COMMENTARY: Decision to allow Trudeau-Boyle meeting defies all logic and common sense
With risk comes potential reward, as any savvy politician can tell you. Bold political leadership requires a willingness to take risks. However, when our political leaders take pointless and unnecessary risks, that’s just plain recklessness. Sadly, it would appear our prime minister has a propensity for the latter.
Frankly, “reckless” only begins to describe the decision to allow a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former-hostage-now-accused-criminal Joshua Boyle. It is unfathomable that this meeting occurred in the first place, or that no one was waving red flags or sounding alarm bells before the prime minister sat down with Boyle.
And to what end? The fact that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) made no public mention of this meeting points to a belated realization that this was a terrible idea. If the PMO did not seek to gain any political benefit, then what on earth was the purpose of the meeting? For that matter, who initiated the meeting in the first place?
We only know about the meeting because a Twitter account attributed to the Boyle family published photos and an account of the meeting. The PMO was tight-lipped about the matter to begin with, and now it’s imposed a complete cone of silence. Yet the number of questions continues to grow.
To recap: on Oct. 11, Boyle, his American-born wife, and their three children were rescued from their Taliban-affiliated captors by Pakistani troops acting on U.S. intelligence. They had been held as prisoners for almost exactly five years, after Boyle and his pregnant wife made the bizarre decision to venture into Taliban territory in a remote part of Afghanistan.
Following their rescue, Boyle initially refused to board a U.S. aircraft which was to return them to North America. Apparently he was worried that his former marriage to the notorious Zaynab Khadr and lingering suspicions about his peculiar Afghan excursion might lead to further repercussions. The Americans, however, allowed Boyle and his family to make their way to Canada. And, according to the RCMP, Boyle began committing serious crimes almost immediately upon his return.
Boyle was arrested this past Tuesday and charged with a total of 15 offences, including eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, and two counts of forcible confinement. The criminal allegations have yet to be proven in court. At this point, the names of the victims cannot be released, and there are few details available as to the specific nature of the alleged offences.
All of this is said to have occurred between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30. The meeting between Trudeau and Boyle took place on Dec. 19, so presumably during the late stages of the police investigation. It is inconceivable that the RCMP officials responsible for the safety and security of the prime minister and his family would not have known about this investigation. That, coupled with what was already known about Boyle’s checkered past, makes the decision to green light this meeting completely and totally baffling.
When it comes to guarding the prime minister, we need to put aside the last name of the office holder and how we feel about that person as a politician. There’s a clear and obvious need to keep that person safe. An individual of questionable character who is under police investigation for serious and violent crimes shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the prime minister, period. Does this really need to be pointed out?
If this was somehow a colossal security breakdown or failure, then the PMO ought to disclose that information and promptly fire those responsible. It’s perhaps rather telling that no such thing has occurred. That leaves us with the remaining explanation: that this was a rash and reckless decision on the part of the prime minister and his staff, and a needless one at that.
Coming on the heels of the recent ethics commissioner report, it’s yet another reason to question this prime minister’s judgment. Canadians should be concerned.