Chief of staff Katie Telford, left, and principal secretary Gerald Butts look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks during the Meeting of First Ministers in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Trudeau’s Liberal government and his hopes for re-election were rocked Monday by the resignation of his longtime friend and principal secretary Gerald Butts amid allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office interfered to prevent a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

COLUMN: SNC-Lavalin ruptures Liberal progressive idealism

Trudeau-Liberals unable to deliver on another key election promise

If you want your government to have a progressive agenda, maybe don’t vote for the party that historically steals progressive ideas to get elected and then mangles them.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the federal Liberals are under fire for allegedly applying pressure to the former Justice Minister and Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould’s testimony that accounted for alleged pressure applied by Justin Trudeau’s PMO and the subsequent resignation of both Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau Cabinet Minister Jane Philpott over SNC-Lavalin is just another example of a Liberal Party that has been unable to live up to their own lofty ideals.

In this case, Trudeau’s self-professed feminism does not seem to be backed up by what appears to be a case of applying pressure to the female Attorney-General, who would not rule in a way favourable to SNC-Lavalin and the governing party by extension.

While details still remain unclear and applying pressure to a Cabinet minister isn’t explicitly misogynistic, the resignation of two talented female ministers doesn’t exactly scream equality in government.

This apparent failure of progressive policy is fast becoming a staple of the Liberal party.

Trudeau’s star was rising high in the 2015 election, with his party running on progressive policy such as cannabis reform, equality within government and the possibility of a departure from a first-past-the-post electoral system.

All of these policies the Liberals ran on, to a varying degree, have been failures.

Electoral reform — particularly towards a more European proportional representative model — was scrapped entirely early in the Liberal mandate, leaving Canadians with a system that awards majority governments to parties earning under 40 per cent of the popular vote.

Cannabis legislation was intended to take a bite out of the black market and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors. It is too early to tell whether these goals have been reached, but what has been clear is that the provinces — and particularly municipalities — were forced to absorb the majority of risk and cost associated with the implementation of a federal law that did not come with concise guidelines.

Finally, equality within government started out fine for Trudeau — with the Prime Minister famously saying, “Because it’s 2015”, when asked why he chose to have a half-female Cabinet — however the SNC-Lavalin scandal could perhaps show that the Liberal Party has not reached the current era when it comes to intimidation within Government.

This all said, the Liberal Party — which has historically been called the natural governing party in Canada — perhaps isn’t ready to assume the progressive ideals of the 21st Century.

There are many MPs from all parties that stand for progressive ideals of equality, many of them, yes, being Liberal.

What SNC-Lavalin shows, however, is that Canadians who value progressive change must do their research to ensure that the people that represent them will stand true to their integrity and progressive mandates — much like Wilson-Raybould did when she apparently didn’t cave to “pre-2015” intimidation political tactics.

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