, 02.28.2023 12:26 PM

My latest: Justin’s China crisis

Everything he has done — everything he has said — has been wrong. Everything.

Justin Trudeau’s response to his burgeoning China crisis, that is.

Criminal interference by the Chinese regime in multiple Canadian elections. A million dollars pumped into Trudeau family interests by China – including thousands for the Trudeau Foundation, and even $50,000 to fund a statue of Pierre Trudeau. Chinese-Canadian seniors being bussed to Liberal nomination meetings to vote for candidates friendly to the People’s Republic — with the name of the chosen Grit candidates inked on their arms.

These are just a few of the deeply troubling revelations that have been oozing out of the Liberal-China scandal in recent days. It’s a fetid, putrid stew — one that the Globe and Mail, Global News and Postmedia have pursued for weeks.

The media have been aided by a flood of leaks, some allegedly coming from intelligence services within and outside this country. It’s happening because the intelligence community is clearly appalled by the degree to which the Chinese regime has wrapped its tentacles around the Trudeau Liberals — and by the truly Nixonian denials being bleated daily by Trudeau and his desperate-sounding cabal.

I’ve taught crisis communications to young lawyers and journalists for years. Here’s just a few of the things Trudeau had gotten wrong.

Don’t deny, deny. With every new development in the China scandal, Trudeau and his ilk have issued denial after denial, to no effect. The story just keeps unspooling in the media. Trudeau needs to recall the lessons of the SNC-Lavalin scandal: Namely, that denials never work if there isn’t a compelling counter-narrative — and if the denials are lies.

Trudeau lost all credibility in the SNC scandal: Despite his attacks on the media, despite his smearing of Jody Wilson-Raybould, the truth came out. And the truth, I like to say, is like water: It always finds a way out.

Take responsibility: Justin Trudeau, as is well-known, loves to offer up dewy-eyed apologies for the misconduct and misdeeds of others — but never himself. Most often, Trudeau only fesses up when there is absolutely no escape route left to him — and even then, he will usually engage in lots of whattaboutism: Saying, in effect, he had made a mistake, but that his political opponents make more and bigger mistakes.

That approach only works with die-hard TruAnon types. Most voters want their leaders to swiftly take responsibility for their mistakes – and they tend to be very forgiving thereafter, too. Unless the mistake has happened too many times, that is.

Do it early. Don’t wait! Keeping silent, and waiting for the story to fade from the headlines, simply doesn’t work — in the Google era, scandals now live forever online.

Instead, Trudeau needed to move swiftly to clean up the China mess, but he didn’t. When the first election interference story broke months ago, Trudeau had an opportunity to take responsibility and make some long-overdue changes, but he didn’t do that, either.

He let the story fester, and now it’s infected — and the infection is getting worse daily.

Words aren’t enough! As noted above, it’s no longer good enough to make an act of contrition. An apology isn’t good enough.

In the post-Watergate era, voters have seen too many scandals too many times. And, after the issuance of an apology in both official languages, they are no longer content to let a politician off the hook. They want to see action, not just words.

Here, Trudeau could have created a foreign agent registry, as Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called for — so we can know which foreign powers are trying to persuade Canadian governments. He could have toughened up the Criminal Code, and election laws, to mete out tougher penalties for abuse. He could have worked with other Western allies — who have also been the targets of Chinese wrongdoing — to develop a multi-nation response.

He’s done none of those things.

Instead, all that Trudeau is doing is deny, deny, deny — and refuse to take even a modicum of responsibility for what is metastasizing into a real threat to his government’s survival. It’s not working. Because the China crisis?

It isn’t going away.


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    Derek Pearce says:

    I don’t see how he possibly gets out of this unscathed. Even if he does a 180 and implements a foreign agent registry, he’s toast. Surely the party will push him out in a (probably futile) attempt to electorally salvage something?

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      Sean says:

      Salvaging the Liberal Party’s dignity needs to come before salvaging anything electorally…. and it begins with a full blown caucus revolt. Before that happens, nothing else matters.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        If Jesus was in their caucus and urged a revolt, they would look the other way.

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        Ron Benn says:

        Whether the Liberal caucus is rebellious is a question worth examining. What is clear is that they are revolting.

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    Max says:

    I’m beginning to think the GTA Liberal voters are Canada’s cultish version of the red state ultra MAGA crowd. What will it take to bounce this clown?

