Should Justin Trudeau have collected speaking fees while sitting as an MP? In my books, no, he should not have. I find charging people to hear a sitting MP speak to be a gross violation of the ethics an MP should hold themselves to. However, to Justin's credit, he disclosed all of his income in February and has since stopped collecting fees since he won the leadership race. He has even proposed measures to deal with this situation. In a sane world, an all party committee would look at the ethics of MPs collecting income while sitting in government and issue recommendations that everyone would follow going forward. Because it isn't just Justin Trudeau that earned additional income on the side while sitting as an MP, nearly half of MPs (in 2010) also earned outside income of one form or another. If the governing Conservatives were at all serious about this, they would give this a serious none-partisan consideration. This issue is about much more than just Justin Trudeau. To say otherwise is a statement of gross hypocrisy and willful blindness.
Instead of being serious, the Conservative Party of Canada, and more specifically, the Office of the Prime Minister decided to assume Canadians are idiots and go the illogical, asinine and insulting attack route. How the hell what Justin Trudeau charged as a public speaker BEFORE he became an MP is relevant is beyond me. He was conducting a perfectly above-board legal business, entering into legal binding contracts with customers that actively solicited his services. If that is unethical, well then every single business entity in this country has to shutdown. "But some of his customers were charities!" is the cry. Really? Charities are not allowed to purchase anything, and no one is allowed to sell any service to a charity at all? Anything a charity receives has to be freely given?
If you earnestly make that argument, you need to be slapped in the face with a brick Multiple times.
And this is what is so rage-inducing infuriating about the CPC attack line. All logic and reason is sacrificed on the altar of partisan politics. It is insulting to my intelligence. It is insulting to yours and every other Canadian citizens' intelligence. The extreme hyper-partisanship of the CPC and their private sector attack dogs is puerile, disgusting and is an assault on the principles of democracy.
What is personally frustrating is that I actually agree with some of the core arguments against Justin Trudeau. I do see him as a naive, immature, impetuous, and featherbrained leader. I do agree that collecting speaking fees as an MP was unethical. But the CPC attack machine is so infantile, so grossly over-the-top and factually challenged that I actually start to feel sorry for Justin Trudeau and am more inclined to see him in a better light.
Because the CPC uses such immature and insulting tactics, if my MP, Gary Goodyear showed up at my door, I would spit in his face and tell him to get the fuck off my property before he could even open his mouth. He doesn't deserve my respect, and no other CPC MP deserves it either. They're all immoral craven political bullies of the worse sort.
And I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Many of my conservative friends and family have the same loathing for the politicians currently serving in Ottawa, CPC members in particular.
"Attack Ads work." We're told this countless times, and it is probably true in the limited context of any given election. But democracy is more than about elections. Democracy is about serving the public with respect. Respect for their views, and respect for their intelligence. The only participants in a democratic system that are automatically owed respect are the voters. Government officials have to earn their respect from the people. Lately, we have this all backwards. MPs cry foul when they are being investigated for abusing the public trust. All this while the Government, the Government that represents all Canadians, constantly tries to manipulate the media and turn it into a partisan messaging board, uses Government resources to attack other parties, and even spies on individual citizens.Governing isn't about us vs. them. Governing is all about us. Everyone, from the extreme left to the extreme right. The government belongs to the people, not the other way around.
I wish I could end this on a hopeful note. But I can't. Damn the Conservative Party of Canada for utterly trashing every single government institution and democratic principle this country used to have. I loathe you, I hate you and I dearly hope your party is one day utterly destroyed.