, 03.22.2022 09:14 AM

My latest: the Axis of Weasels

The problem with backroom deals is that they don’t stay in the backroom. They leak out.

Also, they don’t just look secretive, they look sneaky. And, because they are done behind closed doors with just a chosen few, they look wildly undemocratic, too.

The Liberal-NDP deal to keep Justin Trudeau in power until 2025 is all of that: Sneaky, undemocratic and, now, public. It transforms Justin Trudeau, minority prime minister, into Justin Trudeau, majority prime minister.

Which isn’t what most Canadians wanted, back in October. But it’s now what they’ll get.

CBC’s Ottawa bureau broke the news, naturally. That PMO-CBC oozy coziness notwithstanding, a Grit-Dipper government is upon the land. An Axis of Weasels, essentially.

Forget about NDP “Leader” Jagmeet Singh, because he is now, officially and deservedly, forgettable. He has folded the once-proud party of Jack Layton and Ed Broadbent into the welcoming arms of the PMO, and his NDP accordingly no longer exists. As in all mergers and acquisitions, it will be followed by plenty of layoffs — of New Democrats. But that will come later.

For now, us mere mortals — you know, the ones who previously thought we were the bosses in this erstwhile democracy — are left to contemplate motive. Which is what everyone does when confronted with a crime scene. Since we know whodunnit, in this undemocratic crime, we are left to ask: Why did they?

This writer counts four possibilities. Here they are.

One, the Liberals are worried about who the next Conservative leader will be. If it were to be Pierre Poilievre, the backroom deal-making wouldn’t have been necessary: Internal Liberal polling apparently shows that the Ottawa-area MP, if victorious, will guarantee continued Liberal hegemony.

Jean Charest, on the other hand, is the Tory leadership contender most likely to hand Trudeau a pink slip. But — even so — methinks the dirty deal wasn’t done for that reason.

Two, they’re having some fun. Former Brian Mulroney chief of staff Norman Spector once told me that the only fun PMO staff have, really, is planning their next international junket — and leaking stories about cabinet shuffles and deal-making. So, there’s that possibility – someone in PMO is making mischief.

But that, too, is unlikely. The Axis of Weasels Deal, which makes the Meech Lake Accord look like a paragon of democracy, is causing big waves already.

Three — and this is more likely than the first two possibilities – Messrs. Trudeau and Singh are planning something really, really big, policy-wise. It may not be nationalizing banks or pharmaceutical companies, but one can be reasonably certain that it will be Big Leftie — dental care, more pharmacare, more everything-care. Cradle-to-grave stuff, print more money, etc.

As evidenced by the near-total absence of Turner-Chretien-Martin-Dion Liberals in his circle, Trudeau long ago ceased to be a real Liberal. So a big and dramatic policy move, lurching far left, is likelier.

Four, and this motive is the most likely: Justin Trudeau is leaving, or wants to. Given his performance in the last federal election (where he phoned it in), and given his recent Instagram-sponsored junkets around the globe (wherein he could just use the phone instead), Trudeau looks decidedly disinterested in the job. Unhappy, too — which is what most Canadians are feeling about him: Unhappy.

An Axis of Weasels dirty deal gives Trudeau lots of runway to cobble together some sort of a legacy achievement, which is necessary in his case: His only legacy, to date, is the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Aga Khan scandal, and the WE scandal. And lots of missteps and malapropisms that caused us peoplekind to wince.

So, he needs a big legacy thing. And, along the way, it would buy his successor — whomever she may be — sufficient time to clean out the muck in the PMO Augean stables. New leader, new team, new plan, blah blah blah. The usual.

Anyway, whatever the motive — and whatever the consequences — a Liberal-NDP deal is what we’ve got. Justin Trudeau for years and years to come, folks.

Dunno about you, but I need a shower.

— Warren Kinsella ran the Liberal Party’s war rooms in 1993 and 2000.


