, 07.23.2019 11:41 AM

My latest: Butts, back, big bother

Kick me.

Here’s a little-known fact: The “kick me” sign — which is usually affixed to some hapless soul’s back or behind, for laughs — was apparently devised by merry-making Scots during the 16th Century.

They did it to celebrate April Fool’s. “Kick me” thereafter became so popular, it spread to the British Isles and then rest of the world.

And so, this week, the Liberal Party of Canada stuck a “kick me” sign to its collective keester, and invited all of us to do precisely that.

The occasion? Not April Fool’s, although it certainly felt like it could be. No, the “kick me” moment heralded the inauspicious return of Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, and his forever-BFF, Gerald Butts.

Butts showed up for some Liberal campaign meeting. People noticed.

Yes, that Gerald Butts. He of the SNC-Lavalin meta-scandal — the one who helped propel #LavScam into hashtag hagiography.

He — the one who told us a million times that he’s a coal miner’s son. Him, the one who also told the chief of staff to the Attorney-General of Canada that Trudeau’s cabal wanted to short-circuit the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Liberal Party donor.

Him, “Gerry,” who famously said of interfering in the coming corruption trial of SNC-Lavalin that “there is no solution here that does not involve some interference.”

Him. Gerald Butts. He’s back.

Now, before everyone starts reaching for the smelling salts, there is a passable pretext to justify the return of Butts. For one thing, he’s smarter than all of PMO put together. And, the wheels started to come off PMO the moment Butts left.

The Liberal Party commenced sliding precipitously in the polls. Patronage scandals sprouted up like weeds. And, of course, there was this stirring bit of oratory, which ranks up there with the Gettysburg Address: “We have recently switched to drinking water bottles out of water, when we have water bottles out of a plastic sorry away from plastic towards paper-like drink-box, water-bottle sorta things.”

So, on the one hand, it makes a bit of sense that Butts is back. But, on the other, it doesn’t at all.

Two reasons.

One, Butts — fairly or not — became the face of LavScam. And not in a good way. Former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott came to embody decency, honesty and a belief in the independence of our prosecutorial system.

Butts, meanwhile, came to be seen as a guy who may have done something wrong. Why would he have resigned if that were not so?

LavScam hammered the Liberal Party in public opinion. It shredded Justin Trudeau’s promise of sunny ways. And it left his oft-made claims to be a feminist — to be the indigenous reconciler, to be the guy who’d bring back ethical government — in tatters after he expelled Wilson-Raybould and Philpott for having the temerity to speak up for the rule of law.

There’s a second reason why Gerald Butts’ return is dumb, dumb, dumb. And it’s that hoary old chestnut, Liberal arrogance.

“Liberal arrogance” has recurred so many times in Canadian politics, it practically deserves its own entry in Mel Hurtig’s Canadian Encyclopedia series. Liberal arrogance — that Grit belief that they alone know what is best for Canada, and are in fact synonymous with all that is good in Canada — is deadly.

Liberal arrogance has felled many a Liberal government. It is the greatest Grit weakness. And the return of Gerald Butts signals its unfortunate return, in marquee lights.

Butts is back. LavScam is back. Liberal arrogance is back.

Kick them: they deserve it.

19 Comments

  1. We don’t see eye to eye on the beginning of the end: in my book it was India. And who was still there presiding over that train wreck, along with Telford…?

    Guess who argued for a complete turnover in the top three-four back then? But this Prime Minister is a man who puts the so-called qualities of friendship above anything else. Not smart.

    So, Justin has got Butts back, along with Telford, Purchase and the rest of the happy crew. Enjoy the ride!

    • Douglas W says:

      Butts is a master at the art of deflection. He’s certainly not going to allow himself to be the storyline of the election. Libs will focus on Ford; they’ll highlight a relatively strong economy; and they’ll also say: can you truly trust those guys over there (meaning the CPC)? He’s good. Opposition parties’ strategists need to be better. Can they be?

  2. Max says:

    When Butts “resigned”, was he paid a severance? How much? And he’s back, but never really left? Advised Justin as an unregistered political consultant? Ah, yes. Doing things differently. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

    Trudeau is obviously counting on a mini media firestorm that won’t have any legs during the dog days of summer. And a short attention span of the electorate as in “what was that Lavscam thing all about anyway…?” If I were the opposition parties, I’d be starting my SNC-Butts strategy right about now. Tailor made for Justin and Gerry.

