The Canadian Politician (Toronto) – Whitby (ON) Liberal MP, Celina Caesar-Chanvannes, has taken exception to the speech by Prime Minister Trudeau on Thursday, on the ongoing SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal. The speech where many thought the prime minister would apologize to Canadians for his government’s attempt to circumvent the judicial process, became one of non-apology and continued denial of pressure exerted on Jody Wilson-Raybould as Justice Minister.
In the speech, Trudeau blamed the scandal on an “erosion of trust” between his office and that of Wilson-Raybould, but did not admit that pressure was brought to bear on Wilson-Raybould to offer the company a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Trudeau who towed the path of humility in admitting that “there are lessons to be learned from the controversy, including lessons about leadership,” stated ”I believe the real leadership is about listening, learning and compassion.” He continued, “One of the things central to my leadership is fostering an environment where my ministers, caucus and staff feel comfortable coming to me where they have concerns.”
However, first term MP, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, took exception to the last part of his statement that referenced “fostering an environment” and wrote in a tweet, “I did come to you recently. Twice. Remember your reaction?” It was not clear what the Grenada-born MP was referring to. But what is clear is the fact that she is disputing his claim of fostering a conducive environment where his ministers, caucus and staff would feel free to come to him with any concerns. Caesar-Chavannes did go to him twice, as claimed, and from her tweet, she was suggesting that the reaction of the prime minister was not favorable and runs contrary to his public statement about how he relates to his staff, ministers and caucus.
Caesar-Chavannes is not one to shy away from controversy. She was one of the Liberal MPs who supported embattled Wilson-Raybould at the onset of the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal, and has been a strong voice in the House for mental health issues. Last year, she sparred with Conservative MP Maxime Bernier over identity politics. Their Twitter tirade began when Bernier criticized the Liberal government funding of racialized Canadians, saying that the goal of anti-racism policy was to ensure a “colour-blind” society. To this statement, Caesar-Chavannes responded that Bernier should educate himself by doing some research. She added, “Please check your privilege and be quiet.” She later apologized and offered the olive branch for an in-person chat. Caesar-Chavannes who was elected in October 2015 in the Liberal Party sweep, announced last week that she will not be seeking reelection for personal reasons.