Almost-end-of-summer, long weekend political bits and pieces:
That’s what you will hear if you are waiting for a public inquiry into Chinese interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal general elections. Crickets.
Towards the end of the last Parliamentary session, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau famously dangled the prospect of actually having such an inquiry. Back then, it looked like he had no choice.
His chosen “rapporteur” David Johnson — he who helped lead the Trudeau Foundation, that itself received boodle from the Chinese regime — had quit.
And an overwhelming number of Canadians — including more than 70% of self-described Liberal voters — wanted an inquiry into well-documented allegations that the Chinese had attempted to gut our democracy.
All of the opposition parties wanted an inquiry, too. But they, and we, all made a big mistake: we trusted Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau sent out his Maytag repairman, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, to rag the puck. LeBlanc did.
So, here we all are in September, with no public inquiry in sight. Just the unmistakable sound of crickets, reminding us that nothing has happened.
Oh, wait. Something has happened. A U.S. congressional committee — that is, a legislative committee found in another country — has invited one of the victims of Chinese political meddling, Canadian MP and former cabinet minister Michael Chong, to testify.
Before them. In America.
Get that? The Americans are calling Canadian witnesses to investigate Chinese interference in democracy.
Look, Tasha Kheiriddin is a nice person.
She’s been a Conservative, and is a conservative, but I don’t hold that against her. She is smart, and perceptive, and a great writer. In fact, she is a writer who is a colleague: she writes about politics for The National Post, which shares an owner with the Toronto Sun.
A few weeks ago, Tasha sought media credentials to attend the upcoming Conservative Party convention in Quebec City. A party functionary wrote back: no.
She got her bosses at The National Post, no Trotskyite leaflet, involved. They also stressed that they wanted Tasha at the convention.
Her conservative credentials are pretty impeccable. She cochaired the Tory leadership campaign of Jean Charest and she has written books about being a conservative.
Even after the intervention by her editors at The National Post, the answer came back: no. Podcasters were allowed, assholes at Rebel “Media” were welcome. But not Tasha Kheiriddin, longtime conservative operative.
Says she: “I was disappointed with the Conservative Party’s decision to deny my media accreditation. Ironically, the only places where I am not welcome as a journalist are Russia, where I was banned last year, and the Conservative Convention, where I am persona non grata this year.”
She notes that representatives of other political parties are also being barred: “This kind of hostility is not only petty but feeds the polarization people deplore in today’s politics. It’s also a great example of gatekeeping — which I thought the party opposed.”
All of this reminds us, once again, of the famous words of my colleague Brian Lilley: “Politics is about addition, not subtraction.”
Meaning: You should always be trying to keep good people, not drive them away.
A final note on the polls.
All of them, pretty much, are now showing Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives far ahead of the governing Liberals. For instance, late last week, the pollster with the best record for accuracy federally, Leger, also confirmed the Tories are ahead of the Grits by nearly ten points.
That’s a majority government, folks. That’s lights out for Justin Trudeau’s team.
The horserace numbers probably don’t mean a whole lot, however. What is more meaningful is the reason why. Why is Pierre so far ahead, and Justin so far behind?
Trudeau’s tendency to overpromise and under-deliver is part of it. His fondness for Nanny State “woke” stuff, too. Serial scandals, the housing crisis, soaring inflation, and the total absence of a policy agenda haven’t helped, either.
But the main reason why Trudeau is losing so definitively to someone he clearly considers to be beneath him is this: we have grown sick of his face. He’s been Liberal leader for more than a decade, and he’s reached his best-before date.
In politics, the best you can hope for is eight years at the top. After that, voters are generally coming after you with nooses and pitchforks.
If Justin Trudeau wants to prevent the election disaster that is looming ahead, he needs to leave. Sooner than later.
That’s a question worth debating after Labour Day!