, 03.08.2019 09:56 AM

Your morning #LavScam: the Imposter has a bad, bad press conference

The Imposter’s non-apology apology didn’t go so well.  A summary of the commentariat, below:

  • John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail: “At Thursday morning’s news conference, an unrepentant Justin Trudeau described the political crisis that has consumed his government as a failure to communicate. It was not. This crisis is about his failure to lead. And the news conference offered further proof of that failure. In his prepared remarks, and in answer to questions from reporters, the Prime Minister confirmed every allegation levelled against his government in the SNC-Lavalin affair.”
  • Martha Hall Findlay, Globe and Mail: “Both former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have made significant and potentially seriously career-limiting moves based, they have said, on their principles. Doing so suggests a level of integrity that, as amply demonstrated by the shock value of their recent resignations from cabinet, is all too rare in politics…I prefer to believe that they did not resign because they are women; rather, because they are people with principles, which in turn guided their actions.”
  • John Ibbitson, Globe:  “[Trudeau’s excuse is] a crock because Mr. Trudeau assumes no responsibility for a crisis that is entirely his fault. A good leader would be appalled that he had created a work environment so dysfunctional that a critical situation spun completely out of control without his even being aware of it.  It’s a crock because the Prime Minister tacitly admitted at the news conference that he was willing to let economic and partisan political considerations influence the SNC-Lavalin prosecution – a blatant violation of the rule of law. And it’s a crock because Mr. Trudeau’s arrogance masquerading as humility throughout the news conference was so unconvincing. His unwillingness to apologize.”
  • Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail: “Trudeau’s foreign fan club isn’t cheering any more…Mr. Trudeau’s global fan club has had a hard time processing the [LavScam] news.”
  • Campbell Clark, Globe: “Canadians were waiting to hear Trudeau’s full explanation on SNC-Lavalin – and they didn’t get it…Not an apology. Not really an act of contrition. Not a full-throated defence. Not a detailed accounting of events. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s press conference on the SNC-Lavalin affair included an assertion that there were lessons learned although he wasn’t terribly specific about which ones. So what was that?”
  • Gary Mason, Globe: “There was certainly some contrition – he wished things could have been handled differently, it’s an unfortunate situation from which he hopes to gain knowledge and perspective – but there was a disturbing lack of personal accountability. The whole matter seems to have been an unfortunate misunderstanding, if you believe the Prime Minister…he wants us to believe he was oblivious to any angst on her part until the cabinet shuffle in January. And not until then did he grasp the full extent of her enmity toward him and his coterie of advisers.  Not a chance.”
  • Tanya Talaga, Toronto Star: “At first glance, there seems little to compare between the bullying of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould by the prime minister and his staff and the treatment of Inuit by the Crown during the tuberculosis crisis. But both speak to a persistent colonial mindset, the kind of thinking that is a blight on our history and still pervades our government. On Thursday, Trudeau was to apologize to Inuit. He ought to do the same for Wilson-Raybould.”
  • Thomas Walkom, Star: “Justin Trudeau’s explanation of the SNC-Lavalin affair has explained little. The prime minister was supposed to put the issue to bed at an early-morning press conference Thursday. He did not succeed.”
  • Lorne Gunter, Sun Media: “Trudeau apologizes for everything except his own failings…Funny, isn’t it, how Justin Trudeau is sorry about anything – everything – that happened before he became prime minister. Every other week he seems to be off apologizing for some perceived wrong that happened 80 years ago, 100, 150 years ago. But does he ever apologize for any of the flubs and blunders (or worse) that he is responsible for? In other words, he only every apologizes for the easy stuff; for the stuff that will make him look good with no skin off his nose. So it was no surprise Thursday when Trudeau held a news conference over the SNC-Lavalin scandal and never once said “sorry.”
  • Toronto Sun editorial board: “Today we join the growing list of Canadians using the hashtag LetJodySpeak to demand former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould be recalled to testify at the Commons justice committee hearings into the SNC-Lavalin scandal. The Liberal majority on the committee Wednesday rejected an opposition motion for Wilson-Raybould to be recalled, after some of the testimony by Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, diametrically opposed her version of events…The entire process has already been unfair to Wilson-Raybould. The committee has already called Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick twice, before and after Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, the second time because his initial testimony disagreed with hers on key points. Wilson-Raybould deserves the same opportunity.”
  • Jorge Barrera, CBC News: “Trudeau’s offer of Indigenous Services to Wilson-Raybould like ‘asking Nelson Mandela to administer apartheid’…The prime minister’s attempt to move Jody Wilson-Raybould to the Indigenous Services portfolio was a “deeply humiliating” proposal and shows a lack of understanding and disconnect from First Nations’ world view, say Indigenous leaders and analysts…Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, director of the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, said offering Wilson-Raybould the Indigenous Services portfolio was inappropriate. Over its 140 years, the Indian Act has been used to force children to attend residential schools, outlaw religious practices and forbid First Nations people from leaving reserves without a permit. “Any person that had any kind of understanding, even a basic understanding of Indigenous relations with the Crown, would know that the most offensive and indeed racist legislation on the books is the Indian Act,” she said. “Asking her to administer the Indian Act is not only inappropriate, it is deeply humiliating.”
  • Anne Kingston, Maclean’s: “If the presser was intended to quell the controversy, it failed…Instead of showing humility or contrition over a now-seismic situation, Trudeau lectured…A befuddled press corps called for clarity: “Just to clarify, are you apologizing for anything today?,” one reporter asked. “I will be making an Inuit apology later today,” Trudeau answered without apparent irony. And with that, the PM who had just said he doesn’t want to look back, but wants to look ahead, boarded a plane to apologize for long-ago wrongs, leaving a sorry, muddled present in his wake.”


