The fear over incidents that may never happen, shrinks a person's brain mass and lowers his IQ, and excessive worries and anxiety can impair a person's judgment. When it comes to a national leader, the decision from an over-worried PM can cause widespread damages to a nation. Specifically, it can lead to toxic behaviors that rocked the stability of the government and made all players involved suffer from the loss.
每日新闻综述 1月1日 周三 2019年多市292人被枪杀或枪伤 市府拟与税局分享资料
The role PM Trudeau played in SNC-Lavalin legal drama has best illustrated this point.
PM Trudeau had been grappling with a deep-seated fear that a criminal trial for the Canadian engineer giant will bring devastating economic damages to the country under his reign. A criminal conviction would put 9000 jobs at stake, which he must protect at all costs. As a PM, "one of his responsibilities is，and always is，to stand up for jobs and to protect Canadians right across the country."
The gloomy prospect of SNC's job loss had created such a nightmare for the PM that it eroded his confidence over Canada's legal and judiciary system. He decided not to let the Canadian system run its course but to political intervene in the process. The meddling can be traced back to 2015 when the Liberal government changed the Criminal Code that offered Canadian corporations a powerful tool of DPA to avoid a criminal trial. In 2018, when the public prosecutors decided SNC could not avoid prosecution by using DPA, the anxious PM pressured the former attorney general Wilson Raybould to interfere with the federal prosecutors' decision. WRB refused to intervene, and SNC was in the hand of the court and the judiciary system.
But a few weeks ago, the SNC's construction division pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud related to activities in Libya. It will pay a $280 million fine and receive a three-year probation order. The result is not significantly different from what the Trudeau government sought to achieve when it pressured WRB to intervene. In another words, had Trudeau done nothing, SNC would have avoided the devastating consequences he had feared for.
But all players in the scandal emerged battered and harmed. Among Trudeau's entourage, his principal secretary Gerald Butts resigned from his post, and Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retired under heightened public scrutiny. Wilson Raybould and her supporter Jane Phyipott lost their cabinet post and even their membership to the caucus and the party.
The SNC has racked up heavy losses in many of its core businesses. Apart from a steady exodus of talent, it also lost one of its best assets – a 10 percent stake in Ontario Highway 407.
Furthermore, it lost its eligibility to bid on fixed-price contracts in Canada – including Vancouver's Canada Line and light-rail transit system in Toronto. The scandal has also wiped out almost all the jobs PM wanted to protect.
But the biggest loser of all from the scandal would be Trudeau himself. He was under the investigation of the ethics commission, which found that the PM violated ethic rules in the controversy. It has also hit the Liberals hard in the election, leading to its lost seats in the parliament. Moreover, it has cast Canada's reputation as the rule of law defender in shadow.
All of this wouldn't have happened had Trudeau remained calm and left SNC alone. Trudeau says that his government might have acted differently had it known the case would reach a resolution this way. But it is too late for regrets now. His poor judgment had caused irreparable harm. To avoid further damages and to become a more competent national leader, Trudeau must fix his anxiety disorder.
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