, 07.05.2018 08:47 AM

If Justin Trudeau was a client

Both of us find that laughable, believe me. So there’s at least one thing we agree on.

Something on which we likely wouldn’t agree is this: the problem caused by the reappearance of the Creston Valley Advance – from so far away, from so long ago – simply isn’t going away.  If just yesterday’s Washington Post, CNN and others are any indication, the groping story is worming its way into the popular consciousness, and getting bigger.

Trudeau and his senior team obviously believe otherwise.  That’s why they have continued to rely on a lawyer’s slippery sophistry – that Trudeau doesn’t recall any “negative interactions” – in the face of ridicule and disbelief, even from Liberals.  But it simply isn’t working.  It isn’t.

For staff, stories like this are very difficult.  Talking to your boss about policy and politics is easy.  Talking to him about how he conducts himself in private – talking about sexual conduct – is very, very awkward.  I feel sorry for the staffers who have been assigned to deal with this mess.

So, to those who are trying to put out this dumpster fire, here’s some advice, gratis.

  1. It’s never the break-in, it’s the cover-up.  The victim wrote that editorial, and it went unrebutted for almost two decades.  It is fact, now.  Efforts to deny it or dilute it won’t work. Claiming she doesn’t want to talk about it – and insisting that we should all therefore drop the subject – won’t work either.  The issue is the conduct of the Prime Minister of Canada.  
  2. Lawyers stink at comms. Everything he says needs to be run past the lawyers, yes, because we are (a) ostensibly talking about what is considered criminal offence and (b) there is no statute of limitations on same.  But the lawyers should not be deciding what is effective communications strategy – because they mostly all suck at it. (Don’t believe me?  Consider how effective the “don’t recall negative interactions” line has been in putting out the dumpster fire.)
  3. Falling on one’s sword, in politics, works – as long as you are not doing it every day.  There is a lot of affection for Trudeau in this country, still.  He needs to take control of this, personally. He needs to say only one thing.
  4. This is what he needs to say, straight to camera – no staff, no lawyerly talking points.  “Eighteen years ago, my Dad was dying.  Eighteen years ago, I went to an event to receive a donation because my brother had been killed.  I went to that event, and I was not in a good frame of mind.  I drank too much.  I don’t recall doing what this woman said I did, at all – but if she says I did it, I did it.  I apologized to her then, and I apologize to her now.  I am ashamed of my conduct.  I am embarrassed. I am disgusted by what she says I did.  I have reached out to her, and spoken to her directly, to apologize and tell her that I intend to take proactive, positive steps to address my conduct and ensure this never happens again.  That includes not drinking alcohol.”
  5. He then needs to disappear for the rest of the Summer, and get some counselling.  That isn’t comms advice, but it’s what a man who aspires to be a feminist should do.

Will he?  Beats me.

But he should.

 

55 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Number 4 won’t work.

    Lots of people have knowledge of his serial predatory behaviour much more recently than 2000. It’s not an isolated incident. It’s a pattern.

    • Warren says:

      The amount of knowledge you have is not the amount of knowledge 35 million Canadians have. So, no.

    • Sean says:

      That’s interesting. Others have made similar claims including shunning female staff members who thwarted his advances. Of course this is unsubstantied by anything tangible. But as long as the story continues circulating, it’s akin to beating the bushes- never know what might come out.

    • Campbell says:

      I personally think that if you’re going to throw around statements like that, they should have significantly more detail attached to them.

    • Angel Martin says:

      Number 4 is also dangerous to Trudeau in that it may encourage other women to come forward and get their apology.

      It’s ugly, but one reason for women not to go public is that they know they are going to be targetted for destruction by the unquestioning defenders of Canada Team Red. If Trudeau apologizes, that threat goes away.

      Not that Canada Team Blue are any moral exemplars, they don’t really care about these women, they just want to use them to nail Trudeau.

  2. M K says:

    Dude,

    Why are you blocking folks on twitter? I’ve never tweeted anything negative or rude to you. . .
    For the most part, I agree with most of what you say, and share it.

  3. Johnny Maudlin says:

    This seems an extraordinary prescription for an apparently innocuous moment of male semi-conscious behaviour. The #metoo version of sackcloth?

