08.06.2015 06:10 AM

KCCCC Day 5: the numbers must be tighter than we thought (updated twice)

  • You can always tell when things are tightening up in a campaign: stuff that party war rooms/partisans had been holding back starts to seep out, like primordial ooze. With the first debate being held today, too, partisans have more reason to get out material that throws the other side off their message for the day.  It’s an important day, after all.
  • Thus, the email I got in the middle of the night, from a real person: “I ended up with a close [redacted] advisor in my house two weeks ago for a night. When I invited her I didn’t know but when she arrived she brought with her a quantity of what she insisted was “freebase” – but was to all intents and purposes crack. She smoked this 6 or 7 times in my presence.”
  • I’ve redacted the name of the party leader, and asked the correspondent for the full name of the staffer, which I now have. I’m checking it out. Suffice to say, however, such a revelation in Week One would be damaging, to say the least.
  • Another example is found with this photo of Justin Trudeau a topless female. It was sent to me last night.  I was immediately suspicious about the photo, given that it was posted by a fierce critic of Trudeau. In my Twitter feed, photographers weighed in, saying they too thought it might be fake.
  • Apparently it wasn’t. It was shot at a Pride parade last year. It’s real, and I have been informed by a senior editor that Sun News Network even showed it on-air last year.  (Sigh.) Is the issue, then, that a young woman was topless? Of course not.  That’s been legal and proper for two decades.  Is the issue, instead, Justin Trudeau’s judgment – that a guy seeking the post of Prime Minister needs to be thinking twice about placing himself in situations that suggests to voters that he’s “not ready?” Of course it is.
  • More evidence of that came over the midnight transom was another photo, from this year’s Pride. To me, the photo is completely innocent, and no big deal.  But the objective in leaking this kind of stuff isn’t ever to get into the heads of guys like me – it’s (a) to get into the heads of some older, more-traditional voters who may be leaning Liberal, but aren’t quite sure yet, and (b) to generate some social-then-mainstream media heat, and thereby throw Trudeau off his big day.
  • The irony in all of this? Trudeau’s team have probably been hurt already – by themselves.  After weeks of skillfully lowering expectations for the debate, they this morning have reversed whatever they achieved with the boxing room stunt – and now look cocky and arrogant (and juvenile) in the bargain.  As one senior Liberal ministerial staffer told me on Facebook: “Wow!! Not sure I can verbalize more than that…visions of Stock Day on his jet ski are flashing before me!!!”
  • Exactly.  Thus, the irony: all of these leaks of pictures with topless women, and tales about crack-smoking staffers, aren’t as damaging to the candidates as what the candidates do to themselves.  Self-inflicted wounds in politics, I always say, are always the ones that cause the most damage.

UPDATE: Aaaand…it worked. Congrats, anonymous war room.

UPDATER: The woman in the photo at World Pride is no supporter of Trudeau, apparently, and seemingly posted it herself to do him some damage. Which should have persuaded Trudeau’s staff never to let the photo happen in the first place.


  1. Peter says:

    To me, the photo is completely innocent, and no big deal.

    Hmm. All across the country folks are saying the same thing, while privately thinking “WTF!”

    He’d better hope some clever Con operative doesn’t come up with the idea of juxtaposing a pic of Harper at the G7 with that one. No need for captions. Could be history’s first silent attack ad.

  2. Joe says:

    I always hated these chickens**t campaigns where this kind of trash is dredged up. Really that’s what running the country is all about?

  3. P. Brenn says:

    geez …I’m with joe…its about economy , jobs , health , security – keeping Canada as the great country it is …all parties have issue with candidates , MP’s, Eve Adams , NDP in Quebec just showed guy the door , Con MP’s becoming independent, bad pics taken out of context , conspiracy theories galore….so yucky…

  4. ian turnbull says:

    I think Trudeau’s strategy is to do and say so many stupid things that the Conservative war room is overloaded with data and paralyzes themselves trying to figure out a consistent message for their attack ads.

  5. GFMD says:

    Sad to think the leader of a national party should be forced to run away from (minority) citizens, committing no wrong, in the middle of a parade.

