02.17.2015 08:14 AM

Methinks Ms. Hebert knows more than she’s sayin’

Just sayin’.

You can (should) read the whole piece. But these bits I found interesting:

If anything, Adams’s inclusion on the Trudeau team has more to do with a dogged Liberal quest for deterrence on the field of dirty tricks than with making inroads in voting intentions.

And:

Conservative spin doctors have been quietly bragging about having collected dirt on Trudeau ever since he ran for the leadership.

Coming as it does from a take-no-prisoners rival camp, the threat has certainly been preying on the minds of Liberal strategists.

Pre-emptively mitigating potential damage is a part of their job description that they have been taking to heart.

And:

Allegations that would be laughed off the front pages for their flimsiness over a couple of news cycle in between elections take on a life of their own in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a five-week campaign.

And:

The Conservative war room may not have any dirt worth dishing out on Trudeau next fall…But the fact that Trudeau has brought under his tent — at some political cost to himself and his party — [Dimitri Soudas], a backroom operator he would have been expected not to touch with a ten-foot pole speaks to the potential for the upcoming election war to go nuclear.

She sure seems to know something she isn’t telling us, eh?

Personally, I believed that Trudeau’s autobiography was an excellent opportunity to inoculate against whatever the Conservatives possess, and whatever it is that Hebert is hinting at. But that didn’t happen. The book was standard political fare: a couple revelations, a bit of news, but no shocking, front-page confessional stuff.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, there is indeed something that the Tory war room possesses.

Hebert cites the example of the leak of the 2011 Jack Layton allegations to Sun News Network as an example of the sort of “damage control” the Liberals may accordingly need to do. I was there at the time, however, and urged Sun News against the use of such material. They went ahead anyway – and I firmly believe that, in the end, the “scandal” helped Layton more than it hurt him. His party went on to its best showing in its history.

My point is this: the Conservative war room, and possibly others, may be holding something surprising about Justin Trudeau. Fine. But if it ever sees the light of day, why are they so sure that it will hurt Trudeau, and not them?

39 Comments


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    Christian says:

    Unless of course there is nothing and the Liberals are acting out of paranoia much to the Conservative’s pleasure. In my view the Liberals should simply ignore the Cons – they are who they are and get to work on building a solid policy platform instead of being distracted by rumours (probably put out there by the Cons themselves) of dirt.


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      Warren says:

      Good advice


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        Pedro says:

        Wow! That sounds like a fabulous way of going about things! Love to hear that! As opposed to the second comment posted at this time that just confirms my view of Liberals that they will do anything, say anything, spend anything to get to … oh, get in a position to actually do anything! McGuinty was the arch-Liberal of my lifetime. Plenty of political to do the right thing (ahem, get rid of the separate school boards and open up education for one) and no guts – only looked at what would keep them in power. Shoulda said John Tory was right then told us the best Liberal way of doin’ it. In my dreams!


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          Pedro says:

          proof read Pedro “political CAPITAL” that is


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          Michael says:

          What gall. A politician that wants to get elected. How dare they?

          You do realize that politicians that do not get elected can not enact their policies, now matter how good or right those policies may be? Politics is the art of the possible.


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      ABoucher says:

      Who knows? Maybe they’re well on their way to having a solid policy platform… but that’s the problem: Who knows? I understand there is strategic value in not releasing your platform too early; but at least a hint of substance would go a long way in reassuring faithful Liberal supporters (and donors) who’s faith in the current direction is slipping.


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        edward nuff says:

        you sound more like a Leaf fan than a Liberal supporter. the teardown will happen, the trades will be made and the collapse will happen when it happens. draft pick or platform plank it’s all the same. game on.


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      MississaugaPeter says:

      Acting out of paranoia, Christian?

      No.

      It is something much, much worse.

      For the Liberals to be just tied with Harper, the most despised prime minister since Mulroney, takes a certain level of competence. For this reason alone, anyone thinking there is a breakthrough in the fall, you are sorely mistaken.

      Trudeau is definitely underestimated by all. The problem is that he has on his own overcome the challenges. During an election, he will rely on many others who have up until now succeeded in pulling him down to a tie with Harper.


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    Matt says:

    Soudas needs to be very, VERY careful here.

    Careers in political backrooms don’t last forever. He’s fairly young with a family to support.