  4. Sean McLaughlin says:

    What % of voters are hung up on the absence of at least a vague outline of what happened? It feels like we’re never going to get one in this case, either, which makes it difficult to make a firm gut call on how you feel about Trudeau’s behaviour in Creston. People who already didn’t like him will see it as a fireable offense, and supports will minimize or explain it away.

    With Al Franken, people at least knew what he was accused of and could make a judgement over whether they felt that it warranted a resignation. If this is what we want the new standard to be I wouldn’t be surprised if half the HoC and Congress was forced into early retirement, which would probably be a good thing.

  5. Gerry Todd says:

    None of this addresses the fact that he has set the bar at: any indiscretion ever is a firing offence. An impossible standard to meet, which is why is a ridiculous standard to set. But set it he did, and not a little self-righteously. And now he has to work within those confines, which is why a lawyerly non-denial is his only (albeit very weak) play.

  6. Gord says:

    #2 is bang on. When I was in private practice, I never ever spoke to the media or made any kind of statement intended for public consumption about anything to do with a client. If a client had a comms issue or needed PR help, I sent them straight to a PR firm. Unfortunately, many lawyers can’t help themselves.

  7. whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    Which is why the media have to ask Trudeau and the PMO if there is a non-disclosure agreement with the victim in place. And if so, if he will waive it.

    Are we getting these vague answers because he knows he is protected by an NDA?

  8. rww says:

    Saying you do not recall any negative interaction is about the worst thing you can say about a situation like that because IF true the perpetrator does not see it as negative, only the victim.

  9. Mary says:

    Yes lawyers suck at comms. They always say “We will vigorously defend against this lawsuit.” I can’t be the only one who thinks that that sounds like the client is guilty or liable, but will throw a lot of money at wiggling away?

  10. Lance says:

    And this bears repeating – saying essentially that if he had known who she was or who she represented he wouldn’t have done what he did….other than the alleged act, THAT is probably the most damaging thing about this story.

  11. Peter says:

    Why in the world would he go for counselling for something he did when he was single
    eighteen years ago that he blames on alcohol, the stress of his brother’s death and his father’s impending death? If you say you are looking for honesty and contrition, why tack on a boilerplate ritual abasement that implies some kind of ongoing dysfunction?

  12. Graham says:

    Mr. Kinsella, under normal circumstances I would agree with your advice but only if he could turn back the clock and respond that way, when you first broke the story. However his delay in responding and his non-response and the weasel words he used, has resulted in damage that can’t now be undone. Sad but he will soon join the same club as President Bill Clinton and he won’t have anyone to blame but himself.

  13. barn E. rubble says:

    RE: Peter
    ” . . . for something he did when he was single
    eighteen years ago that he blames on alcohol, . . .”

    Had he not gone so far out on the limb of virtue-signaling on this issue that could’ve been an out. But he did. The article and his apology (if you think that was an apology) happened well after sobering up time.. It happened. He now has to deal with it.

    According to Justin himself, she must be believed. He has to accept the consequences of his actions then and more so, because of his actions dealing with caucus members who had no chance of defense or given a choice, after only an accusation. He cannot support and promote the #metoo movement if he plans on using the #exceptme excuse.

    RE: Peter, ” . . .the stress of his brother’s death and his father’s impending death?”

    I believe that was a suggestion from Warren, not an excuse from Himself. As pathetic and disgusting as that is. He was partying it up. Not a lot of grief but a lot of beer.

    Full disclosure: my Father was killed in a car crash when I was 15 yrs old; my younger brother took his own life sometime later.

    In my time(s) of grief, groping (or any other form of inappropriate behaviour) never/would’ve even occurred to me. But then again, my Dad did teach me well . . . IE: being a good and decent man.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Well said.

    • Peter says:

      Thanks. I was indeed addressing Warren’s advice, not advising JT directly, but I pretty much agree with all you say. To me, JT has always screamed privileged frat boy entitlement and I’ve never bought his “Look what a good feminist I am” line (actually, with due respect to our host, I’ve never been comfortable with any men who publicly take that line ). Yet, although like you I can’t imagine myself behaving similarly and although I generally see #MeToo as an overdue positive force, I am somewhat mystified by the profile this is getting and somewhat trouble by Inquisition-by-Twitter over offensive and unacceptable, but hardly unusual, behaviour many years ago. Good reason not to vote for him maybe, but are people actually aiming to force him to resign? It must be my age. I would like to see #MeToo resurrect the remedy of a sharp slap in the face or kick in the nuts for low-level groping, but I suppose Warren would tell us that such actions would be unacceptable as they would violate the common assault provisions of the Criminal Code. 🙂

  14. FLang says:

    Two things about this bother me:

    1) If he made that half-hearted apology back then, why does he not remember it now?