  1. JJ says:

    Great summary – thanks! ICYMI, former NS NDP Premier Dexter was interviewed by CTV Atlantic anchor Steve Murphy and had some telling comments that suggestions to cabinet from the first minister are directives in and of themselves.

  2. Max says:

    Warren, I’d like to see someone call Trudeau and his “lessons learned”, “moving forward”, “building trust” and being “accountable” and “doing things differently” by rooting out those Liberal MPs who, under the cloak of anonymity, smeared Jody Wilson Raybould. Don’t say you are the leader Justin – show it by your actions. Name those MPs Justin and gove them the boot. If I were the NDP and PCs and backbench Liberals, that’s what I’d be asking for.

  3. MJG says:

    Politics in a democracy has to be about just governance, and not money, power, and influence. The Liberals have done it under Trudeau; ensured that a waffling, urban voter like me who has in the past always voted on the basis of policy, and not party lines, will never, ever vote for their party federally again. Which is not to say I wouldn’t accept and welcome them in government led by the people of principal they’re pushing away. They just cannot count on my support anymore in getting there.

  4. Robert White says:

    The offer to JWR to take the Indigenous Services portfolio is the chink in the Federal Liberal armor that is absolutely unbelievable on the surface of their argument. Initially I thought Butt’s testimony was wholly legitimate but today I am inclined to agree with CBC’s Barrera.

    I am not an aboriginal Canadian but I have always thought that the Indian Act was an abomination culturally & socially.
    The PMO cannot hide behind the manufactured testimony of Gerald Butts with regard to the offer made to JWR in haste. Clearly, it was a humiliating demotion designed to anger her and force her departure from cabinet & caucus.

    Bottom line is that the people in the PMO are by no means that stupid. If they are indeed that dumb & uneducated I will apply to be the secretary.


  5. duane sharp says:

    These are all great comments for a variety of publications and journalists and they are all on-side with JWR, with various levels of castigation for the PM.

    All good stuff, Warren, keep it up!!

  6. Vancouverois says:

    Well, well. Look at the latest news – the court struck down SNC-Lavalin’s appeal for judicial review of the DPP’s decision to prosecute:


  7. Derek Pearce says:

    I’m dying to know what on earth Celina Caesar-Chavannes was talking about in her tweet yesterday. Anybody have a clue?

  8. Gord Tulk says:

    Jorge Barrera’s comment is idiotic.

    Who better to be in charge of that department at this point in time than someone who has been impacted by it.

    With her as minister she could begin the process of ending it – recommending the termination of the horrific Indian Act and proposing the way forward.

    • whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

      As Indigenous Services, Wilson-Raybould would have no power to change the Indian Act. She would have to have been give Bennett’s portfolio, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

      Barrera is right. The Indigenous Services ministry is more akin to administering “apartheid”, with the inability to change the legal relationship and structure was would is what the other ministry is tasked with undertaking.

      • Gord Tulk says:

        So how hard do you think mandela would have administered apartheid?

        Doesn’t it make sense to have Mandela as administrator rather than some white supremacist?

        It’s idiotic on its face.

        • Fred from BC says:

          She would have no power to change the Indian Act no matter where she was positioned but, as you say, she could at least have changed the way it was implemented and/or enforced.

          • Karl-Milton-Marx-Friedman says:

            The Mandela analogy is catchy, it’s sticky. Who ever came up with it knows master-level persuasion, *cough* Warren BUT the Indian Act is not analogous to Apartheid. Apartheid is not short hand for what the Indian Act does. It’s more complicated than that.

            Saying you hate the Indian Act is like saying you hate Representative democracy. Rep Dem gets you disappointing results ie. party discipline…But what do you replace it with?

            Indigenous leadership want a spectrum of alternatives ranging from a separate nation-state to self-government to…X…but the leadership does not want to shut down reserves as that is their source of power + cultural protection.

            Minister of Indigenous Service can effect change from within.

