, 07.16.2020 01:38 PM

My latest: Trudeau-titlements

Entitlements.

You remember that word, don’t you? David Dingwall, a Liberal politician, once said that he was “entitled to his entitlements.”

Dingwall uttered those fateful words before a Parliamentary committee, convened to determine if – as President of the Royal Canadian Mint – Dingwall had abused his expense account.

He hadn’t. Two audits concluded he hadn’t. But, when questioned about why he should get a severance when he voluntarily resigned from his position at the Mint, that’s what Dingwall said. “I’m entitled to my entitlements.”

He wasn’t wrong, but it was a dumb thing to say. The Conservatives used a clip of Dingwall saying those words in their election ads. They won the election.

Entitlements are the root cause of all corruption. People of lesser means decide they work hard, that they are unappreciated, so they sometimes start dipping into the proverbial cookie jar. They take home stuff that doesn’t belong to them, because they feel entitled.

Rich people are a bit different. They think they are entitled, too, but they think that way simply because they are rich. They breathe a more rarefied air, and their Gucci slippers don’t alight on the same ground as the rest of us. They pocket things that they shouldn’t, because they genuinely believe they are superior beings. And their superiority entitles them to entitlements.

So. Many years after David Dingwall said what he said, entitlements are back. Specifically, entitlements for the entitled.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his mother and brother are rich. So is the family of his Finance Minister, Bill Morneau. By any reasonable standard, they’re all rich. They’re millionaires. They have way more money than you and I do.

But there they were, those rich people, getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars – or getting jobs – from a charity, WE. They got paid to make speeches and appear at WE events, where kids in matching T-shirts would applaud their every utterance.

Now, the rest of us volunteer with charities. We donate our time to charities. We don’t, however, expect to get paid $352,000 by a charity. But the Trudeaus did, and were.

Over a period of years, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party got very, very close to Marc and Craig Kielburger’s cult-like WE organization. If the Trudeau Liberals were the Church of Scientology, WE was their Sea Org.

When they won power, Messrs. Trudeau and Morneau sat in on a cabinet meeting and voted to give Marc and Craig’s WE thing close to a billion dollars to run a program that the federal public service was more than qualified to run. They voted to give Marc and Craig and Co. almost a billion dollars sole-source – meaning, with no competition.

Did they disclose to cabinet that their families had received jobs and lots of money from WE? We don’t know. Cabinet discussions are secret.

But we’ll know soon enough. There are multiple investigations already underway into this stinking, fetid mess, and they will undoubtedly find multiple conflicts of interest. The RCMP, who are also now looking at WE-gate, will find it difficult not to launch a formal criminal investigation.

It’s all very sad and all very unnecessary.

Some years ago, you see, before they became wealthy and powerful, Marc and Craig Kielburger came to see this writer in his office. They were smart and articulate and passionate kids, back then. They fastened their unblinking eyes on me and said they wanted to stop child labour.

They also, as it turned out, wanted introductions to then-PM Jean Chrétien and some of Chretien’s ministers – to get funding, to get influence.

Even back then, even as teenagers, Craig and Marc were on the hunt for the famous and the powerful. It was off-putting and a bit creepy.

I said I’d try and help them, but I never did. They gave me a couple of their books and left.

What happened to those two boys who came to see me, who wanted to stop child labour? How did their little charity turn into something else entirely, with a massive real estate portfolio, with tentacles reaching schools across Canada, and allegations of racism and abuse of power, and a scandal that will not disappear? How did all that happen?

Entitlements, mostly. The entitled always want their entitlements.

And Marc and Craig Kielburger, even back when they were boys, knew how to get the entitled to do their bidding.

With, you know, entitlements.

65 Comments

  1. Steve T says:

    Bang-on assessment of WE. They have been a corporate-style “charity” for most of their existence. It’s funny how everyone (especially schools) glommed on to WE, and sent children to the WE events like good little soldiers. And these are schools who liked to think they were so progressive and “fighting the system”.
    The same thing is true of Hannah Taylor and her Ladybug Foundation here in Manitoba, and even to some extent with Greta Thunberg. They, and adults who exploit them, take these well-intentioned programs and warp them into a political machine and a business.

  2. the real Sean says:

    Every day Justin that Trudeau stays he is convincing more young Canadians that voting is a sham and trying to make a positive difference in the world is an impossible waste of time.

  3. Yet Another Calgarian says:

    I’m at the stage where I would like full disclosure of the financial ties to China that people pushing business ties over human rights have.

    Bob Rae’s comments in the Globe were my breaking point.

    Starting to think they’re more concerned about Power Corp’s bottom line than the human rights involved.

    Canada is back!

    Back where? is my comment.

  4. joe long says:

    The Liberals announced a program to pay 100,000 students up to $5000 each to ‘volunteer’.

