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Michael Wernick’s retirement has been announced. His replacement will be Ian Shugart, who is currently the deputy for Minister Chrystia Freeland. Wernick was to chair the “Critical Election Incident Public Protocol Panel” which came under fire following his disastrous appearances before the Justice Committee.
This comes two weeks after the NDP called for his resignation over allegations that he threatened the former attorney general, a call that was only strengthened by Wernick’s second appearance to the committee.
At that committee, Wernick disclosed under questioning from Conservative MP Lisa Raitt that he had retained personal legal counsel following opposition calls for a criminal investigation by the RCMP, specifically citing Criminal Code sections 139(2) and 423.1(1).
It has now come to light that at least two additional legal crews have showed up on the Hill, one for the prime minister personally.
Wernick’s resignation is, morally, the right thing to have happened. That is, unless SNC-Lavalin hires him as their newest lobbyist.
He had personally posed the biggest threat to the public credibility of our election. However, it now has the potential collateral effect of reducing the obviousness of why the Liberals’ new “board of censors” is a danger to our democracy.
His replacement, who was already on the panel alongside the deputies of Ministers Lametti and Goodale, is likely to become the new head of the election monitoring panel. Minister Freeland’s new deputy will likely become the newest member of the panel.
Public trust has suffered unlike ever before in this country’s history, and the SNC-Lavalin scandal alone has brought several different aspects of public trust into question, including the independence of the mainstream press.
Parliament can always rebuild that trust. Wernick’s resignation was the first step, but it cannot be the last.