08.01.2017 07:35 AM

Brazeau wins by TKO (updated)

So, there’s this quote in the Rolling Stone paean to Justin Trudeau:

“I wanted someone who would be a good foil, and we stumbled upon the scrappy tough-guy senator from an Indigenous community. He fit the bill, and it was a very nice counterpoint,” Mr. Trudeau says in the article. “I saw it as the right kind of narrative, the right story to tell.”

That’s the Prime Minister talking in the American magazine about his 2012 charity boxing match against Patrick Brazeau, a Conservative Senator who is part of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation in Quebec.

Lots of indigenous leaders are upset about that quote, and you can (hopefully) see why.  Stories here and here and here.

Indigenous leaders are quite capable of speaking for themselves, on this one.  They don’t need me. But there was something else about that quote that was kind of off-putting.

It sounded calculated.  It sounded like he was admitting to a manipulation.  It felt cynical.

Now, politicians do calculated, manipulative, cynical things all the time – Hell, some would say that’s all they do.

But Trudeau’s big mistake, here – along with sounding like he was singling out an indigenous leader for a literal beating, his soaring rhetoric about indigenous issues notwithstanding – was talking about strategy in the media.  He was talking about how sausages are made, in effect.

Kinsella’s Political Axiom, No. 142: don’t talk about how you make sausages.  Also: about sausage-making, do not talk.

Anyway.  Nanos tells us this morning he’s got nothing to worry about, and perhaps he doesn’t.  I would simply remind my Liberal friends that our greatest occupational hazard is – always, always – arrogance.

Arrogance is what gets us beaten in elections – although not, apparently, in the boxing ring.

UPDATE: He has expressed regret for the words he used. Here. Good. 

14 Comments


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    John says:

    Yeah.
    He mentioned sausage-making, but it doesn’t really matter, politically.
    I’d bet ya a pint of Guinness at Darcy McGee’s that if someone did a poll of Canadians who were aware of the RS piece, that under 10% of them actually read the article. Most don’t go past the cover.
    However, point taken about arrogance. If the LPC and especially PMJT can keep it in check, they might be our Government for a very long time.


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    Luke says:

    When I read that quote I thought it was either fake or accidentally attributed to Trudeau instead of a staffer (Butts). Him talking about the strategy of that event rubs me the wrong way. Were it Butts or equivalent doing the talking I could more easily dismiss it. Now I have to store it in my brain somewhere along with other dissonance-inducing realities.


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    rockgolf says:

    Exceedingly badly worded, but I wonder if they intended to mean that Brazeau was neither English-Canadian or French-Canadian, and therefore could be clobbered with less political consequence.


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    Pedant says:

    I’m still not clear on why Brazeau being from an indigenous community was considered a plus (optics-wise) when Trudeau beat him. Is he saying that First Nations men are more violent (or perceived that way) thereby making the boxing victory more impressive?

    I can imagine the media storm if Stephen Harper bragged about using First Nations people as tools for political gain.

    Has the Toronto Star reported on this?


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    Matt says:

    Absolutely stupid thing for Trudeau to say.

    However I would think the cluster fuck that is the MMIW inquiry is doing more damage to Trudeau with the first nations community than these comments are.

    But, then again, it’s usually not just one event that does damage, but the drip, drip, drip of a number of incidents combined


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    Matt says:

    More of a concern for Trudeau may be the slowing donations to the Liberal Party. Elections Canada released the second quarter numbers yesterday:

    CPC – $4,073,664.92 from 32,427 donors (Q1 $5,308,501.22 from 42,473 donors)

    Liberals – $3,023,955.50 from 30,149 donors (Q1 $2,801,233.18 from 31,812 donors)

    NDP – $825,985.37 from 12,448 donors (Q1 $908,892.18 from 13,404 donors)

    Remember the Liberals talking point after the Q1 numbers were released? They “hit the pause button on national fundraising while the new fundraising rules were being implemented”

    Well, Q2 they were fundraising full bore and only managed to improve their Q1 total by around $220,000 from roughly 1,650 fewer donors. And as the CBC pointed out so far in 2017 the Liberals are BELOW their 2016 quarterly average.

    The CPC leadership candidates raised an additional $1.9 million in Q2.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-q22017-fundraising-1.4222087


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    Vancouverois says:

    Such narcissism.

    What strikes me isn’t just the objectification and manipulative attitude (“the right story to tell”?), though that’s appalling enough in its own right. It’s the absurd pretense that he’s a genius, and it was all part of some carefully crafted master plan to reach 24 Sussex Drive.

    It wasn’t; the boxing match was just a publicity stunt.


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    Sean says:

    Most over rated politician in the history of Canada.


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      rww says:

      @Sean

      I always thought so but urned out he was not over-rated in his ability to get Liberasl elected, only in his ability to govern as one.


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      Gyor says:

      Yep, it amazes me People still are buying into it.


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    Charlie says:

    Uck.

    What a disgustingly arrogant and racist thing to say. I don’t give a shit how much he cares about indigenous issues, it’s moments like this that show just how elitist Trudeau can be.

    Also, another fackin reason for this guy to cool it with the lovathon tour in the US. No point in doing this shit if you’re going to come off as haughty and vain as your detractors claim you to be.

    Once again, Team Trudeau’s comms trips over its own foot. We’re not always going to have a support cushion in the polls, eventually this kind of stuff is going to hurt when most important.


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    Pedant says:

    I would love to see Andrew Scheer or the Conservative shadow cabinet minister for First Nations affairs put out a tweet asking why the Prime Minister of Canada is using American media to disparage Canada’s First Nations people. Just to watch the PMO’s collective heads explode.

    Btw that seat in Nunavut is ripe for a Conservative take-back.


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    Mario says:

    This interview stumble and the ongoing dumpster fire that is the MMIW isn’t the greatest thing for JT.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    I read through the article far too fast and apologize to Indigenous Canadians for not picking up on this earlier.

    My view has always been that Harper beat Harper while in power, and in the campaign, Trudeau elected Trudeau. He needs to weigh his words far longer going forward, or Trudeau could lose it for all of us Liberals.

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