    The program was supposed to cost approximately $920 million, with $19.5 million to go to WE to administer the program.

    100,000 x $5000 = $500 million.

    Who gets the remaining $400 million?

    • Yet Another Calgarian says:

      Siphoned off in 25k chunks by the groups WE would pay to come up with the students I would assume.

      Which given WE’s ties to the JT would just lead to further Liberal friendly favouritism and corruption all the way down the food chain till the students get whats left over.

  5. Ted says:

    Smells like poo. Because assholes are involved.

    But can you honestly see O’Toole or McKay challenging this bunch?

    It makes me sick, again.

    • Chris Sigvaldason says:

      That’s what many Albertans said in about 2010-2012 about Rachel Notley and her tiny rump of a third-party in the Alberta Legislature.

      When people get sick of the eternal governing party it happens very quickly.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Chris,

        Absolutely. This government is already defeated. As usual, conventional wisdom is out to lunch. In lawyer’s parlance, Trudeau is already de facto gone and we’re well on our way for his government to be de jure gone.

  6. Pedant says:

    Has Justin Trudeau ever given his time and effort to a charitable cause for free?

    I would kill to hear a reporter ask him that question.

  7. Gilbert says:

    Where is Brutus, the Liberal who will overthrow Caesar and save the Liberal ship from sinking?

    • the real Sean says:

      He got stopped by the greenlight committee because he had 3 advanced degrees, a legitimate executive level career in public service, multiple civic awards, international experience and a track record of achievement.

    • Chris Sigvaldason says:

      When you rid yourself of the leader in a personality-cult, the whole cult goes down. Plus, all the new 2015 Liberal MPs have not yet qualified for their pensions (not until Sept. 2021, I believe).

    • PJH says:

      Chrystia Freeland, caucus, and the MSM are manning the bilge pumps 24/7….the SS Liberal, while holed, and listing badly……will survive.

      • Walter says:

        I believe you are right – but who are these people who would still consider voting Liberal after the past 5 years of governance.
        Without a doubt the worst and most corrupt government we have ever seen.
        Do that many people really put zero thought into their vote and just vote for the nicest looking leader?

  8. Joseph says:

    Nice long explanation.
    Here’s another, and it’s kind of brief.
    There appears to be two beneficiaries of this arrangement.
    WE organization benefited from the Trudeau family name.
    Trudeau benefited from having a captive audience of young impressionable minds to campaign to.
    Monies where transacted between the two.
    The question is has anything unethical or illegal happened?
    Remember in this country we have due process and innocence is presumed.
    Meaning there was intent or stupidity as the root cause if an unethical and/or illegal act took place.
    Footnote, there are some offences that are deemed strict liability. Not sure what that means exactly but it sounds serious.

    • Douglas W says:

      Next federal election, big Liberal sign on your front lawn?

    • PJH says:

      Joseph….you missed the one vital fact that the “Monies where(sic) transacted between the two” came from the public purse, without benefit of a competitive bidding process, and which could have been administered by a government agency without the WE group getting involved. Mr. Trudeau’s intentions may have been honourable, but the optics of it are terrible. It appears that the whole Trudeau clan and others were allowed to “wet their beak a little”. Fine if you are with the Mob…not so hot if you are PM of Canada.

      • Joseph says:

        No, didn’t miss that, just did not state it.
        My main point was the bit about due process.
        My emotional response would be quite different.

        By the way, what does “strict liability” mean?
        (You can presume that was a rhetorical question)

    • Grant Stephenson says:

      You left out his mother, his brother, his wife, Morneau maybe, Morneau’s daughter and heaven only knows who else….

      • Joseph says:

        Per my response above I didn’t neglect to include them, I purposely didn’t include them.
        The reason isn’t partisan, it was because my initial post was with regard to the principle of due process.
        Take all the emotion out and have another look at the issue, specifically evict the politicians out of your mind for not paying rent. Now if you want justice, there must be enough objective evidence not only to charge a sitting PM but it must withstand a trial where the burden of proof is on the prosecution.
        In my emotional response I could be in a full foaming mouth rage expressing how there is no punishment too severe for what I think is obvious malfeasance.
        I hope this makes the distinction clear.
        I leave it to the site owner to explain how strict liability effects court decisions.

  9. Nick M. says:

    This is an Eastern Canada old boys club.

    As a Torontonian for 30 years; I never understood the resentment out west.

    As a Western Canadian for the last 10 years, it is infuriating that the East doesn’t understand our grievances regarding this Eastern Canada Club.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Nick,

      Well, welcome to the club!

      I’m waiting since 1982 for the English-speaking provinces and territories to create the conditions so Quebec can sign this constitution. If English Canada does as good a job on western grievances as they’ve done on ours, we’ll both see progress right after hell freezes over. Ah, the unmitigated joy of the Canadian federation.