    He’s already shown he will break conditions of contracts he signs (a condition of employment as CPC Executive Director was to stay out of Eve Adams’ nomination process, which he broke).

    That, and jumping ship to the rival to “spill the beans” won’t exactly have private sector companies lining up to offer him employment.


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      James Smith says:

      Mr C’s RED BOOK was published in the autumn of 1993 just as the election got started; “Nervous Nellys” notwithstanding.
      If I were advising Mr T, I would be telling him “If it was good for Mr C you could do a lot worse than follow his example.”


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        James Smith says:

        Sorry,
        My comment above is meant to be read as a response to ABoucher’s comment


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    the salamander hordes says:

    .. if the Ms Hebert presumption is.. deterrence
    that implies knowledge.. ‘dirt’ re Trudeau
    take it all further in her article to
    ‘If he is privy to embarrassing secrets’ – Soudas
    and one is left with who also knows.. ie is privy
    or shares the ‘dirt’

    Welcome to Stephen Harper, Ray Novak etc
    and the magic world Cone of Silence of Cabinet Confidence
    Jenni Byrne, that secretive great wise woman ‘nation builder’
    Nigel Wright off in far away London
    Jason MacDonald off soon to PR wonderland
    and nameless PMO darklings
    and lawyers protected by client solicitor privilege etc

    Where exactly does the ‘dirt’ collection start and end ?
    Who’s ‘values’ decide that?

    And.. where exactly does the ‘dirt’ coverup begin and end
    if people are privy to ‘dirt’ or gossip on say.. uh THE PM ?
    or have a grasp of just how far evangelism is overtaking Parliament
    or why Peter Kent agreed to poison boreal wolves
    or what that hoary old Afghan torture Prorogue was all about
    or how a gift from Nigel is a bribe on the Duffy end

    Eh?


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    Scotian says:

    Given just how blatantly partisan, blatantly willing to go to lowest common denominator, and worse of all to create out of nothing supposed scandals against opponents the Harper CPC machine, especially election machine, has proven itself to be it is only prudent to be at least somewhat “paranoid”. After all you are only paranoid if you lack enemies out to get you, I think the Libs and Trudeau clearly not only have real enemies, especially in the Harper CPC, but ones that will go to unheard of lengths in Canadian politics to win and to destroy anyone in their way. So some defensive actions, especially when an option such as this one opens up, only makes some sense. Whether it is truly necessary or not, we can only find out after an election, but it clearly is not simply being paranoid either given past history of the Harper CPC machine, especially for the Libs.

    I’m one of the it seems few people who apparently thinks there was some value in the Eve Adams side of this crossing for Trudeau and the Libs. I’ve always been willing to note that the Soudas element certainly added some serious motive for it, but I’ve seen a lot of people concluding that she had no worth on her own and it was all his value, and that, that I think is clearly wrong. If nothing else having her leave a week after Baird quits without warning gave her own, however self serving, crossing some value for the Libs, especially to voters who do not follow the inside baseball of politics like we who are engaged enough to not only read blogs like Kinsella’s but comment on them as well. WE are a tiny fraction of a percent of the total voter numbers, sometimes I think that and that perspective gets lost when considering impacts from things like this.

    I do think Hebert’s point makes a lot of sense given everything we have seen from the Harper machine to date, and it is clear that they are planning yet another campaign of personal destruction against the Lib leader, same as the last three election, and it is clearly wise of the Libs if they are given the chance to see the minds of the other side on this to take it. Whether it is truly needed or not, hard to say from the outside, or even from the inside until after one has seen/heard what is known, but it does certainly provide a rational reason and value for taking the heat of accepting Adams despite her own issues.

    As for Soudas needing to be careful here, his value as a political operative was already gone for the Cons, he would never be truly trusted within the Libs beyond the tactical level because of his history within the Con machine at its top for so long and what he did there, and the NDP, well they would never touch him if only because their own base would shoot them for it. So this idea that he has anything to lose at this point aside from possible legal issues on confidentiality clauses strikes me as somewhat thin. I do think that both Soudas and Adams feel used and betrayed by the Harper machine, and I would suspect that in both there is a feeling that they would rather go down returning fire and harming than just be another quiet body under that already way lopsided bus so many Harper people have landed under over the past few years. Never underestimate the fury of a human scorned, it is just as true for men as women despite the way the original line was written, and I can see Soudas spilling even if Adams fails to win the nomination if only to get some of his/their own back before they are forced to retire from the federal scene altogether.