  1. Pipes says:

    In quantum politics, two megalomaniacs can not exist in the same space at the same time. Let’s see what happens.

  2. Edward says:

    Anything that keeps the Cons away from power is good for the people of Canada.

  3. Miles Lunn says:

    I think largely true, but I also think after Erin O’Toole dumped and freedumb convoy, there was a real fear of Poilievre and while as mentioned chances of him winning seem low, people said same about Trump so I think parties didn’t want to take any chances. Bring in some new program and knowing a Conservative party led by Poilievre will oppose it and knowing taking away free stuff always unpopular, they probably figured best way to prevent it.

    Problem is while universal dental care and pharmacare sound like great ideas, where is the money coming from? The 3% surtax on banks won’t come close to covering cost. Reality is these are deficit financed and that might work in the short term but eventually we have to pay up. And since corporations can easily pack up and move elsewhere, we don’t have enough rich even if we taxed them at 100% (assuming they wouldn’t leave if too high) to cover, it means one thing long term. Your taxes are going to go up. But since any tax hike on middle class is political suicide, that will be some future PM’s problem who will either have to axe programs or raise taxes on middle class, both which will likely lead to end of his or her political career.

    My hope is the provinces say no to this and instead work with feds to expand already existing programs to help low income and those without coverage. Most provinces have programs in place for those who cannot afford dental and prescription drugs. Granted many still slip through cracks, so why not work in expanding those to cover those who don’t have coverage rather than kicking a bunch off private plans and having universal coverage. Many of us who have employee coverage worry if these two dropped, we lose all other coverage for other things like eye care, physio, private room/semi-private in hospital, ambulance, travel. A lot of companies may just stop providing coverage. So by all means expand to those without coverage, but those who have it should stick with current plans.

    • Pedant says:

      Focusing on income thresholds rather than wealth means that retired Boomers living in $10 million homes get free dental while a middle class family earning $95k gets nothing. Sound fair to you?

      Are the Liberals and NDP trying to force every last productive person out of the country?

    • Steve T says:

      “Where is the money coming from?”
      An excellent question, and one the Dippers either (a) never want to answer or (b) wave generically towards the “rich” – which means whatever group they want to villainize at that moment.

      • Douglas W says:

        NDP stalwarts:
        Alexandre Boulerice
        Rachel Blaney
        Peter Julian
        Charlie Angus
        Brian Masse
        Carol Hughes

        These six individuals, super smart. Caring. High integrity.

        And they’re okay with this sellout?

        • Pedant says:

          Charlie Angus’s seat is all but certain to fall to the Conservatives next election regardless. He surely knows this, so I doubt he cares much about this deal. End of the road for the NDP and its (former) strongholds in northern Ontario and northern BC.

      • The Doctor says:

        The other thing that really irritates me is how they selectively demonize certain businesses. Financial institution? Evil! Big Box Store? Evil! It’s so brainless.

      • Steve,

        It’s not that they don’t want to answer (a). In fact, it’s because they have absolutely no idea what the answer is.

        • Miles Lunn says:

          Saying tax the rich or corporations more appeals to people who are economically illiterate but even Singh and Trudeau likely know it won’t raise near enough revenue and only tax hikes that can is hiking bottom rate or GST hike and both are political suicide. But with strong growth thanks to high oil prices, our massive credit downgrades probably comes after Liberals are defeated and it will be some future governments problem to figure out. Its basically like going out to a party and getting drunk. Feels great, but morning hangover awful and whenever reckoning comes it won’t be pleasant. It will be 1995 all over again.

          • The Doctor says:

            I totally agree – next Tory government will be left to clean up the mess, just like Mulroney’s government after Trudeau Senior’s decade and a half spending binge (with a big assist from David Lewis’s NDP). And Liberals and Dippers will whine about what heartless ogres the Tories are for trying to cut spending. Etc

  4. Douglas W says:

    Can’t see this partnership lasting more than a year: tops.