  10. joe long says:

    Bill Curry journalist:
    NDP MP Charlie Angus asked Minister Bardish if she raised conflict concerns with PM Trudeau. “Of course we have tough questions around the cabinet table”, she said. “Yes, these questions were posed.”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/curryb/status/1283850839610859522

    Is this out of a Mario Puzo novel?

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Joe,

      Except they aren’t quite as good at getting this PM to cough up those tough answers. It’s called giving the boss a predictable and expected pass. Grade: 1 on 10. Next.

      Bring on the vote!

  11. Pedant says:

    Now we know that Trudeau wanted to pay WE a $43.5 million fee, more than double the $19 million reported in the media.

    https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/trudeau-government-was-willing-to-pay-we-charity-up-to-43-5m-to-run-student-volunteer-grant-program/wcm/3bdc9690-b10c-402e-b70e-2f8a55a80283/

    Sure starting to look like embezzlement, but I’ll let the legal experts assess whether there are grounds for criminal charges.

  12. Martin says:

    Just watching kool-aid drinking 2015 JT groupie Brenda Shanahan embarrassing herself at the ethics committee.

    • Martin says:

      Ditto the whole bunch of the liberals on that committee.

    • Martin says:

      These Liberals really need to get their stories straight. They are now saying that they should leave this investigation to the Ethics commissioner. Their role is just to oversee him. If that is the case, then why did they vote against calling him to testify about SNC so they could properly carry out their overseer role?

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Martin,

        You see, even a village idiot can eventually shine on a given day. However, those five are still waiting to be promoted to village idiots and to no one’s surprise, it really shows.

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Poor PM. There goes the likely black-ops master plan to poison-pill the Commons in September-October and then nail the opposition’s hide for bringing down the government. I imagine WE is, to say the very least, a rather unwelcome twist of fate. Better luck next time.

    • PJH says:

      Yep….the election, timed to be held just before the soporific effects of the soon to be ending CERB payments had worn off, will now be delayed. Due to WESCAM, a massive Liberal majority has been averted, thankfully.
      Now it remains to be seen (if the Cons pick the right leader, and run a much better campaign than last time), if the Dauphin can be removed.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        PJH,

        I’ll keep this advice for my party generic hoping that it better sinks in: once the leader is in place, we will unify and support him or her. But what will be absolutely crucial to win big is for the leader to grab the best of the best in the way of deep thinkers, strategists and organizers coming from the other teams and giving every one of them a job in the leader’s office.

        And by the by, anyone on your team who helped the leader win who gives the opposite advice or makes moves to counter what I’ve proposed will have to be summarily fired to send the right message to the rest of the team. Unify with the best of the best in place and you can’t help but win.

        And offer the guy or gal who came in second their choice of critic’s position with the understaning that he or she will become minister, if we win.

        • Walter says:

          Regardless of who wins the Conservative Leadership, the media will quickly discover that Trudeau, in their eyes, is an order of magnitude better and needs to be praised to high heavens.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Walter,

            Sure but there comes a time when voters have finally had more than enough. It was bad when it was Margaret and Alexandre. It’s beyond salvation after Sophie entered the mix.

            Ask yourself who leaked WE to the press? If people think for a moment they might come up with the not so surprising answer. (I don’t plan on getting sued over this one.)

      • Douglas W says:

        A fall election, only if the Opposition decides to bring down the Government.
        Doubtful, that JT will pull the plug, now. (Equivalent of The Charge of the Light Brigade.)

        Opposition would be better to wait until next Spring when it can continue to inflict countless wounds.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Douglas,

          I’m agnostic on when it’s best to be strategic and pull the plug. But in CPC terms, you absolutely need these twin conditions to win big: Liberal numbers that are close to unrecoverable AND a wink and a nod from the public that most of them are not resolutely opposed to an election largely precipated by the CPC. Otherwise, we play right into Liberal hands and that puts a huge smile on Gerry’s face. I don’t want to give him that type of golden opportunity because he’ll sink us for sure if we don’t act super strategically.

          • Douglas W says:

            Your last few words are key: “act super strategically”.
            Strategic thinking went out the door in the 2019 election.
            Abysmal.

            Whether it’s Lewis, O’Toole or (most likely) MacKay, their backroom thinking has to be at least equal to Butts and Telford.

            For now, advantage Liberals.
            Four more years.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Douglas,

            Broadhurst is the only Liberal strategist that has a primarily positive track record. Telford and Butts offered advice during the period going from a majority to a minority. Telford is still there offering the same type of quality advice.

            Broadhurst saved this Prime Minister’s bacon. But for him the Trudeau Liberals would already be long gone. Too bad Broadhurst isn’t on our team.

  14. PK says:

    Would it have taken longer to deliver funds through the civil service? I have no idea, just wondering if anybody has an informed opinion –

  15. Martin says:

    JT taking a personal day today and not facing the House. Gutless.

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