    I also still believe that for the right centrist swing vote block Trudeau is trying to bring back to the Libs that deserted them so heavily in 2011 the willingness to take in Adams may also show that the old big tent Lib party does exist under Trudeau, and that he is not hostage only to the left wing of that party, and that can certainly hold value too. Which is another way in which I think the Adams side of this crossing can have value for the Libs and Trudeau. I do think he way oversold the soft soap when he took her in, but he is hardly the first party leader to do that, and this is far from the most egregious example of a floor crosser. I would say that one has to go to David Emerson for running as a Lib cabinet Minister and then on the first day of the new CPC government being sworn in as a CPC MP and made Cabinet minister on the spot, clearly showing his being in cabinet was more important than whose team he was doing it on, and Harper’s willingness to buy a cabinet minister said more than a few things about him and the kind of government we could expect, as well as making his Quebec bagman a Senator and giving him the department of pork and patronage, aka public works.

    I do think that a large component for how the Libs can win this election is to present a strong platform for the election, and I am one that does think they are wise to wait as long as they can to do so given how the Harper CPC has treated prior Lib leaders who presented early by either building a campaign of ridicule or stealing the best ideas and the claiming the Libs stole from them. However, I also think a significant part will be the tactical punch-counterpunch side, and I think if anything Trudeau is showing with the Adams crossing he is taking that seriously and is not just running on, how did I once hear it put, rainbow farts and unicorn dreams. So Hebert clearly has a point, and I believe an fairly important one at that. We do not live in an age of civility and courtesy in our political culture in large part because of the man that is our current PM. So it is only sensible to prepare against the worst when you can and to assume that it is coming and going to be relentlessly negative and destructive, after all prior performance predicts present reality, does it not?

    I did find it curious that she dismissed as wrong the assumption that if Trudeau had not gone public in his actions with the harassment complaint brought to him by the NDP MP that Mulcair would not have crucified him for it down the road. That strikes me as a seriously unsupported by evidence claim. If anything, the way Mulcair tried to make political hay out of what happened when Trudeau was getting the early credit for his actions make it seem more likely, not less, that Mulcair would have used it against Trudeau if Trudeau had kept it quiet. This assumption that one can trust Mulcair would not have used something that could have seriously damaged Trudeau with women, a major part of the voting base they are competing for, I honestly find a little baffling by Ms Hebert, especially given how far in third place Mulcair and the NDP have been consistently running, especially to the Libs and Trudeau in first.


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      reader says:

      I found that inserted “wrong” weird. Where did that come from? I don’t recall Chantal Hebert arguing previously that Trudeau could have done nothing and not suffered the consequences.

      I don’t know what to make of Eve Adams as a Liberal and Soudas helping her, but it is not good for Harper that he had to reshuffled his Parliamentary Secretaries just a few weeks after last doing it, and just after having to shuffle cabinet ministers because of another departure.


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        Scotian says:

        reader:

        Yes, I found that inserted (wrong) into that piece extremely perplexing, as it had not matched what she said contemporaneously, not at all. I’m almost left wondering if the editor did that to her piece for their own reason(s), it seems so oddly placed and inconsistent with her prior comments on that issue. That was why I made note of it in the end of my comment, it really seemed strange to me, and worthy of note.


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    Bob Bullard says:

    The worry is not Soudas (IMO). Soudas is following the one he has chosen to be his mate and if that means she is going Liberal then he has said he would support his ‘family’. I think the better idea is that Trudeau will have Adams explain to the electorate why Liberalism is preferred and why she left Conservatism. Joe Oliver will have to defend why she should have stayed (or not in which case the electorate will see they have nothing better to offer to keep Adams in their fold). If Adams (and Trudeau) can explain why it was a good move for Eve Adams to join the Liberals and why she feels she can have a more positive impact on Canadians through the Liberal platform and why the Conservatives really did not offer her anything she values as a Canadian to stay within their tent then I think that would play very well in the media across canada and be a good way of distinguishing between voting for Conservatism vs Liberalism.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Are there any other John Torys out there?


