, 07.10.2020 10:04 AM

My latest: Conservatives circa 2020 = Liberals 2004

Politics is like rock’n’roll: everything has been done before.

Take the Conservative Party, for example (please). Their leadership contest is ripping their party apart.

The Liberals did it first, however. Jean Chrétien won the Liberal leadership in 1990, and he won majority governments in 1993, 1997 and 2000, too. But Paul Martin and his cabal didn’t care.

They wanted Chrétien gone. So when Chrétien had a minor health scare, Martin’s minions hissed to compliant reporters that Chrétien was dying. When he didn’t die, they pounced on every misstep – and there weren’t many of those, frankly – and muttered darkly to compliant reporters.

When the sponsorship mess happened, Chrétien called in the cops. He cleaned house. His government was supported, as a result, by 60 per cent of Canadians.

Again, the Martinites didn’t care. Once Chrétien retired, they decided to hold an inquiry into sponsorships. One of them – now, amusingly, a “political analyst” for Bell Media – said: “This public inquiry is going to pin it all on them.”

Instead, Chrétien fired off a few golf balls into the epicentre of the inquiry and Martin’s PMO, collapsing both. The Liberal Party of Canada would thereafter spend a decade in the political wilderness – because Paul Martin and Co. called in the cops on their own political party.

Some 16 years later, Erin O’Toole has decided to do the same thing. A few days ago, the Conservative leadership candidate’s team made a formal complaint to the RCMP.

Alleging criminal conduct by Peter MacKay’s leadership campaign.

The allegation is that some factotums in MacKay’s operation got access to top-secret recordings of meetings in O’Toole’s operation. Super-duper secret stuff was purloined, it is alleged.

To regard this as a crime, of course, we would need to first believe that the O’Toole leadership campaign had ideas that were worth stealing. That is a big assumption, we know, but let’s assume they did and they do.

So, the RCMP, as they always do, confirmed they’d received the criminal complaint. As they always do, the Mounties said they were talking to some people about the allegations. And, as always, they haven’t said anything else, because the RCMP don’t like to be used as political pawns.

But let’s also assume, for a minute, that the Mounties actually charge members of MacKay’s inner circle. Does that mean the former Nova Scotia cabinet minister couldn’t still win the Tory leadership?

No. He could still win it, and he’d thereafter be pursuing a scorched-Earth campaign against all things O’Toole. And the beneficiary would be Justin Trudeau.

Or, let’s imagine that O’Toole’s gambit doesn’t work, and MacKay’s team are exonerated. The above scenario would be the same: a bloody purge of O’Toole and his gang by the victorious MacKay folks, and Justin Trudeau riding the resulting Conservative civil war to another majority victory.

Or, try to imagine that O’Toole somehow wins. (Hard, we know, but try.) MacKay and Co. will remain on the sidelines, for years, sabotaging everything O’Toole tries to do. Winner? Justin Trudeau.  

Take it from a veteran of the Chrétien-Martin leadership wars – whose nadir, as now, was one camp calling the other camp criminals – these things never end well. Back then, the main beneficiary was Stephen Harper. This time, whichever way it goes, it’ll be Justin Trudeau.

When the Martin guys did what they did, we Chrétien guys commenced hating their guts. Some of us still do. Deeply. That tends to be the reaction when someone falsely accuses you of a crime.

Anyway: if a crime has been committed, let the cops do their job. But don’t use the criminal law as a political club.

Erin O’Toole could have saved himself a lot of trouble by simply calling Jean Chrétien and asking for advice. I know what le petit gars would’ve said, too.

He would’ve said this: politicize your differences, Erin.

Don’t criminalize them.


  1. Ron Benn says:

    Paul Martin et al took a decade (or more) to execute a very Canadian coup d’etat. Neat and tidy on the surface, but setting up another decade long battle that periodically bubbled up to the surface.

  2. the real Sean says:

    call the barbaric practices hotline…

  3. Martin says:

    Who knows if anything there. Meanwhile, there sure would appear to be between JT, We and JT’s family. The media seem to be doing a decent job covering it but I can’t even imagine how apoplectic they would be if this were Harper and his family. Oh wait, sure I can…

  4. JH says:

    Is this a deflection tactic re the Trudeau Family’s WE charity fkup or was it just written before that news came out?
    Your site of course, but seems strange to be attacking CPC today, not that I have a lot of sympathy for them either.
    I keep wondering who the PMO will be recruiting this time around from the PPG for their WE defense smear team?

  5. William Morrison says:

    Or, only a miniscule fraction of the population is watching the Conservative leadership race. Once it’s over, a few more will open their eyes. If the new leader isn’t a total idiot (admittedly, a lot to ask), Trudeau is in big trouble. The WE scandal is the kind of thing that casual voters can understand….

    • The Doctor says:

      I agree that very few are paying attention. The whole covid shitshow, BLM protests and Trump clown show down south are helping to seal that deal. Very few will pay attention until at least the US presidential election is over, because it’s arguably most consequential US election in our lifetimes.

      Given what’s at stake, I think a lot more Canadians are tuning into US politics than Canadian politics these days.

