Groundhog Day in Ottawa

Justice committee could take a while to get to bottom of SNC-Lavalin scandal
Story and photos by Jim Brown

It’s Day 334 of the House of Commons Justice Committee’s hearing into the SNC-Lavalin affair.

There’s been a federal election since the committee started its work in February, of 2019 and the Liberal majority has been reduced to a thin minority, propped up by the Green Party’s 35 seats.

On this day yet another high-level bureaucrat has demanded an appearance before the committee. An earlier witness said he observed the bureaucrat putting milk in his coffee, to which the indignant bureaucrat responded: “It’s a bald-faced lie! Everyone knows I’m lactose intolerant!”

Day 335

RCMP officials are invited to present details on the progress of their investigation into the PMO and Justin Trudeau. Trudeau was visiting PEI during the hearing and was spotted on a lobster fishing boat hauling a trap. His little finger was crushed in a three pound lobster’s claw.

Day 378 The very same day SNC-Lavalin closes its doors for good a legislative aide tells the committee he overhead Chrystia Freeland say the Tim’s donuts served at a Liberal party fundraiser were stale. Heated debate ensues.

Day 382 Three school buses disgorge more than 100 students at the hearing. They were there as part of a class project on civics. One was overhead telling a teacher, “This blows big chunks.”

Day 392

A White House staffer was in the visitor’s gallery. The staffer was on a fact-finding mission to Ottawa and was due to report back to the GOP conference the next day. “I don’t get it,” said the aide. “Where’s the million dollar payoff? Was anyone even groped?”

Date 398 Green Party Leader Elizabeth May testifies. She apologizes for not preparing for her appearance, having believed it was an emergency meeting on safety measures to protect the North Atlantic right whale.

Day 412 Justice committee members vote to take the show on the road, scheduling sessions for Thunder Bay, O’Leary, PEI, a legion in Calgary and the Hooters in Ottawa.

Day 433 Justice committee discovers it has blown through its budget. No more Tims.

Day 455 The backlog of witnesses wanting to speak at the hearings has reached several hundred. Here’s how a frustrated committee member described the situation: “Someone says something that’s at odds with an earlier witness so a nose is going to get out of joint. So he or she is going to want to rebut the witness’s testimony, and then someone else will feel wronged in the process. Or maybe Andrew Scheer thinks something is still being covered up so the committee will call more witnesses and the cycle will continue like one of those Groundhog Day loops.”

The committee member says this will continue until everyone is exhausted or there’s another election. “It’s the Canadian way and a lot cheaper than throwing people in jail.”

Day 456 “I can’t take it anymore! Make it stop,” is the anguished cry from an unnamed committee member, that somehow gets on CBC Radio.

Day 457 Andrew Scheer says the government is determined to cover up one of Canada’s biggest political scandals. He wants the witness list expanded.

Several members phone in sick and the justice committee adjourns for an indefinite period.

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