are immune from review in failing to do so (except in the narrowest of circumstances).
What I find frustrating is that if parliament wanted to, they could pass legislation titled the Trans-Mountain Act stating that the pipeline is authorized to be built; that the Trans-Mountain Act operates notwithstanding any other statute; and where a statute conflicts with it, it prevails.
BEYOND POLARITY: This makes sense. When has Canada’s parliament used POGG power for this end? Why isn’t anyone asking Trudeau or Parliament to do this?
CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: I don’t know why the Opposition isn’t asking. Frankly, they should just table legislation and keep doing so…
Parliament invoked POGG for a carbon tax. I don’t see how you couldn’t for a national pipeline.
BEYOND POLARITY: Why isn’t federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer or Alberta’s UCP leader Jason Kenney pushing for it? Using POGG power…
CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: …no one knows what POGG is, for the most part, other than us lawyers. They just say “invoke national interest” without understanding what that takes. I’ve become terrified knowing how little elected officials know about law and the legislative process…
BEYOND POLARITY: So it could be treason? Trudeau’s saving the world but letting Canada’s economy fizzle out. Pretending that provincial premiers in British Columbia and now Quebec have the right to block pipelines in the national interest?
CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: Think of Sir John A. MacDonald [Canada’s first prime minister]. What he did with the railway, for right or wrong, got things moving. The powers of government are the same now as they were in 1867. Flick of a pen, it’s done.
BEYOND POLARITY: Has any prime minister or leader ever been charged with treason, or alleged to have been seditious in Canada?
CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: No prime minister.
[The] closest would be treason — [Manitoba Metis leader] Louis Riel comes to mind…
It’s a political problem [today] not a legal one.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
For one, stop playing a game that’s designed for Albertans to lose.
BC’s John Horgan and Quebec’s new premier Francois Legault are not the problem and have no authority to block pipeline construction in the ‘national interest’. It’s federal jurisdiction.
And since Opposition members are elected to hold the federal government to account, parliament and the prime minister needs to have their feet held to your fire.
Phone, email, write your MP. And do it often, please.