    • Max,

      People can’t be played for simpletons. They saw right through SNC and Norman, without knowing the intricacies of the inside baseball edition that we political junkies cherish.

      That’s Trudeau and Butts’ problem right there. And it’s a doozy.

      • Douglas W says:

        If “fresh meat” emerges (re: SNC-L, V-A Norman), then the media sharks will work themselves into a tizzy, and have something to chew on, for weeks. But there’s gotta be “fresh meat”. Otherwise, folks are going to shrug and let these matters go. Ancient history. Old news. Got nothing to do with me.

        • Douglas,

          Well, it certainly won’t be in here:
          Independent MP Wilson-Raybould to release book ahead of election.

          IMHO, not the most savvy of moves. Personally, I would have waited to be re-elected before regurgitating a book. It’s another round of mixed optics — just like the tape.

          • Douglas W says:

            If she isn’t re-elected, and then releases the book, will anyone care? JW-R potentially can do a lot of damage to JT/GB during the campaign. This is what she wants.

          • Douglas,

            I’m not so sure given only her partial lifting of SCP and cabinet confidence. She’s not about to stretch that elastic — even in an election campaign.

            One day, she may want to return as a BC Bar Member, or become a LSOUC member. IMHO, she won’t put that at risk.

        • Jeanbatte says:

          The media is bought and paid for. Justie made sure of that

  3. the real Sean says:

    Butts has to come back because he is the most important person in this Government. He is the only person with the necessary skill set to put the 2019 campaign for corruption tour back on its tracks. Liberals have no choice but to shut the hell up and swallow it.

  4. Douglas W says:

    Cartoon: brutal portrayal of Justin. Just brutal.

  5. Darcy Wallace says:

    Dear Mr. Kinsella: Are you interested in the LavScam.ca and LavScam.com website domains? I live in Moncton, NB and I currently own them. You went to Loyola High School and recently outed anti-Semites in the Beaches. I went to the Loyola campus of Concordia and recently outed a classic anti-Semite in the People’s Alliance Party of my own province. My email is darcywallace@gmail.com and I would love to hear from you.

    You are a rogue of the highest order and you clearly love the game.

    Warm Regards,
    Darcy

    PS: The 1993 album called “Peter” by the New Brunswick band Eric’s Trip is the best Canadian punk album ever made. It is available on the Murder Records label run by the fellas from Sloan. Look at me, Im gushing.

  6. Gord says:

    I doubt this will have any effect one way or another. Scheer can harp on LavScam all he wants – the electoral math just isn’t there for him anymore.

    The Liberals could hang onto power by cobbling together a majority coalition with the Greens and the NDP. None of the other parties are likely to prop up the Tories, so they need to get a majority or something close to it (160+ seats). I don’t see where they get another 60 seats. Maybe they squeeze another dozen out of the West, and maybe a dozen in Atlantic Canada. Any gains in Quebec will be washed out by the collapse of the NDP vote to the Liberals. The Tories’ road to victory runs straight through suburban Ontario, and suburban Ontario is mighty pissed at Ford and thus unlikely to embrace his federal cousins.

    Our only hope is that the Liberals have a near-death experience that convinces caucus to dump Justin as leader and replace him with a grownup.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Gord,

      THIS Liberal caucus (or cabinet) ?

      They don’t have the temerity to properly tie their shoes.

      • Gord says:

        I’m not holding my breath, but I see it as the best possible outcome at this point. There are a lot of Liberal MPs who got elected on Justin’s coattails who will either be gone in November or get re-elected in spite of him this time. I’d like to think that their own craven political self-interest will carry the day, if they no longer see him as their meal ticket.

        Hope springs eternal!

    • Douglas W says:

      Sucks to be Sheer: he’s going to lose because of Ford, not JT. Doubt the Conservatives have an effective strategy to counter the Ford Factor. Libs, again with 80 Ontario seats, maybe more, because the NDP will be no where to be found.

  7. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    OFF TOPIC: Mueller.

    Hopefully, Warren will give us his take in a post. Should Trump be indicted upon leaving office? Of course, Yes. Will he be? Not a chance on earth.

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