Criminal Law

Expulsions show Trudeau's previously untapped decisiveness

By Randy O’Donnell, Associate Editor

Expelling Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus is a "defining moment" in the political career of Justin Trudeau, Toronto criminal lawyer Laurelly Dale tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

Dale, principal of Dale Legal Firm, tells the online legal publication that, until this month, the Liberal prime minister has been "regarded as soft."

"Dealing with Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott has forced him to begin the growth process into a role his father played well: decisive political leader. The past two months have been rough for Justin," Dale writes in The Lawyer’s Daily.

"The decision to expel Wilson-Raybould and Philpott is one that was applauded by many — including those that are an untapped demographic of conservative voters. If he continues down this path, he could emerge as the winner in the SNC Lavalin controversy and, more broadly, in the fall of 2019."

Until recently, she says that she has not considered the younger Trudeau in the same group of political leaders as his father, Pierre Trudeau, who led the nation from 1968–1979 and 1980–1984. He died in September 2000.

"His relentlessness is what led to the patriation of our Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Trudeau was determined to secure Canada’s independence from Britain by taking control of its Constitution. He was strategic, obtaining a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada finding that he needs ‘a substantial degree of provincial consent’ to move forward," Dale writes in The Lawyer's Daily.

"His primary obstacle was René Lévesque, leader of the Parti Québécois. Trudeau took matters into his own hands. Rallying the ‘Gang of Eight.’ What happened next later became known as the Night of the Long Knives. The next morning, Lévesque was stunned to learn that an agreement had been ratified behind his back."

Justin Trudeau’s decisiveness in ousting Wilson-Raybould and Philpott brings hope that the prime minister could become "an unstoppable leader" in his own right, she says in an opinion piece for the online legal outlet.

"His father is often found on lists of greatest Canadians. It is because of his own defining moments such as dealing with the FLQ crisis and invoking the War Measures Act," Dale writes.

"Justin found a snake in the grass as he tried saving over 9,000 jobs in Quebec. He created a reasonable avenue to deal with SNC-Lavalin through the Canadianized deferred prosecution agreement. While smaller in comparison to the decisions of Pierre, Justin did what needed to be done: expel Wilson-Raybould and Philpott."

To capitalize on the momentum, the prime minister must focus on voter demographics that were "isolated because of his historically left platforms" during the 2015 federal election, she tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

"These are the moderate conservative first-time college-educated voters who are concerned about economic growth and the group of undecided (but typically conservative) voters you could sway from the Conservatives. Here’s how you start: 1) Get rid of the goofiness — ask yourself if your father would take that selfie and if the answer is 'no' then don’t do it. 2) Focus on what voters vote on: the economy," Dale writes.

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