In ancient Rome, consuls (the highest elected political office) and governors had legal immunity. Essentially, governors and consuls were above the law for the duration of their governance. This ultimately led to a massive civil war with one faction led by Julius Caesar and another by Pompey the Great. If you’ve been following the news, this may sound eerily familiar as some Republicans have, in various ways, floated the idea that the U.S. president is above the law.
Now, furthermore, there are a whole bunch of questions floating around as to whether U.S. Attorney General William Barr is trying to cover up the findings of the Mueller report. Consequently, there’s all kinds of partisan back and forth (much like in ancient Rome). There are also many other lingering questions, such as those surrounding Trump’s tax returns.
It’s pretty clear that things in the U.S. are a mess. Some Canadians may even experience some schadenfreude over the situation down there.
Meanwhile, in Canada, we have our own political scandal going on, but at least the outward perspective is that it’s far less of a mess. There’s been no debate as to whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is above the law, there’s been no debate over whether a report conducted by a generally considered independent third-party was covered up or not.
Instead, we’ve got something worse. We’ve got serious allegations of wrongdoing against a Liberal Prime Minister, being investigated by an 11-person committee, seven of whom are Liberal. Subsequently, when Jane Philpott was kicked out of the Liberal party (along with Jody Wilson-Raybould), and complained that they were ejected unilaterally and without due process, Liberal Party speaker Geoff Regan said it was out of his jurisdiction.
So there you go. Canadians can rest assured there’s nothing to see here. Everything is perfectly in order (sarcasm).
There’s a famous case in the English justice system (keep in mind that the Canadian legal system has its foundation in the English common law system), called R v Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy, from which we get the often quoted “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”
It’s hard to argue that justice is currently seen to be done in either the U.S. or Canada, but at least in the U.S. they’re several steps closer, having at least conducted an ostensibly impartial investigation. It doesn’t seem we’ll make it even that far in Canada.