    Secondly, no seats at the cabinet table for the NDP?

    Clearly, they can’t negotiate.

    • Douglas,


      Jagmeet has proven himself relentlessly that he can’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. How his membership must be positively cringing.

    • Pedant says:

      In 2025 Singh will qualify for the MP pension. With an early election off the table, no risk of losing that golden parachute.

      So I disagree with you. He negotiated splendidly in his own personal interests by handing unfettered power to someone who earned 33% of the vote.

  5. EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    This is probably good for the CPC, in that it will allow the next leader a few years to consolidate the party and prepare for the election. However, I am dubious that the “coalition of the feeble” will actually last that long. I suspect the Liberals will rinse the NDP and dump them for a snap election in a couple of years. With Mr. Singh acting as cabin-boy for Captain Trudeau, the NDP will lose even more support. As I write this, I am thinking that maybe that is the end game for the Liberals; if the NDP fold, then the Libs will get those votes.

  6. R. Marut says:

    The Trudeau-Singh Mutual Non-Aggression Pact is a giant nothingburger.
    I was expecting El Guapo’s next stunt to be a direct assault on Election Canada’s integrity, and that may be yet to come. But this supposed blockbuster is just confirmation of the status quo.
    But that’s what is so great about it. For now-confirmed small potatoes Singh, it’s a lose-lose-lose-lose gambit. Gave away the store for a blank page torn from Neville Chamberlain’s notebook. Pissed away his manhood for — wait for it — promises from one Justin H. Trudeau, esq.*
    To wonder if the Few Democrats’ rank-and-file are delighted. Nope.

    *Same middle initial as Jesus Christ, but stands for something different.

  7. Peter Williams says:

    Mr Trudeau has played Mr Singh. The NDP gets Trudeau’s promise to make ‘progress’ on a list of issues.

    Will Trudeau deliver? In three years Trudeau will announce lots of progress has been made; studies, reports, Parliamentary committee work, etc. But nothing will have actually been delivered.

    But if I am wrong, and somethings on the list get implemented, who gets the credit? Mr Singh? Hardly.

    But Mr Trudeau gets effective control of committees. The Liberal-NDP alliance will shut down any adverse criticism of the Trudeau government.

    • Pedant says:

      The Liberal-NDP stranglehold on committees gives the Liberals an unimpeded pathway to pursue my corruption they wish.

      And outside Parliament, the censorship bills C11 and C36 will criminalize dissent and investigative reporting surrounding government actions.

      So to sum up:
      – a party with 33% of the vote have rendered the opposition powerless; Parliamentary procedure is now pointless, might as well close the House for the next 3 years
      – that same party will pass legislation to threaten critics with fines, prison time, and frozen bank accounts

      What I’m wondering is what the Liberals will do to erect barriers to emigration. There are many Canadians now looking to leave, a trend that will intensify. Those leaving are overwhelmingly younger, educated, and in high-tax income brackets. The Liberals are likely to go full Cuba and prevent people from leaving or make the process as painful as possible.

      • Peter Williams says:

        The NDP will help Trudeau pass C11 and C36 figuring that they will only be used to crush conservative dissent. Should the Liberals win a real majority, the NDP and big labour will be shocked to find the Liberals applying that legislation to them too.

  8. Bob Smith says:

    You forgot the Trucker scandal, using the emergency act for no reason, and insulting the truckers with his school boy remarks. This guy is an embarrassment to the country, and needs to leave not now but right now

    • Derek Pearce says:

      You obviously support the truckers– the majority of Canadians don’t and are quite happy to see them called every name in the book for what they did and what they stand for.

      • Pedant says:

        Yes it’s around 60-35 in favour of authoritarianism (with 5% “don’t know”).

        I bet in the US South in the 1950s, polls showed similar results in favour of segregation, and the segregationists certainly hurled names at the integrationist minority.

        It’s always fun when progressives claim “majority rules” to remove rights or dignity from others. Completely ignorant of history.