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      Martin Dixon says:

      I have been saying that for years. It is PRECISELY the same thing. Actually it is worse. They are keeping him office in to protect this:


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      WestGuy says:

      There’s a term I’m hearing one in a while that describes what you’re talking about.
      The US had QAnon for Trump
      Canada has TruAnon for Trudeau

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    Martin Dixon says:

    Someone said on this site that once he loses the media, they would pile on. And he would be done like dinner. I thought that blackface would finish him off(among other things). Clearly premature. Will this be enough? And is JT leaving the scene a good or bad result for the Tories? Certainly good for the Liberals.

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    western view says:

    Excellent article and excellent advice, not the the Liberals will pay any heed to it.

    This Chinese meddling in elections story is a great “teachable moment” (as someone likes to say) for a political science class about how a government loses sight of the national interest, which in this case is fair elections with no outside money or influence peddling. Based on the allegations, it seems that Trudeau and his Liberal Party have skated toward some pretty thin ice for partisan gain instead of minding their responsibilities as custodians of the national interest.

    There is no use plotting another Inquiry to sift through the manure. If Jagmeet Singh can look past free dental and pharmacare to remember his obligations to the national interest, let’s pull the plug and have an election.

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    Curious V says:

    He should have created a foreign agent registry. I’m sure the Chinese aren’t alone; like a contributor to the Kinsella Cast noted, there are a lot of countries meddling in elections, and probably meddling to sway elections in all directions – to both the Conservatives and Liberals.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Curious V,

      Why would they create a foreign agent registry? That would be counterintuitive. We’re talking Titanic iceberg here: one twentieth above the waterline (election interference) and the rest unseen below the water (“contributions”, “donations”, “fees” for services rendered.) You know, all the good stuff. Their way of doing government business all the way back to 2015.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    It’s my understanding that our intelligence agencies are not leaking directly. They are using a conduit of sympathetic and/or appalled Trudeau Liberals.

    Yup, it’s going to make SNC look like a mole hill. No one deserves it better than this Prime Minister. A very fitting political end indeed.

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      Douglas W says:

      Thank goodness for CSIS.


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    Gilbert says:

    The PM refuses to deal with the problem. If the interference had helped the Conservatives, he wouldn’t be so passive. The scandal is probably not going away.

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    Martin Dixon says:

    The CBC declared on P and P and in print that there is nothing to see here. Let’s all move along.


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      Doug says:

      “Move along, nothing to see here” worked great during the Chretien years. What was unique to that era or that PMO?

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    Sean says:

    On the next episode of The Curse of Oak Island, Justin’s credibility will be discovered at the bottom of the Money Pit.

    In the final, concluding volume of Game of Thrones, Justin will learn to behave like an adult.

    In the next issue of Weekly World News, an eccentric Canadian personality cult will return to it’s roots as a normal main stream political party…. after the fake leader finally stops wasting everyone’s time and packs it in.

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    Phil in London back after a long hiatus to say hi says:

    I am sorry, I fail to see how any scandal has or will harm this government. The lot of you including the author have been bit actors in this movie many times.

    Trudeau was a crooked terrible evil son of a bitch who threw women and minorities under the bus, dressed in racist black face, lied, even conspired with others to absolve SNC

    Than Andrew Scheer misrepresented some employment history, or Erin O’Toole blundered (once) on guns and the outrage expressed HERE and with many who were previously “tired” of Liberal sense of entitlement turned on a dime.

    Abortion, big bad guns, evil health care secret agendas will allow you all to forget Trudeau lapses and kill campaigns for any who might be close to defeating him.

    It’s all such an act. Conservative minor blunders will be vilified and this crowd so outraged will forget the spawn of Castro ever did anything wrong. Great campaigner my ass, if y’all really are upset about this than commit to burying the son of a bitch.

    I guarantee that once the next election campaign kicks off there will be a moment when the righteous indignation scales will lose balance. The Conservative Party will fray mid campaign because too many will forget the enemy is the dickhead who a few years ago openly stated his admiration for China’s dictatorship.

    Spare me the outrage – I was offended long ago. Tonight I was talking to a newer acquaintance who confessed no love for Trudeau. I replied that I rarely meet anyone who does love him. We both sighed when we realized that he will win again.

    It simply doesn’t freakin’ matter what comes out. A liberal minority will result and that is simply a liberal majority once Jagmeet admits he’ll have to make his concession speech.

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      Martin Dixon says:

      Has the London area ever voted Tory? It has run some pretty good candidates but the area is owned and operated by the MUSH sector. Best you can hope for there is that they just keep voting NDP?

