Unpacking the politics: Legacy of the Duffy trial and the trouble with transparency

Click to play video: 'No Government transparency with Saudi arms deal' No Government transparency with Saudi arms deal
WATCH: Author and journalist Susan Delacourt tells Tom Clark the liberals have not been transparent with the fifteen billion dollars arms deal with Saudi Arabia because the truth may be 'embarassing or awkward.' – Apr 24, 2016

After a week of revelations about Sen. Mike Duffy, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Saudi Arabia arms deal, Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star joined The West Block’s Tom Clark to break down what politicians need to learn in the aftermath.

While Judge Vaillancourt didn’t mince his words about actions taken by the PMO, implications of the Duffy trial should extend well beyond, said Delacourt.

READ MORE: ‘Mind-boggling and shocking’: Judge slams Harper PMO in Mike Duffy verdict

She referred to Kellie Leitch’s media appearance this week where she became emotional for her involvement in the election’s notorious ‘barbaric cultural practices hotline.’ The former Conservative cabinet minister and current party leadership hopeful’s remarks felt a lot like Duffy’s cri de coeur in the Senate before his suspension.

“He said you know they made me do these horrible things. I think really the test of political principles is not doing them in the first place. Not doing them just because they work for you.”

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Delacourt and Clark also tackled the challenges of transparency in government. Details of the Saudi Arabia arms deal have proven difficult to uncover despite the Trudeau government’s oft-repeated commitment to an open and transparent government.

“Just because you say you’re open and transparent, and just because you say it with a smile and sunny ways, doesn’t mean you’re more open and transparent and I think that’s where the rubber’s going to hit the road,” said Delacourt.

“It’s very easy to say you’re going to be, but it’s a lot harder to do it especially when political truth can be embarrassing or awkward.”

Delacourt also revealed some new research from her recently updated book, Shopping for Votes, which showed a significant turnout of young Canadians in the 2015 federal election. This can be attributed in part to political parties (particularly the Liberals) successfully reaching out through new channels.

The good news, said Delacourt, is if a young person votes once, they’re more likely to vote in subsequent elections.

Watch the full interview above for complete analysis of lessons from the Duffy trial, challenges with transparency and how to engage young voters.

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