  6. Priyesh says:

    This is really stupid stuff.

    Going topless is legal.

    Politicians take photos with people.

    Photo of a politician with a topless person? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

    It means another day of distractions.

    Trudeau didn’t do anything wrong morally. But with the Conservative war room ready to pounce, I guess this was an obvious tactical error.

    • Warren says:

      To folks like you and me, it is completely irrelevant. But whoever got this out – and this suggests it was Dippers, not Cons – did it to reach voters who may be thinking about voting Liberal, but have misgivings about Trudeau’s judgment. The photo, therefore, is not helpful.

      • Mike says:

        Dipper logic: Saint Le Bon Jack getting caught in a rub and tug is no big deal. Justin having his picture taken in public with a topless woman, which courts have upheld is her right, is scandalous.

        How’s that whole female equality thing going for you Dippers?

    • Peter says:

      It is a big mistake to think that the only people who would have an issue with this are people who think women going topless should be illegal or is somehow “morally” wrong. I doubt Harper or Mulcair would be careless enough to be caught in a picture surrounded by topless men!.

      It’s called gravitas.

  7. Ridiculosity says:

    Move along, people. Nothing to see here.

    The pic of Trudeau and the woman is obviously from one of the Pride Parades (the Mardi Gras beads are a giveaway) – an event when LGBT Canadians can celebrate and take pride in who they are.

    The real scandal?

    Harper has never marched in a Pride Parade. Ever. So much for representing ALL Canadians.

  8. Lance says:

    “Self-inflicted wounds in politics, I always say, are always the ones that cause the most damage.

    Yup. And when the other side sees that, they best get out of the way and say NOTHING.

  9. CaroleP says:

    I’ve been reading your website for the past 7 years (since the 2008 election) check it almost daily. I find it informative and insightful. However, I’ve been perturbed by the Conservative Party ads that I’ve seen on the left side-bar of the website. Have you posted these intentionally, or is this an example of a ‘target’ ad. If it’s the last, I am certainly no Conservative. I would appreciate if you could explain the presence of these ads. Thanks!

    • Warren says:

      Offered space to Libs; they said they’d get back to me, never did. Offered to NDP; they considered it, but eventually declined. Cons snapped it up right away, when they eventually heard from ad space broker.

      Space has already been booked for post-writ, by a company.

      • CaroleP says:

        Thanks for getting back to me on this. Interesting that the other parties would not have welcomed the ad space, given how widely read this website is. I guess I will just have to ignore it and continue reading your postings!

    • Chris says:

      Warren explained this a few months back – everyone had a chance at the top spot and the Conservatives bit.

      I think he might have even offered it to the libs first.

  10. Derek Pearce says:

    By the by I’m watching Notley’s press conference right now and she’s a class act. She’s honest about her support but is also taking the high road and not taking Harper’s bait.

    • The Doctor says:

      . . . while refusing to bring in a budget until the federal election is over, in order to scratch the back of her buddy Tom. Way to put Albertans first.

  11. Todd Robdon says:

    Million dollar question … Did that mysterious advisor offer to share the crack or just smoke it all herself?

  12. Ridiculosity says:

    Looking for the real “inside scoop” on Trudeau?

    Check out these revealing photos instead:http://bit.ly/1sYFa1S

  13. Skoblin says:

    Photo with a topless woman? Under normal circumstances not really a big deal – but when your opponent more or less spends months on end promoting the idea that you are “not ready” and “lack seriousness” – it was not a wise decision, especially when it is clear the Conservatives are trying to peel away Blue Liberals. However, this is less damaging IMHO than the boxing club photo-op since the latter was deliberately arranged and set up by Trudeau’s handlers and seems to reinforce the image of him as an overweening narcissist. Anybody read his attempt to toss out boxing metaphors to describe the debate? Yet more embarrassments…

  14. Clarke Wood says:

    OMG, a national leader shows up at a Pride parade with naked people around. Horror of horrors. The people whose judgement are affected by this are not likely in the progressive camp to begin with. It would have probably looked a lot worse if Trudeau’s staffers were trying to prevent these sort of interactions.

