Andrew MacDougall is a London (U.K.) based columnist, commentator and consultant. He was formerly Director of Communications to Stephen Harper.
As a rule of thumb, a “shut down” strategy only works if you’re actually in control of the things you need to shut down.
A House of Commons justice committee stacked with a majority of your party members? Eminently shut-downable. An office full of your loyal employees? Equally sealable. A wayward clerk of the Privy Council? With a gentle shove you can even send one of them on his way.
But Justin Trudeau isn’t in control of all of the things he needs to shut down in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. That’s his problem. You can’t shout “nothing to see here” when the chorus is free to pop up behind you and shout “look over here” at the top of their lungs.
That’s what the opposition has chosen to do, literally in this case, as they screamed their way through Bill Morneau’s budget speech. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are also using every trick in the Parliamentary procedure rule book to protest the justice committee’s decision to end its ‘investigation’ into SNC, including forcing a standing vote on each line item in the budget.
It might not be elegant, but it’s keeping people from talking about the thing (i.e. the budget) Trudeau hoped would change the channel from Jody Wilson-Raybould and her pesky insistence on the rule of law.
Watch (Reference from a comment in link 10 and possibly in Trudeau’s future):