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    VC says:

    It sounds a lot like Dr. Strangelove and the “idea” of the doomsday machine (but on a political campaign sort of level). As Dr. Strangelove subtly notes in conversation with the President: “That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy … the fear of attack.” Dr. Strangelove goes on to say that, “the whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world?” (I got this from my econ game theory professor in the lessons on symmetric or perfect information and deterrence strategies for equilibrium).


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    ajaykumar says:

    Unless Justin trudeau was involved in some extraterrestrial/alien conspiracy or it can be proven that he was born in Kenya, there is no way that his reputation can be affected during the campaign. Of all the candidates running, Canadians know him the most. The “Trudeau” brand cannot be damaged. It is possible that the robocallers told Hebert about having dirt on Trudeau, but their credibility is questionable. The media is obsessed with Trudeau and they need something to write about. His stories have the hightest comments, and I guess readership. I actually hope that tories run very negative attack ads against Trudeau, it will really help his numbers.


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    iBall says:

    Perhaps it’s a quid pro quo standoff on something involving sexuality… but if that becomes the name of the game both parties will be damaged irreparably.


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      Robert Jago says:

      I suspect it’s something like that. If I were the gambling type, I’d bet that it has something to do with JT’s former roommate in Vancouver. Before he went to jail, that roommate tried to become a Liberal candidate in a winnable riding. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some docs out there showing Trudeau vouching for this person, or standing behind them politically – before anything was known about their crimes. If I were a vicious monster with no moral centre I would probably focus on that and see if I could use it to demonstrate that JT has no judgement, associates with bad people, and shouldn’t be trusted. I should stress, I have zero information, and am only making a guess – if I didn’t live in Outremont, I’d vote for him, so it’s not coming from any partisan place. I mean what are the alternatives? JT smoking a blunt? Who cares about that?? Excepting an Australian love child from his time in Whistler, the roommate angle is the only one worth eating dirt to get Soudas. This is all assuming that his team of advisers are acting rationally and aren’t really dumb, which … well …


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    Mere Mortal says:

    After reading this all I can say is: “Here we go again. More bullshit.”

    So, I’m announcing my intentions today… After running in two by-elections—–one in Vaughan against Fantino and one in Danforth after Jack’s death, I’ve decided that I’m going to run wherever Eve Adams runs.

    Now I never would normally do this but I’m going to get it off my chest once and for all.

    If you whine and bitch about politics, then run dammit! It’s not an expensive pursuit and as I’ve learned, it’s worth it just so you can have your say. If you don’t think you’re exceptional enough, please just look at some of the dolts sitting as parliamentarians.

    David Tsobuchi took me aside after moderating the televised debate with Fantino and said: “It’s really just theatre, isn’t it.” I was being congratulated on my performance but the sentiment sickened me. Why? because I care. Because I believed in making a difference. Truth is; the only way to make a difference is to gather up your wits and a couple of bucks and run, dammit! Run!

    Politicians are for the most part; unemployable. That’s why most of us don’t run. We have jobs and can’t be knocking on doors all day and all night. We work. We say we don’t want to be just another pig at the trough. But why not?

    Look, the owners of this country let us cast a ballot once every four years to make us feel good yet nothing changes. The politics just get worse. Why not vote for yourself? Pay your money, say your piece at the podium and call out your candidates and incumbents for being the charlatans that so many of them are.

    You won’t regret it and if you do it, you’ll be doing service for your country. You’ll be doing more than what 99% of all citizens will ever do. Granted, independents and fringe parties never do well. Be prepared to lose but if you come prepared to debate, you might rattle some cages, steal some votes and shake up a candidate or two. (And it’s kind of fun) t

    So, whether you lean right or left, get off your ass and try it. (Methinks, even Mr.Kinsella would agree that the more of us that see an election campaign from the inside out can provide only benefit to the electoral process and in the end, parliament.)

    Now, I have to start prepping my paperwork, set aside my election deposit, and go get some signatures. (That’s all it takes, folks.)

    Whichever way you lean politically is of no consequence. Engaging in the process is what matters. Clearly, casting ballots isn’t cleaning up Ottawa, so maybe its time for the comman man/woman to play a little smashmouth with the big boys and show them how us common folk feel about them.