    2) His virtue signalling has been off the deep end. He goes too far on this on many issues, even calling for gender based pipelines? I think most Canadians have had enough of this party’s bizarre policies

    3) I am a woman, been unfortunately man handled when I was younger, these things happened. I write it off towards youthful stupity and forgive those for their hormones. But he was 28 well beyond that.

  15. William S. says:

    Come now – the real reason the knives came out for Trudeau: ”Obviously I’m disappointed with the Catholic Church’s decision not to apologize for their role in residential schools.” Rome’s lawyers warn ‘apologize for nothing!’ Rome’s fixers have been tasked with neutralizing Trudeau. And now, as sharks, Americans, Russians, Conservatives, feminists join the feeding frenzy. By this measure, you’re the same as neo-Ustaše Tanya Granic Allen – Catholic fanatics. Most in the intelligence community knew Cardinal Spellman was a wild homosexual. Boston Globe’s Spotlight. As sex with children trumps a 2-second grope, it’s high time Rome’s most notorious sexual deviants in Canada are held up to scrutiny. If the Trudeauites are to be destroyed best go out with a bang!

  16. Matt says:

    Uh-oh. It seems Trudeau’s arrogance may be about to bite him in the ass.

    Receieved information this morning that after Trudeau’s “no negative interactions” response to the groping allegations,”several” women have now come forward to one media outlet to tell their stories about their experiences with Trudeau’s unwanted sexual advances.

    Grab the popcorn and lets see where this goes shall we?

    • Jim Keegan says:

      At this point, I think Trudeau’s goose is cooked and he will be unable to dig himself out of the very deep hole in which he finds himself. As a Conservative supporter, I find the timing of all of this most unfortunate. Right now, I would love nothing better than to see Trudeau remain as Liberal leader going into the next election but I now think he is going to be forced to resign, and fairly soon. There is still sufficient time for a new Liberal leader (Freeland?) to retrieve the situation for her party.

      Hopefully, I am wrong and we will see Justin hang on to power long enough to deservedly get his ass kicked in 2019. All in all, his tenure as PM has been a decidedly negative interaction for most Canadians.

    • Angel Martin says:

      More women coming forward with stories about Trudeau would be the kiss of death. This thing will reach critical mass and force him out.

      But he’s more vulnerable than that. If another federal Liberal gets into trouble for “#metoo” type misconduct from 10 or 15 years ago, and Trudeau has to apply “zero tolerance”, the next question will be “what about you Justin?”.

      • Lance says:

        Or better yet, if he all of a sudden DOESN’T apply “zero tolerance”, the question will be “why now, Justin”?

  17. Michele says:

    There were way too many ah’s in his reply to the question. He does that when he is either not clear about how he should answer or when there is something to cover up.

  18. John says:

    All very entertaining. Frankly less concerned about the inflamed libido of a 25yo than I am about the ego of 40something with admiration for Chinese style government and disdain for the United States of America to the extent that JT is prepared to dramatically and unnecessarily raise the cost of our already high cost of living and risk the shut down of major industrial complexes leading to massive layoffs. Google “bankrupt Detroit” then think of Windsor, Hamilton, St. Catherine’s.

  19. Montréalaise says:

    All of this could have been avoided if he had offered the young reporter a sincere and contrite apology at the time. Instead, his statement to her ”if I had known you were writing for a national newspaper…” adds insult to injury: he wasn’t concerned about her feelings, just the possible damage to his reputation.

  20. Terry Johnson says:

    Saying he doesn’t recall comes across as arrogant and elitist and that bothers more people than the alleged act itself. The defense is doing more damage than the offense and is being quietly noticed by more and more people.

    • Matt says:

      CBC allegedly in possession of a leaked internal PMO memo dated three days ago detailing their strategy for dealing with this. CBC sitting on it refusing to report on the memo.

      Was told the strategy is the woman doesn’t want to talk about it, so make people question her version of what happened. Essentially make her out to be untruthful.

