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Opinion: Bill Walton, The Deputy

Who you gonna call when you don’t have a Deputy
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When the going got rough in the old west it was often the Deputy who strapped on his six-shooters and took care of business.

If the bad fellows were known to be headed to town for a shootout and the Sherriff had to suddenly attend to a barking dog complaint 5 miles out of town, he called on the deputy or even swore in a few more fellows who were quick on the draw. Legend does not note many female deputies but there may have been some as no doubt there were ladies of the afternoon who could whip out a pistol and shoot a hombre with great alacrity.

I am thinking that young Trudeau might have liked to have had a Deputy Prime Minister like his dad  Pierre did back in 1977. Freeland is sort of an acting deputy and she has a hair-trigger finger and a sharp tongue but she might not have been the one to send to the AG about SNC: she too has a mind of her own, methinks. Sending in unelected non-deputies to hold somebody’s feet to the fire is sometimes not the right thing to do. You have to send one of your own – or go yourself.

Another thing that puzzles me about the SNC Lavalin affair is that it seems the politicians and their hired hands appear to have a pre-conceived notion that SNC is guilty. Maybe the courts will find them innocent or that there is a reason for a mistrial or whatever. Strange things happen in courtrooms. Instead of trying to avoid the trial, why not get on with remediation? Shucks, SNC might even get probation and hours of public service.

However, back to the Deputy. We have not had a Deputy Prime Minister since 2006, relying on the Governor General (another non-elected position) to call on the governing party to select an acting or replacement head of our country in case of temporary or permanent loss of the PM.  We have no designated survivor as they do south of the border.  (If you watched the TV show you might think that Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland might be a good DS for us. He is a Canadian, after all). Come to think about the American system, I’m not certain I’d want Pence in charge, but that’s their problem, not ours right now.

That’s the thing with deputies: they ought to be of the same mind as their boss. If we were to have a Deputy PM, Justin would have surely picked someone from his own party. Maybe someone less photogenic than himself, however having a pretty face is important for social media. Of course, there are Liberals and then there are Liberals. I had hopes for Anthony, thinking cream would rise to the top, but it is maybe just as well to keep one’s head down in the trenches right now.

Down at the lowest level of government, we do elect deputy mayors and reeves. They, however, may not be on the same side of issues as the Mayor or Reeve. Take our previous situation here in the City of North Bay for instance. Now, we seem to be of a similar accord, and indeed the two top elected officials may have been in accord for a number of years, which normally one would think, was a good thing.

It is good to see all elected officials singing from the same hymnbook, as it appears they are doing in Ottawa. The PM selects the song and you sing. Well, except for a couple of choristers who are often off-key and told to only hum. Our City council seems to be singing from the CFO’s song sheet on the budget but I think they are all on the wrong page. I’m still trying to imagine what kind of a local calamity would see us facing financial ruin in 6 months: if things are that bad, 6 months of reserves will not bring relief.

Anyway, we are in for another interesting week of politics in North America. Shucks, we might as well throw in Venezuela and Cuba as political unrest spreads Brexit-like around the world. The Ukrainians and Russians, Pakistanis and Indians, China and Canada, are all contributing to the turmoil. Something must be happening in New Zealand or are they immune to the current madness?

 To quote Otto von Bismarck: Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied. Old Otto was right. Just saying.