Like a unicorn, Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio is often talked about — but rarely seen.
Back on May 2, Conservative MP Gordon Brown died. On October 28, just before his 180-day legal limit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a byelection for Leeds-Grenville, the Conservative bastion in Eastern Ontario that Brown had represented. That byelection will be held December 3, 2018.
But in his October 28 byelection call, the Prime Minister did not also include the vacant seats of Outremont, York-Simcoe and Burnaby South. That decision might be explained as a Liberal need to keep new NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (who is running in Burnaby South) on the sidelines, with the denial of representation for 300,000 Canadians simply being the price of Liberal interests.
Also excluded on October 28, was Saint-Leonard–Saint-Michael, even through in April Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio said he would be resigning. But he didn’t.
And it now turns out Di Iorio is working a very coincidental timeline.
Di Iorio has continued to collect his paycheque while not showing up to vote in the House of Commons since at least least June. And recently, brazenly, Di Iorio said he plans to continue to hold the seat a while longer — while not attending the Commons.
This is a different kind of reality. You try that at your workplace and see how it goes.
But Trudeau seems just fine with that, it seems. He hasn’t removed Di Iorio from caucus. He has not condemned his behaviour as completely unacceptable from a representative of the people — whose first job is to show up in the people’s chamber and vote.
Like with the delay in Burnaby South, it’s hard not to feel there’s some other Liberal-serving agenda going on here — in this case we just don’t know what it is. We are like the people in Plato’s cave, who can only see the shadows of Liberal reality cast against the cave wall. And like those in the cave, if we did turn to look at the Liberal reality, we would probably be so startled and overwhelmed — but at its cynicism, not brilliance — that we would never turn to look at it again.
Mr. Di Iorio has recently informed us, and Mr. Trudeau has raised no public objection, that he has now decided to quit on precisely January 22, 2019.
January 22 is a Tuesday. What a curious date to choose for retirement.
Or perhaps not.
Let’s talk about Bill C-76. It’s a bill from the Minster of Democratic Institutions, Katrina Gould. As Canadians will remember, Gould was the PM’s promise-breaker on electoral reform.
Bill C-76 includes something very interesting for Trudeau and Di Iorio. Its legislative summary states the bill would “prevent the calling of a byelection when a vacancy in the House of Commons occurs within nine months before the day fixed for a general election.”
The next federal election is scheduled for October 21, 2019. Nine months prior to that date is Monday, January 21, 2019.
Why exactly Trudeau and Di Iorio would want to prevent a byelection in Saint-Leonard—Saint-Michel is, of course, a mystery to us cave-dwellers. But avoiding the voters does seem to be the game.
It really is something that Trudeau or Di Iorio appear to have already found a way around their own law — even before it has been passed.
Anyone trying to understand how this Prime Minister makes his byelection decisions — whether there is any democratic principle at work in them — is condemning him or herself. It seems it’s all tactical games, each one individually designed for a specific and hidden Liberal need. And the democratic rights of us cave-dwellers is just an unimportant matter.