  6. Yet Another Calgarian says:

    “When the Martin guys did what they did, we Chrétien guys commenced hating their guts. Some of us still do. Deeply. That tends to be the reaction when someone falsely accuses you of a crime.”

    *cough* russian collusion *cough*

  7. Corwin says:

    Sadly, we all are the losers in this. Ineffective CPC keeps horrific LPC in charge.

    Does PMJT end up with three or four terms? That’s the real question.

    • PJH says:

      The Libs partners in crime(NDP and the Bloc) could pull the plug anytime they want…but they dont because their war chest cupboards are bare….and they know they would be slaughtered at the polls(as would the Conservatives with the current leader) I suspect with a new leader, the Conservative Party will do very well when M. Trudeau’s puppet masters decide to call an election….which I suspected would be after the Covid 19 situation was well controlled, but before the CERB benefits ran out. Now “WE-gate” throws their timelines off completely….when MotherCorp isnt trying to bury the story…you know its got legs….M. Trudeau has some ‘splainin’ to do…..

      • PJH,

        Of course, The Mother Corp. hasn’t found Jesus. Rather it’s very suddenly Operation Royally Cover One’s Ass in hope that they can mollify an incoming Conservative government and remain comatose. Oh yeah, funding…a CPC government could actually pull it. Who knew? LOL.

        • What I wouldn’t pay to get into Rosie’s brain right now.

          • PJH says:

            You know I was thinking about that the other night…..not only is Mother Corp covering the story, but they are allowing commentary by the great unwashed on it as well….which never happens when the Dauphin is under attack. Which leads me to believe your premise is correct. Unlike some Conservatives, I dont want to see Mother Corp defunded….but I do want to see greater balance in their political reporting(as it used to be….long before the likes of Rosie”the Liberal Bugler” Barton came on the scene)

  8. Gilbert says:

    Justin Trudeau’s latest scandal is big. Even his supporters now have to admit he’s corrupt.

    Now let’s talk about Peter MacKay. He doesn’t seem to be the most ethical politician in the world. He’s also an opportunist who resigned in 2015 and would be at home in the Liberal Party. If he wins the Conservative leadership, I’m not voting Conservative.

  9. As I watch the CPC leadership campaign (and what a misnomer “leadership” is in this context) the description “Dumb & Dumber” somehow comes to mind.

    • ER,

      I imagine that most of the candidates are at least somewhat more politically sentient than the current incumbent?

      • Mr. Scheer exceeded everyone’s expectations. He should not have been stabbed in the back. He would not have lasted past the leadership review (which was scheduled for early 2020) in any event, and all the political infighting that has been going on since the last election could have been avoided. Everything concerning the CPC has been downhill since then. IMHO, they are not seen as credible. MotherCorp et al were very happy to provide all sorts of primetime scheduling to the belly-achers and know-it-alls when they were torpedoing Scheer. We’ll see how easy it will be for those guys to get on the air after the writ is dropped.

  10. Chris Sigvaldason says:

    Eventually a major Canadian political party will abandon these endless, divisive “leadership” campaigns. The only thing they are good for is getting e-mail addresses of a bunch of potential donors (ie. temporary party members). The collateral damage is too great (Martin, Bernier, Leitch, etc.). The Australian or British custom of quick, caucus votes is much simpler, faster, and cheaper.

    • Chris,

      Doubt the Fortress That Was Thatcher would agree. She wasn’t for turning but suddenly caucus certainly was.

      Leaving it to caucus harks back to a bygone era, and deservedly so. Members are supposed to count for something at least once during their card-carrying days and this is it.

    • PJH says:

      I agree….MP’s can see who has “the royal jelly” among their peers….and if it turns out they arent suitable, or stay longer than their “best before date”….they can be given “the heave”…..its a much better, and stable system….less divisive, and far less costly….Ive seen delegated conventions of the past(rife with corruption and abuse), the current one person one vote preferential ballot/points system…(as you say, lengthy, cumbersome, and divisive)…and MP’s choosing the leader makes the most sense to me….

  11. PK says:

    The habit spills beyond their membership, when they start using innuendo to criminalize everyday people. This is a cultural issue that’s abused to rationalize harassment, the abuse of innuendo, or stigma, politically motivated – to obstruct everyday people. It’s a serious issue in Canada that social media networks motivated by political, or ideological leanings are being abused to obstruct everyday life for their fellow Canadian’s – childish.

  12. PK says:

    Say you are too good for your surroundings, and they target you – hack your computer to poison professional opportunity, use social media to spread shit when you do everyday things, use the stigma of every tabloid theme to define you on false terms – in doing so they impact future economic prosperity, your earned reputation, and professional income – that is what they do to people who work harder and stand out – that’s cultural in Canada

  13. PK says:

    Imagined stigma, innuendo born of a jealous fool, eaves dropping, reams of propaganda and double speak, outright lies – there’s a lot of work to do if you want to call Canada a free country, or an egalitarian one, or even remotely merit based when culturally homogeneous networks engineer employment outcomes for literally every opportunity because they feel entitled to break all the rules – systemic and backwards –

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