    Go ahead. I dare you to run. I’ll even help you navigate the process—–Unless of course, Mr. Kinsella chooses to write a post about how to get a candidacy up and running. Warren? Mr. Kinsella? Care to chime in?


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      Warren says:

      Sigh.


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      davie says:

      This post almost made me get up out of this chair. I guess running as an Independent Liberal would put a person in the same group as those Lib Senators in Ottawa.


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        Mere Mortal says:

        Ah well… Win or lose, at least I can say I tried. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.


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      debs says:

      okay I am not sure who you are, but with those words, you would have my vote. We need more folks with integrity.
      and yes I agree, Warren Kinsella should run, he would be an excellent politician:)


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    wsam says:

    Justin Trudeau listens to the Greatful Dead.


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      Warren says:

      Are you serious? If so, it explains a great deal.


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        wsam says:

        He’s got a ‘Steal Your Face’ tattoo on his posterior.

        Kidding!!!

        But could you imagine … Stephen Harper’s head would explode.


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        James Smith says:

        Despite my being a Sophomoric Partizan* I don’t fully disagree, Ms R is 100% better than the fellow she replaced – a fellow who also crossed the floor. People I know who knew her in T.O. were convinced she was a Liberal.
        What is it about the Riding just to my north?

        *TM


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      Jonathan Giggs says:

      I’m so grateful that I don’t, find their music grating but great if he does.


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    James Smith says:

    Could Mr S supporting Ms Adams not be anything more than one supporting one’s spouse?
    There are examples all over the place, but lets stick to the Halton Riding (about to become Oakville / North Burlington). For example former Ontario PC MPP and Speaker Gary Carr ran & won for the Grits federally in Halton & his brother & many other Tories helped in his campaign. Another is the present MP Ms Raitt who I seem to remember being helped by her friend, and our erudite host.


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      Warren says:

      I like her a lot. She’s a good egg.


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    Sean says:

    Justin’s biggest secret is the shampoo he uses.


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      debs says:

      lol, his hair is fabulous!


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    gyor says:

    Do you honestly think Harper cares about whatever Soudas has on him? If both parties go nuclear Trudeau has way more too lose, he’s tried to build a mythology of being the nice guy, if a shit fight that ends up gone and ashes. Everybody already knows Harpers an ass hole, he doesn’t bother to hide it and he doesn’t give a crap, causing people to become disillusioned with Trudeau will be well worth it.

    Soudas is a gamble that won’t pay off.


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      Scotian says:

      gyor:

      Except it is also known that Justin Trudeau is a fighter when he must be and a strong one. That is one of the legacies of the Brazeau fight. Trudeau is trying to stay as positive in his approach as he can as long as he can, but only an utterly idiot thinks that is the only approach he is using, planning to use, or should be expected to use given how highly confrontational our current political environment is, especially where the CPC and to a lesser extent the NDP have become over the past few elections. The Libs are not going to pretend they can only hope and change this election, but they are being smart enough to not look like the initiators and instead working to look being forced to it, instead of as the CPC tends to do make it the first last and every way they do business. Many Canadians are very tired of the confrontational first mode, and want a return to the more civil and respectful and positive approach that used to be more typical in our political environment. Dare I call it the traditional Canadian values that appear to have gone by the wayside over the last decade.

      One of the hardest problems for both the CPC and NDP with Trudeau is how many people have already made up their minds about his character/personality from even before he ran for MP. Which also means that if/when he has to start getting bare knuckled in his approach so long as he showed he tried to stay positive first many to most people will see this change not as a negative but proof that he is serious and someone they can trust to fight for them. So in the end far from being the negative you appear to believe it will be it may well end up being a positive, especially with those centrists of the right who are hesitant because of how relatively inexperienced Trudeau is, so such an appearance of strength could well be an asset handled properly. This is not an area where I think Trudeau has much to fear from. His major weakness still is more on the experience factor than on this one I’d submit.


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    James Smith says:

    Sorry, my last post is mixed up again.

    It may be me but each time I attempt to follow up a comment, the post goes to a random other post. I’ll use another browser in future.


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    nope says:

    He cheats (or, at least cheated) on his wife. I have personal knowledge of an attempted affair from a few years ago.

    Not sure if the public would care, but the CPC must know.

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