Justin Trudeau must ask the governor-general to dissolve parliament immediately, with a general election to follow in April. Instead, he and his remaining counselors will probably calm down and wait for time to dampen public outrage over their actions.
But let there be no mistake: according to Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony on Wednesday, the prime minister and his most important advisers seriously undermined the rule of law when they repeatedly urged her as Attorney General to interfere in the criminal process of SNC-Lavalin. for partisan political reasons. For having threatened her when she refused, and having her removed from her portfolio when she would not bow to such threats, was reprehensible.
A prime minister who was accused of such abuses by his own former attorney general should no longer have the confidence of the House of Commons. This government should fall.
Instead, the Liberal party will likely continue to support its leader because of blind loyalty. And the strategists preparing for the October election undoubtedly already have the sidelines: the prime minister was just trying to preserve the thousands of jobs that would be at stake if SNC-Lavalin were to be condemned; no one intended to pressure or threaten the former minister; the final decision has always been her to make.
This can happen to some people, but not to many others. Wilson-Raybould's testimony on Wednesday was so deeply damning that the Liberals no longer have a moral mandate to govern.
Last week's testimony from Michael Wernick, secretary of the Privy Council, now makes sense. When he insisted no one had applied "inappropriate pressure" to Mrs. Wilson-Raybould, the country's highest-ranking civil servant may have expected him to cauterize the impact of his testimony before she gave the result. He listened to Mrs. Wilson-Raybould, painstakingly but relentlessly describing a campaign of pressure, partisan concerns, intimidation, and threats, based on the meticulous notes she made of each meeting, will believe in it, not in it.
The employee's testimony seems even strident and reckless in the light of what she said.
But it is Mr. Trudeau's actions that deserve the fiercest condemnation. When the first Globe and Mail report appeared to say that Mrs. Wilson-Raybould had been pressured to postpone SNC-Lavalin's accusation, and he said the story was false, he must have known it was not untrue.
When he said that if Mrs. Wilson-Raybould had any concerns, she had an obligation to raise them, he must have known that she had raised those concerns with growing alarm at every meeting she insisted should not be occurring.
When he said that Mrs. Wilson-Raybould would be attorney general today, if Scott Brison did not resign from the Treasury Council presidency, forcing a change in the cabinet, he must have known that Mrs. Wilson-Raybould thought she was being forced to leave. wallet, because she would not bend her will.
And when he told reporters time and again that the Canadian authorities detained the executive of Huawei Meng Wanzhou for an extradition hearing because Canada is a nation of the rule of law, he must have known that he was being a hypocrite. He was throwing the rule of law into the ditch every time he tried to force his attorney general to abandon a criminal case because he needed to be re-elected.
You may believe that despite these serial abuses, liberals are still the most appropriate to govern the country, and Trudeau is the leader of the party. You may believe he was just trying to save jobs and pensions at SNC-Lavalin, and that the other parties are too far to the right or to the left. That would be reasonable.
But it would also be reasonable to believe that Trudeau abused the powers of his office and that his senior counselors abused them and that Canadians no longer have confidence in his federal government. Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who also tried to pressure Ms. Wilson-Raybould to cut SNC-Lavalin's slack, has no longer a mandate to present a budget. That this government can no longer represent Canada before the world.
Leave the guys in the war room scheme on how they can rescue the party's reputation between now and the election scheduled for October. Let the partisans recite their lines in front of the cameras. The right thing to do is let the people decide the fate of this government. The right thing to do is have an election now.
Live now: Mrs. Wilson-Raybould witnesses
Read the full text of the opening statement of Ms. Wilson-Raybould