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        Phil in London says:

        So a question – if I was Phil in Calgary does that somehow change the way one views my commentary?

        The mush is the problem, many city dwellers in many cities perpetuate the fetid stew that flips NDP (liberal) to punish Liberals.

        It is exactly what i am saying – people hold conservatives to a much different standard, they actually look for reasons to jump off the bandwagon while they hold their nose and vote for the liars party.

        An electoral map could help you see a big blue ring around London (i.e. London area).

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          Martin Dixon says:

          No it would not change my view. I was just asking the question. I am well aware of the blue all around London. I am in Brantford which used to be primarily red or NDP at all three levels for decades until 2008 and now all three levels have flipped. But we sure don’t take it for granted. The University sector has increased a lot since then and lots of people moving west to get away from the big cities because prices were softer. We have a rural/urban divide here too. I think we may have lost some of the County in the latest restructuring but I haven’t kept track of that lately.

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    Peter Williams says:

    Justin, who has an ego bigger than Trump, is not going away. His strategy of lying (like Trump) has worked well for him in the past. He’ll wait this one out.

    Soon the media will other stories.

    Justin is 51. Once out of office what other job could he get?
    Acting? Shoe polish salesperson?

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      Martin Dixon says:

      It’s a problem so you may be right. He has no skills that he can utilize in the real world. Serious people will normally finish out their days as counsel at a law firm. Think PET, Mulroney, Chretien, Kenney, etc. Any law firm that would allow him to land on his feet after he is out would be basically a laughingstock.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    There’s no cure known to humankind for TRUDEAULiberal EntitlementSyndromeTM.

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    RKJ says:

    This government has a history of getting away with serious incidents. I am sceptical this situation will be any different. Sadly.

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    Dave says:

    Meh, most Liberal media will dance with this long enough to be able to say “look we are not biased” then put baby to sleep for daddy. Am I wrong? Lets wait and see……maybe I am. (fingers crossed)

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    Glen says:

    My prediction – Trudeau will skate, yet again.

    Rest assured Gerry Butts is in serious convo’s with Katie Telford about getting Trudeau to call an inquiry, re Butts suggestion one is needed.

    But it will be a broad based inquiry looking not just at interference from the CCP, which of course will let the Chinese aspect of it get buried in details, and, eventually, be forgotten about.

    And the most vacuous dimwit to ever sit in the countries top position, will remain at the top.

    Mark my words.

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    Curious V says:

    I really hope any future inquiry deals with the breadth of interference, rather than being specific to China. I understand they’re a bad player, but if focus is specific to China I’m afraid good Chinese Canadians will suffer more racism in their everyday lives – it’s too bad they politicize something as serious as this. I’ve dealt with the locals and teachers being suspicious of your family for having immigrant roots, and I would hate to see any good citizens or new Canadians suffer for the actions of a tyrannical regime. It’s a serious issue, but the nativist element in our country will spin this to target immigrants.

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    Douglas W says:

    Of course, it’s going away.

    MMS is running interference and … Toronto & Montreal doesn’t care.

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      The Doctor says:

      I don’t know if that’s accurate. Two media organizations that right-wing partisans frequently accuse of pro-Liberal bias have been giving this story extensive play: the CBC and the Globe & Mail. The Globe basically broke the story, especially Bob Fife. I had CBC News Channel on this morning, and they were carrying the Parliamentary hearing on this live for an extended period of time. How is that “running interference”? Please explain.

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        Martin Dixon says:

        Although they do keep reminding everyone at every opportunity that the “overall” election was not impacted. I am not sure how that makes Kenny Chiu feel better. We will see how they behave when push comes to shove. I am not optimistic.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Even the CBC sees the writing on the wall, so they’ve opted for Ehrlichman’s modified limited hang out in hopes of saving full funding and taking privitization off the table. It’s The Mother Corp’s too clever by half bullshit. Conservatives aren’t buying it.

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    EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    Apparently it isn’t that much different south of the border…

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      Martin Dixon says:

      Which means we can’t say the obvious here I assume. As someone who has been in the political fundraising game since 2005 with some decent success(haven’t looked in a while but our federal EDA was one of the top 30 or so riding associations in the country a few years ago of any party after starting out with 2k in the bank-pretty tough to compete with some of the EDAs out west though), getting the max from anyone was always a huge deal. And we always did it legally!


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