  15. Purple Library Guy says:

    The thing about negative ads is, they work, if they hit the right nerves, but they also tend to work a little bit against the people responsible for them, who are rightly seen as jerks. This doesn’t matter in the United States where there are only two parties, as long as the hit is bigger against the victim. But with three, every time the Cons hit the Libs or NDP they also hit themselves a bit; the effect has to be twice as good to be advantageous, and lots of people will just seesaw between the two Con opponents. Furthermore, I suspect it’s worse than that. Psychologically, down at a gut level, people are more likely to believe you if you’re attacking one opponent. If you’re nasty to one enemy, the subconscious feeling (even if people know better) is that OK, maybe you’re denouncing that one person because that one person needs denouncing. But if you’re nasty to more than one opponent, people down internally start thinking maybe you’re just a nasty gossip, someone you would have avoided if you were living in a stone age tribe.

    Over time, the general view becomes:
    Trudeau: Not ready, whatever else the Cons are throwing at him
    NDP/Mulcair: Whatever Cons come up with, if they can get it to stick
    Conservatives: Those bastards who talk shit about everyone

    This is a two-edged sword. And the Cons are showing signs of losing it, overplaying their negative hand. I mean, what was with that “pants” thing? They looked moronic. At this rate they’re going to be accusing Mulcair of being a kitten-eater from Mars before they’re through.

  16. Don Wilson says:

    50% of the electorate have boobs. Pride marches attract people who want to be who they are without judgements. So what if she was a plant from another party out to defame? Highly ironic that boobs are creating more buzz in the media than the environment, global warming, wildfires, etc. Can we get back on the platform policy bus? Oh, I know. Only .0001 % of the electorate vote on policy issues along. Sad….

  17. Domenico says:

    Nudity at a Gay Pride parade? You would have to be hunkered down in your Cranbrook Bunker to be surprised. How many Pride events has Harper been to again?

  18. Styles says:

    Trudeau had many months to make adjustments to his team, but it is still amateur hour over there. They still operate as if they are immune to politics.

  19. davie says:

    I think some of this will shift voters to the NDP. For example, he is with topless woman at a Gay Pride event…like, where could he go with her? And then, in the sparring videos, he looks fit, and technically okay, chin in, elbows in,…but maybe he carries his hands a bit low at times. So, It looks like he is not yet ready.

    Meanwhile, the climate, drought, floods fires, all that stuff, is on hold in people’s minds as they focus on these photos and vids.

  20. Pipes says:

    That boxing stunt was utterly stupid. I could do a better job advising him and that’s saying something considering half the time I wear my underpants outside of my pants.
    He looks like an idiot.

    • davie says:

      Suppose we divide the incident in two: There is the physical workout, then the release of the video.
      He has an emotionally and intellectually stressful day ahead of him so he works out physically at something he appears to enjoy doing. I f you catch the debate tonight (I will likely watch on CPAC), I bet you see a contrast in physical ease between this guy and the other two men in the debate. (May will likely be relaxed, as well.)

      As for releasing the video to the media, I am not sure. Does it suggest he is trivializing the campaign? O r does it suggest eh is young, fit and ready to go.

      • Pipes says:

        Hopefully the latter, but I don’t think so. I am surprised the Tories don’t take him to the cleaners about the charity fight he had with Brazeau. Shows a lot of good judgment eh?

        Honestly I think todays stunt was a cheap one and very ill advised. We want a leader not a foolish looking man pretending he’s Rocky. It did more harm than good. Justin if you are reading this please call me for more really really bad ideas.

  21. John Matheson says:

    Much ado about nothing. If the picture gets around it will help him with the red tories/blue liberal sports fans who went for him after the boxing match.

  22. gyor says:

    I read the comments in the link you provided and saw nothing to indicate the NDP had anything to do with this. I know of no New Democracts who care about this. The NDP has nothing to gain.

  23. Lenny White says:

    One would have thought after the Pacetti and Andrews debacle, Libs would have figured out that the classic honey trap is the NDP’s stock-in-trade. As for Cons., there is a universe of bathhouses and strap-ons. Sadly, this is getting unseemly. Excuse me while I use the hand sanitizer.

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