How Jody-Wilson Raybould, Navdeep Bains Led to Our Seemingly Accurate Predictions

Jody-Wilson Raybould and Navdeep Bains were a big part in our seemingly accurate predictions about the next government. Drew Wilson explains.

Back in September, I published a report on what we’ll likely see in the next government. For some, it might seem like an “um, OK” report and not something to be taken too seriously. Others might have thought that the report was simply written out of cynicism or just throwing a dart at the board, hoping for a bulls eye. While some might have forgotten all about it, we certainly did not.

As anyone who actually knows me well enough, I personally don’t write predictions out unless I have a very good degree of certainty. Time and time again, I’ve seen annoyed expressions whenever my predictions come true from those who have always been skeptical of what I have to say on certain topics. This despite a track record that often feels uncanny at times.

So, was this latest “Drew Wilson was right” moment just me getting lucky or was there actual thought that led to the right conclusion. The answer is: it’s the latter. In this case, there were plenty of clues along the way that helped me reach these predictions.

The first clue comes from a political story surrounding Jody-Wilson Raybould. Specifically, this revolved around the SNC-Lavalin scandal. A very brief summary of this is that SNC-Lavalin is a company that was facing huge legal problems. Since it’s such a large corporation, there is a lot of money, power, and influence at stake. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau allegedly wanted to have a deferred prosecution in an effort to make the charges go away. Of course, that decision ultimately fell on Jody-Wilson Raybould at the time. She considered this inappropriately attempting to influence the outcome. That led to a rift between the Prime Minister and a cabinet minister. Long story short, she, along with Jane Philpott, was effectively pushed out of their positions and out of the Liberal party completely.

Some might be thinking, “OK, but that is old news. What does this have to do with the Liberals war on the open Internet?” The answer is, “a lot more than you might think.”

A big message that the scandal sent was that what Justice Trudeau says goes. You disagree with him on something – especially on when there is something big happening, you will be shown the door. This message was heard loud and clear as far back as 2017.

Fast forward to last year and we have the story of Navdeep Bains, the once Innovation Minister. For many, he seemed like someone who actually knew a thing or two about technology and how it works. He was an open advocate for network neutrality among other things. As a result, his position was seemingly destined to clash with the Heritage minister who was pretty much destined to declare open warfare on the free and open Internet. As a result, the two ministries were seemingly destined to clash. Now, keep in mind, the Industry Ministry and the Heritage Ministry have clashed for many governments now over issues like this. So, this would be nothing new. While this is actually a fairly healthy debate in the grand scheme of things, trouble was seemingly afloat.

In January of this year, he suddenly departed from his role. It only took a couple of months before all the good will that Trudeau built up had evaporated as many started to conclude that his government is anti-Internet.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the person who replaced Banes, Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne, mysteriously remained quiet on the front of network neutrality and was mysteriously more open to the idea of just letting the Heritage Minister, Steven Guilbeault, do whatever he likes without objection. At the time, you might have considered this just a coincidence, but in retrospect, it really wasn’t.

Now, recall how the Bill C-10 debate carried out. It was an all out “pass at all costs” moment for the Liberals. While Guilbeault was certainly a disaster at handling the bill, he had a lot of backing from Trudeau. The first hint we saw was the famed “crystal clear” comment. A more egregious example was when Trudeau decided to go into “talks with the senate when C-10 stalled before the election.

What this showed is that this scandal wasn’t just coming from someone who was way in over his head about technology and just listening to lobbyists, but rather, the push came from higher up – specifically, the Prime Minister.

So, what can we establish from all of the above? Trudeau is keeping a short leash on his ministers and isn’t shy about kicking out dissenting opinions. The other thing we can get out of this is that Trudeau has a very keen interest in seeing this war on the Internet come to fruition.

Pushing this further out of the realm of wild theories and speculation is the Liberal Party’s platform (Part 1, Part 2). In it, the party vowed that, within 100 days, they will pass laws surrounding speech regulation, online harms, and link taxes.

Now, enter the recent unveiling of the new cabinet. The good news is that Guilbeault is now gone. The thing is, he was promoted to the Environment Minister which is something Trudeau is particularly interested in. Now, we have Pablo Rodriguez as the Heritage Minister.

Some, of course, were trying to be upbeat with this, effectively saying that they are hopeful that a new face means new direction. I, for one, didn’t really believe that knowing what I knew. In fact, it would honestly be a surprise if Rodriguez strayed much from the current direction the government is taking. Sure enough, just two days later, we were rewarded with our skepticism. Rodriguez echoed what was promised in the platform (fast passage of the overall war on the Internet).

At the end of the day, we read the clues, behaviour, and patterns of the Liberal government. We then delivered our thoughts on what was most likely and made the most sense. Now, we are left with the situation of how a last minute surprise is the only thing left that would turn the corner for this government. At this point, for digital rights, the only reaction to this government that would make sense is, “The next few years is going to suck.”

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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