    • - says:

      Members of the European Parliament sure aren’t forgetting any of it.


      • The Doctor says:

        The parliamentarian from Croatia is a total anti-vax kook. Believe me, I’m no fan of JT but context is everything.

        It’s a pretty safe rule (and this applies to both right wing and left wing) that when foreigners pop off about Canada, most of the time they have no idea what they’re talking about.

  9. Edward says:

    33% for the Liberals, 22% for the NDP and 28% for the Cons, it’s obvious a majority of Canadians prefer the progressive option over the regressive one. The Cons are probably on the wrong side of history.

    • R. Marut says:

      Massive inflation/tax hikes just around the corner, followed by deep recession. The scrap between the Lieberals and the Screwed Democrats to apportion blame will be most satisfactorily chucklesome. Ditto the screams from the leftie true believers when Singh has to rent a Zamboni to scrape the egg off his face. I’m getting extra topping with my popcorn for that one.
      He gone.

  10. The Doctor says:

    It’s 1972 all over again, which is the last time the Liberals (led by JT’s dad) and the NDP did this. And two things about 1972-74:

    1. It was absolutely and demonstrably the TSN Turning Point that steered Canada into the fiscal toilet, thanks to out of control spending. We didn’t dig ourselves out of that fiscal outhouse until Paul Martin’s austerity program two decades later.

    2. It did not end well for the NDP in 1974 when an election was finally called.

    • The Doctor says:

      That presumes that everyone who votes for or supports the Liberals is “progressive”. The Liberals are a rather big tent.

      Adding all the voters up from two parties and claiming they all stand for something is, IMO, very simplistic.

      I remember the 1993 federal election when droves of NDP voters switched their votes to Reform. Your reasoning above would not contemplate such a thing.

      Also, the droves of Obama voters who switched their votes to Trump.

      I could just as easily use your reasoning to say the overwhelming majority of Canadian voters think the NDP sucks balls.

      • The Doctor says:

        (responding to Edward there)

      • Edward says:

        Your argument actually carried a bit of water until the NDP sucks balls hyperbole. With a total stiff like Pierre P. who probably parts his pubic hair it’s more likely the CPC who sucks balls. You did point out quite correctly that Paul Martin, a Liberal did bring down the deficit. But do deficits really matter? Historically the economies of Canada and the US have done better under Liberal/Democratic governments.

        • The Doctor says:

          Ok so deficits don’t matter. Got it. So when Paul Martin was Finance Minister, I guess you think he shouldn’t have cut a penny in spending and should have actually increased spending?

        • Edward,

          Oh Christ, now you’ve done it. There goes the evening tea all over the desk. LOL. LOL. LOL.

  11. Derek Pearce says:

    At this particular column I’m rolling my eyes WK. Canadians have experience with parties cooperating in minority parliaments, both provincially and federally. While you’ve certainly thrown some red meat to your base of Sun readers here, most voters will not feel this is either sneaky or undemocratic.

    • Pedant says:

      It’s an allowable arrangement under the Westminster parliamentary system. But it is appalling to hand unlimited power to someone who earned 33% of the vote, for very little in return.

      The first order of business will certainly be to fast-track the two CCP-inspired censorship bills (C11 and C36) to criminalize dissent.

      • Edward says:

        33% of the votes, but a majority of seats. CPC’s higher percentage is because they win 80% of the vote in rural Alberta and Saskatchewan, so the Liberal vote is actually more representative of Canada. Anyway, that’s the system we use and it won’t change until a representative system is introduced. Did the Liberals propose to introduce such as system and not do so? Yes, that’s true but I would still vote Liberal simply because they aren’t Conservatives.

        • Pedant says:

          You never looked at the numbers did you? The CPC also won BC and were 4 points off the Liberals in Ontario.

