Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being found to have breached the Conflict of Interest Act for pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin did not surprise Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk.
“I’m not surprised at the findings of the ethics commissioner, I don’t think a lot of people are,” said Falk, speaking to the News-Optimist on Thursday.
“I think maybe some of the findings inside the report are surprising. From what I’ve read the PMO was holding back documents and essentially not allowing the ethics commissioner to do its full job.”
As well, she pointed to several witnesses who “weren’t actually able to contribute because he hadn’t waived all solicitor-client or cabinet confidence that needed to be waived for this investigation.”
Falk was also unimpressed with Trudeau’s statement following the findings.
“When somebody says ‘I take full responsibility but I cannot apologize,’ I don’t think that’s taking responsibility. I think it’s very disappointing that the highest, highest office in our country isn’t taking responsibility. And I mean, it’s unfortunate that … this is something that happens in corrupt countries, and our democracy and our rule of law is something that is supposed to protect this from happening.”
“It’s absolutely disappointing that Justin Trudeau won’t take a stand and take leadership, and admit his mistake. And I would go as far as even considering whether he should be sitting as prime minister or even as a member of parliament.”
Falk also said she was disappointed “as a woman” with the way Wilson-Raybould was treated by the prime minister.
“There was a strong woman that was there that told him ‘no, I’m not doing this,’ and he basically (dragged) her through the mud,” Falk said. “And then to find out so many months later that, yes, indeed he was guilty of breaking ethics law, and what the former attorney-general said, there was accuracy behind it.”
Falk also made it clear she is less than impressed with the happenings at the prime minister’s office. When asked about former principal secretary Gerald Butts, who resigned over his role in the SNC-Lavalin scandal but has since resurfaced on the Liberal re-election team, Falk called it “absolutely ridiculous.”
“You can’t make this stuff up, it’s so crazy. I don’t see how someone who was so involved in ways he shouldn’t have been, now advising and helping lead the campaign.”
When asked if she thought the Liberals were looking to change the channel with the election coming up, Falk replied, “that’s what they’re known for.”
Falk believes, however, the next election will ultimately come down to the issue of affordability.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of constituents, not only in the riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster but Canadians as a whole wherever I am, and people are sick and tired of life being unaffordable, and at the end of the day that is what this is about. Constituents, especially in Battlefords-Lloydminster, our farmers, our small business owners … with this carbon tax, there’s a lot of people have come up to me and said ‘if this continues the way it’s going, we’re done. Like, we don’t have a business anymore, we’re going to have to close the doors, we’re going to have to sell the farm, we’re going to have to do something else because life has become so unaffordable.’”
Falk pointed to the amount of taxes the middle class is paying. “They can spin it as much as they want but at the end of the day Canadians know what’s affecting them.”
Closer to home, in the coming days Falk plans to attend a number of open-house meet-and-greet events where constituents can meet with her and express their views.
Her first event was set for Friday, Aug. 16, at her Lloydminster constituency office, with others scheduled for Unity this Saturday, Aug. 17, at the New Horizons Association, and Kerrobert on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Golden Prairie Recreation Centre.
Her North Battleford meet and greet event is scheduled for next Friday, Aug. 23, at her North Battleford constituency office at 1322- 100th Street, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“This is an opportunity for constituents to come, meet me, let me know things they like that I’m doing, that they don’t like that I’m doing, and what their opinion is on these certain things that are happening,” Falk said.