Two remarkable hearings in the capital cities of Canada and the U.S. on Wednesday offered an electronic landscape of stark contrasts.
In Ottawa, former justice minister and current Vancouver-Granville Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould stunned the political world with her testimony before the House of Commons justice committee about being pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in the SNC-Lavalin affair.
In Washington, D.C., disbarred lawyer and former Donald Trump confidante Michael Cohen labelled the president a “racist,” “con,” “cheat” and much more during testimony before the house oversight committee.
Both hearings were explosive and both had veteran journalists calling them nearly unprecedented. The difference in the two hearings could be seen in the interplay before the person testifying and those listening.
In Ottawa, Wilson-Raybould’s eyebrow-raising testimony was delivered in a matter-of-fact fashion, with the Liberal, Conservative and New Democrat members of the justice committee more or less respectful in their questioning.
(Yes, Edmonton-Centre Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault was more aggressive than most, but positively passive compared to the zoo from D.C. that was unfolding at the same time on various U.S. news networks.)
In Washington, many Republicans on the house oversight committee were visibly angry, seething and red-faced as they grilled Cohen about his failings, rather than ask questions related to his many claims about Trump.
At one point, Republican Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina trotted out Trump aide Lynne Patton, a black woman, as proof the president is not racist.
Watching the hearing in Ottawa and flipping to the hearing in Washington brought about words of comparison: serene versus sensational, decorum versus disaster.
There are many differences between Canada and the United States, but Wednesday’s hearings possibly summed them up as well as anything could.