    • Vancouverois says:

      Is ending it a priority of this government? Really?

      I mean, they may have said so. But it’s been three and a half years already. Have they taken any concrete steps toward repealing or restructuring the Indian Act? I haven’t heard of it.

      Admittedly I haven’t been paying that much attention to the file. Was there anything substantial that I missed?

      • Gord Tulk says:

        No you missed nothing other than the fact that Chrétien and Justin’s dad supported ending it and that the CPC has it in their policy book.

  9. Nick Redding says:

    From the Globe and Mail: “Wernick talked by phone with SNC Lavalin chair Kevin Lynch who was Clerk of the Privy Council from 2006 to 2009.”

    Helluva coincidence that. Am I the only one wondering if the senior politicians and beaureaucrats in our government spend quite a lot of time preparing for their post-government careers? I wonder where Wernick and Trudeau figure they’ll land when they leave government and what are they doing now to pave the way?

    • Vancouverois says:

      I read somewhere that the call wasn’t listed under the lobbying contact registry, where supposedly it shouldn’t have appeared. I have no idea if it’s actually true.

  10. billg says:

    You just know that someone is now counting the PMO’s meetings regarding GM in Oshawa, Energy East and Trans Mountain. Wonder how many calls the Privy Council made and received on the behalf of Energy Workers in Western Canada. This is where Lav-scam will get ugly.

  11. John D. says:

    Trudeau and Trump are just two sides of the same coin. The “teen” decade will be remembered as a period when democracies around the world reached “peak ambivalence” and started electing the most unqualified “leaders” they could find.

    In the end, both of these imposters will be consigned to the trash heap of history, and our democracies will emerge (hopefully) with a renewed appreciation for the meritocracy , and a renewed visceral hatred for inherited privilege.

  12. Diana R says:

    It is interesting that every report here is negative. Has no one considered that the “process” is indeed broken and must be fixed as JT suggests? The PM could have more clearly shown he had empathy for what JWR experienced and can understand her frustration based on her independent role as AG. That said, it would not have been wise for him to “apologize” for the outcomes given that the blame for the situation is shared. He is on the right track to focus on “how to fix it” and perhaps could have invited JWR to participate in a committee to do so.

    Regarding shared blame… JWR should have been more clear to everyone in September that she could not take a second look at the DPP’s decision simply because the language used by colleagues about “elections” and “getting re-elected” (assuming that happened) permanently tainted the request. She should have said “the decision is final due to the appearance of political interference, based on what she could not “un-hear”, even if it was not intended”, and even if a second look was indeed the right thing to do for such new legislation.

    Regarding process… JWR should have ensured all government colleagues including the PMO were then appropriately reminded on the importance of never crossing that line when in discussions with her given she was the AG, and that if they continued to press on this matter she would have to resign. It would have been a tough lesson to learn, but much easier than the one we are all are learning now! It also seems necessary to more clearly define “political interference”. For example, lawfully speaking up for the interests of thousands of Canadians is what we expect of our government and is what politicians and their staff should be doing every day! The request for a second opinion was not offside and was one of the options made available to her by her own staff given the newness of the DPA legislation. It was simply the manner in which the request was made initially, but she did not make that clear enough or stand firm enough.

    • whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

      No process can survive immoral unethical actors.

      The Shawcross doctrine is easy to understand. The creation of the DPP, made the lines even clearer.

      Since the creation of the DPP, there has been NO directives issued by the AG to the DPP with regards to a particular criminal case. Zero.

      JWR saw the big flashing red lights. To issue a directive in a particular criminal case is an historic and probably dangerous thing to do. You know, the independence of prosecutorial discretion from politics.

      Trudeau, Butts, and Wernick…on the other hand, what great time to go pedal to the metal and ignore the big flashing red lights.

    • billg says:

      Except, they were not speaking up for 1000’s of people who might lose their jobs, just this one area of Quebec. Had they, none of this would be happening. Unfortunately, it’s just that simple.

    • Vancouverois says:

      “Shared blame”? She should have made the line clearer? The request for a “second opinion” was “not offside”?

      What absolute nonsense.

  13. Kinsey says:

    Great article in today’s Globe and Mail by Emily Riddle:

    “The gaslighting of Jody Wilson-Raybould: Indigenous women have seen this before”


    • Robert White says:

      Riddle has an excellent left hook and right uppercut. Thanks for posting that link. Great slam of PMO, Butts, PM, & CPC all in one stone’s throw. She knows how to fight better than PM, CPC, Butts, and everyone else so far. I never noticed her before but I like the way she hits.


      • Karl-Milton-Marx-Friedman says:

        Emily Riddle opinion is valid to a point.

        All these troupes? What about the troupe of the literary, symboligist analysis masquerading as legitimate political analysis? If she recognized the giant troupe that she herself is playing, it would be really meta. So very meta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.