          But I accept that the Liberals won fair and square under Canada’s quasi-gerrymandered federation where Alberta gets 34 seats for 4.4 million people while Atlantic Canada gets 32 seats for 2.3 million people.

          But the Liberals won a MINORITY. A minority, Edward, not a majority. This means that the will of the people would be served by not giving this government absolute power. But that’s exactly what the NDP has done.

          And now we wait for the censorship bills to pass, conservatives sent to prison for expressing their opinions, and later on, hefty emigration fees for anyone who dares to flee the country for more freedom elsewhere.

          • Pedant,

            This genius first minister wants to open up la constitution to allow for minimum seats for each province and territory. (C-14) That’s where the West gets its revenge: sure, they enthusiastically agree but with seat distribution ONLY as per rep by pop. Translation: the CPC ends up potentially in power for the next decade OR the West tells the first bumbler to simply piss off.

    • Derek,

      Let’s reverse it for a minute: if this minority Parliament is already so hunky dory with the NDP and BQ as reliable partners, then what exactly is the need for this?

      • Derek Pearce says:

        I don’t know a lot about the arcane formal procedural workings of the HoC but I assume this agreement makes it easier for the whips of both parties to co-ordinate and streamlines the work of committees.
        Also, the Bloc looks out for the Bloc, there’s a reason it wasn’t invited to be part of this. (Incidentally Ive always thought that had Dion pulled off that coalition to oust Harper back in the day it would’ve quickly fallen apart due the Bloc getting upset about something or other…)

  12. Gilbert says:

    Mr. Singh should join the Liberals.

  13. R. Marut says:

    None has yet discerned how this ménage à scumbags may impact the nation’s gracious First Lady. The Gatineau Hills are lovely indeed, but everyone needs an occasional change of scenery, especially when WE stage appearances and front cover photoshoots for piffle mags no longer bloat a thinning social calendar.
    So will the prospect of several more lonely years supervising the yungins at Le Gilded Palace de Harrington begin to chafe, even given the presumed regular and generous frivolities allowance doled out by the House of Castreau? While just across the way His Narcissist Nibs limos in the latest available talent for another weekend of… Um, cross-country skiing… Um, yeah, that’s it… just like stepdad used to do? Um?
    As soon as the school year ends. Soph gets a deal, and of course He Who Says Um will insist on radio silence. Juicy details to leak in due course.

  14. Here’s my strategic prediction: this alliance is to clear the decks for Freeland. Trudeau wants to exit stage right, as quickly as possible, but he doesn’t want to leave Freeland in a parliamentary lurch. So, Trudeau departs and Chrystia governs with a faux majority until the end of Trudeau’s mandate.

    Either this prediction is a rare moment of strategic genius or it amounts to a pile of shit. Stay tuned!

    • R. Marut says:

      Good take with no hint of feculent vapours.
      Ogruf. Freiland is de facto PM anyway. Has been so since when He Who Says Um lost the majority first time ’round. The calls came flooding in from Westmount, Rockliffe and York Mills insisting that Mr. Narci Manchild hand over all the heavy lifting to Ilsa the She-Wolf of the Cabinet, lest the rapacious Laurentian Junkers for whom he is frontboy really lower the boom for imperiling Their Precious Interests.
      Looking forward to much-o Schadenfreude when Kanzler von Kastro gets kancelled. Would be even more fun if Fraulein Kristia accelerated her Putsch and orchestrated Werner von Bonehead’s exit pronto. Of course for that she would have to grow a pair.
      Then again, given her family history, just one would be enough.

  15. I haven’t been inclined to cut Freeland much slack post SNC but I’m doing the opposite now what with quite a few of her family members still in Ukraine. I wouldn’t wish what Chrystia is obviously going through even on my worst enemy.

    • R. Marut says:

      And she willingly continues as No. 2 for a scumbag who wets himself whenever he thinks of regimes like Cuba’s that have murdered innocents by the tens of thousands. I’ll be thinking of those people’s families, not hers. Fuck her.

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