A week after news of the SNC-Lavalin imbroglio broke, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick gave a speech.
It was about a week before he testified for the first time at the House of Commons justice committee, where his opening remarks seemed unduly lurid for the country’s top civil servant.
In particular, I refer to his fear that “the rising tides of incitements to violence” online could see “somebody … shot in this country this year, during the political campaign.”
But on Feb. 14, Wernick was speaking at a conference for government communications specialists.
He spoke about the need for public servants “to be very mindful of our role as a public service that this and future governments will trust…
“…You are where the fresh water and the salt water meet: the boundary between a non-partisan public service and the partisan politics of a lively democracy.
“This is not always an easy place to be.”
Monday, having sewn the seeds of confusion over how well or not he himself recognized that boundary, Wernick was swept away by those very same forces.
He announced his resignation, the fourth casualty of the SNC-Lavalin fiasco, the others being deposed attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould, former treasury board boss Jane Philpott, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerry Butts.