  21. Deborah Rankin says:

    This isn’t so much about JT’s alleged behavior in the past however unseemly but his conduct in the present. He unceremoniously ended the careers of 2 Liberal MPs based solely on rumors by a third party. He has set himself up as the prototype of the “feminist” man. It is JT’s arrogance in all things that galls.

  22. Matt from Ottawa says:

    I think he shouldve just owned up to it from the get go.Like it or not, 20 somethings mixed with alcohol can get grabby. I worked in bars for years and myself was a bit of an ass in my 20s (but never groped a stranger). That being said, had he said “I was young and dumb” it wouldve been a nothing story. However between his shout from the mountain tops “im a feminist” etc etc, to IMHO lamely get the female vote, this all seems really disingenuous. I think team Trudeau is starting to realize that their feminist angle just took a missile to the dick. Hopefully they eat some crow and just cool it with the virtue signalling and just come back to earth and govern the country. Slogans just arent going to work anymore.

  23. Matt says:

    Told this morning CBC’s John Lancaster has a story on Trudeau’s serial harassment and abuses of women with two women who have come forward.

    Story has been killed, allegedly by senior management under order from the CBC brain trust loyal to Trudeau.

    A memo detailing how they will handle this topic going forward (bury it) has also allegedly been sent to reporters and producers at the CBC.

    • Bill says:

      So what’s to stop these two women from going to another network?

    • Jim Keegan says:

      The CBC is definitely not the correct media outlet for these two women to approach (neither is the Globe, for that matter)…..the CBC will not be biting the hand that feeds it. Presumably, and hopefully, the two women will now go to another outlet, one that has some journalistic integrity. It would actually be great if they brought their stories to this website’s host.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “A memo detailing how they will handle this topic going forward (bury it) has also allegedly been sent to reporters and producers at the CBC.”

      Oh, wow…

      If this is true, that memo will be leaked within the next couple of days. The CBC will have made a *huge* mistake and become one of the focal points of this entire story.

  24. Bruce M says:

    Every MP and Senator, male and female, with a nasty little skeleton should come out now, knowing that JT can’t demand their skins without flaying himself. It’s a Parliamentary get-out-of-jail free card, courtesy of the hypocrite.

    Seriously, is he too young to remember all the televangelists brought low in exactly the same way? Remember Tammy-Faye Baker’s streaking make-up?

  25. Johnny Maudlin says:

    Zero tolerance? Really? How many narrow-minded new fascists does it take to 1) screw in a light bulb or 2) determine what does it does not constitute a crucifiable (I copyright that word!) offense.

    So if this good-looking fella that many many women fantasize about strapping on (and no doubt many of my gay brethren too) made some dumb drunken move (and NEW RULE ALERT!!) more once) he must GO!?

    Fuck that noise! If he goes let him go because he is a lousy leader. In the meantime #metoo has become-ironically-the new meathead on the block. A nameless (in many cases) faceless (in many cases) bully.

    Yeah we know guys need to grow up and own up. Fair enough. But these retroactive public executions are horseshit. Just more folks exercising power while complaining about those in power exercising power.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “Zero tolerance? Really?

      Really…policy written by fools for the benefit of cowards. The ultimate bureaucratic “cover your ass” tool.

    • Lawrence Barry says:

      Yo “Johnny” – Just curious about what you would throw into the ballpark of “retroactive”? Asking for a friend.

  26. Matt says:

    And Trudeau doubles down. From CBC’s twitter:

    – Justin Trudeau says different interactions can be experienced differently by different people and ‘we have to respect that.’

    – Justin Trudeau says he’s been reflecting on his interaction with female reporter 18 years ago and still doesn’t feel it was ‘in any way untoward’ but he respects the fact that the woman ‘might have experienced that differently.’

    Hearing a third woman, disgusted with Trudeau’s “no negative interactions” statement has come forward to tell the National Post what he did to her..

  27. Johnny Maudlin says:

    Here we go. He did this! He did that! He hurt my feelings! Blah blah blah and tune in at 11 for more blah!

  28. Daphne says:

    So this statement was a bald-faced lie:

    “I’ve been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people’s space and people’s headspace as well.”

  29. John Casselman says:

    Not bad political advice. But what do you do when (you know) people won’t take your advice? See the whole board. What’s the next chess move?

    (I say this with a level of deference among political adversaries)

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