Carefully choreographed Liberal budget crowded out by the SNC-Lavalin affair

Carefully choreographed Liberal budget crowded out by the SNC-Lavalin affair

By Shachi Kurl, Executive Director

Two weeks ago, I gamely speculated that Justin Trudeau’s government had an opening to reset the political narrative with a well-choreographed budget that made all the right moves for centre-left voters. Boy, was I wrong: The Liberals remain flat-footed, more stumbling zombies than dancing queens. The SNC-Lavalin scandal has consumed every last bit of oxygen in Ottawa in a week where Finance Minister Bill Morneau barely got the chance to deliver his budget in the House, let alone defend it in Question Period.

Instead, his budget speech was drowned out by opposition chants of “Let her speak,” a reference to former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould. Question Period was cancelled two days in a row due to a Conservative-led filibuster that forced MPs to vote morning and night on motions for the Liberals to waive Raybould-Wilson’s privilege. They slept on cots, they almost lost the confidence of the House in the confusion and fatigue of it all, and they apparently snacked in the Commons when they weren’t supposed to.

That’s to say nothing of an interview former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott gave to Maclean’s, hinting darkly that there’s “much more to the story that needs to be told,” or the resignation of MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes from the Liberal caucus, all in the same week as the budget.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site, where it was initially published.