Categories for Feature

I love political streeter spots

I’m not so sure about the closing tagline. But, one, I’m sure the guys tested the living shit out of it, and it undoubtedly worked in groups.

Two, it touches on the main reason why I don’t like the guy.

Whenever people ask me why I don’t, I tell him that he brings out the Holden Caulfield in me: that is, I can’t stand phonies. And he is the biggest goddamn phoney I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, here’s two of the spots. Comments are open for you to tell us what you think.


#LavScam latest: illegal SNC donations to the LPC – and to Ignatieff, Dion, Rae and Trudeau’s candidate, Kennedy

Stunning, kick-ass scoop by CBC, this week.  (Oh, and for those conservative types who continually rail about how the CBC is part of a vast pro-Liberal conspiracy? Read this story before you pop off on social media, next time.)

All of the story is here. Key highlights here:

A confidential document sent to the Liberal Party of Canada in 2016, and obtained by CBC/Radio-Canada, reveals how top officials at the embattled engineering firm SNC-Lavalin were named in a scheme to illegally influence Canadian elections.

The list of names, compiled in 2016 by federal investigators probing political party donations and leaked to CBC’s The Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada’s Enquête, raises new questions about an agreement by the Commissioner of Canada Elections not to prosecute the company.

The federal Liberals were sent the list in a letter marked “confidential” from the Commissioner of Canada Elections — the investigative branch of Elections Canada — on Aug. 5, 2016. But for nearly three years, neither Elections Canada nor the Liberal Party shared that information publicly.

The investigation reveals that over a period of more than five years between 2004 and 2009, 18 former SNC-Lavalin employees, directors and some spouses contributed nearly $110,000 to the federal Liberals, including to four party leadership campaigns and four riding associations in Quebec.

According to the letter, the investigation found that SNC-Lavalin reimbursed all of those individual donations — a practice forbidden under the Canada Elections Act.

And, look! Another DPA-style deal that favoured these sleazebags:

The illicit SNC-Lavalin operation went undetected for nearly a decade. Despite the evidence collected by investigators, the Commissioner of Canada Elections decided not to bring charges against the company, which is headquartered in Montreal but operates around the world.

“We know that the decisions to take part in this scheme took place at the very highest levels of SNC-Lavalin,” said Ayotte. “‘[It] seems to all suggest to me that there should have been a prosecution.”

SNC-Lavalin avoided charges by signing what is known as a “compliance agreement” in 2016 with the Commissioner of Canada Elections after promising not to break the law in the future.

And:

The Liberal Party repeatedly refused to provide the names of those involved when asked by reporters for CBC/Radio-Canada…in his letter to the Liberal Party, the Commissioner of Canada Elections stated that all those donations listed were made, indirectly, by SNC-Lavalin itself. The commissioner stated that the SNC-Lavalin contributions were “ineligible” — meaning they violated the law — and had to be paid back.

The Liberal Party’s revenue chair, Stephen Bronfman, did not return voice messages left by CBC/Radio-Canada. Party spokesman Braeden Caley wrote in an email that “The Liberal Party of Canada fully complies with the Canada Elections Act and all Elections Canada regulations for fundraising and donations and expects all people donating to our party to do so lawfully and to follow the same rules.”


Joe and Justin: one’s a winner, one isn’t

Joe and Justin?

There’s a connection. Stay with me, here.

In 2015 and 2016, I proudly volunteered for Hillary Clinton in two states, and at her Brooklyn headquarters. I’m going to be proudly volunteering for Joe Biden in 2019 and (if he’s the nominee) in 2020.

The reasons are threefold, and all of them – coincidentally – are quite relevant to Justin Trudeau’s political predicament in 2019.

One, we know why Joe Biden is running again. With Justin Trudeau, we don’t.

Joe commenced his campaign in a comparatively low-key way: he released a video on YouTube. He said he’s running to beat Donald Trump, because he’s the only candidate who can. Successive polls have shown that Americans know who Joe is, they like who he is, and they like him way more than Trump. He’s competitive with multiple demographics: African-Americans, older Democrats, Independents, the true working class.

Biden has what the advertising guys call a USP – a Unique Selling Proposition. That is, he can say things that his 19 Democratic competitors can’t. Experienced, likeable, scandal-free, Hell Of A Guy.

Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, no longer has a USP. In 2015, he was the self-proclaimed feminist. He isn’t any more. Gropegate – and his expulsion of Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott and Celina Caesar-Chavannes, coupled with his nauseating decision to keep a sexual harasser like Kent Hehr in his caucus – have obliterated his “feminist” credentials.

In 2015, he was the Indigenous reconciliation guy. No longer. He demeaned and defamed Wilson-Raybould, the most prominent Indigenous leader in our collective lifetimes. And, as the former Attorney-General pointed out in a widely-reported speech last week, Trudeau’s government “has fallen back into a pattern of trying to manage the problem.” And the problem is colonialism.

And Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau was the guy who promised to bring back ethics to government. He said he’d be open and transparent and not at all like the secretive and autocratic Stephen Harper. But the seamy, sordid LavScam scandal – which saw Trudeau and his minions pressuring Wilson-Raybould dozens of times to give help a corrupt Quebec company avoid a richly-deserved prosecution – has laid waste to the Liberal leader’s claim to the moral high ground.

What, now, is Justin Trudeau’s USP? Unlike Joe Biden, Trudeau has lost the narrative. He is unlikely to acquire a new one in the dwindling number of weeks that remain between now and the election.

Two: Joe Biden has what it takes to win, because he never forgot his roots. He never stopped boasting about his hardscrabble Scranton, Pa. youth. He grew up in a big Irish Catholic family in Scranton – in a crowded apartment – and the Bidens were forced to move to Delaware when Joe was ten, where his father secured a job as a used car salesman. He got into law school only because he got a scholarship. He participated in anti-segregation sit-ins. He struggled for everything he got.

Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, is the guy who likes to talk a lot about the middle class – but has never, ever experienced the middle class. Trudeau has never had to worry about paying the rent, or the next mortgage statement. He has never wondered where he’ll get the money to pay a hydro bill. He has never wanted for anything. His life has been one of mansions, private jets, and hanging out with celebrities.

Against Andrew Scheer – who, like Biden, grew up in a big immigrant Catholic family, and whose family didn’t have any wealth – Trudeau will likely appear privileged and out-of-touch. Scheer worked as a waiter and a salesman. Trudeau, meanwhile, wears a $15,000 IWC Portuguese Regulateur watch and drives a Mercedes-Benz 300SL. (Which, apparently, can sell for as much as $5 million.)

Third and final reason: traditional assumptions about politics are long gone.

You’re not guaranteed a second term anymore. You’re not going to win simply because your candidate is more charismatic and more photogenic. You don’t win if you have the slickest social media.

If the 2016 presidential race taught me anything else, it’s this: everything in politics is different, now. Hillary had the best-organized, best-funded, best-staffed, best-led campaign I have ever been part of. But it didn’t matter: we still lost.

Politics has been upended, everywhere. So, traditional assumptions about campaigns – whether Joe is too old, too politically-incorrect, too centrist – are kind of irrelevant, now. Trump showed that.

Running the 2016 campaign again will get Democrats another 2016 result, and Biden knows it. He will therefore be at the centre of a decidedly un-Hillary-like campaign.

Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, is still fighting the last war. He’s using against Andrew Scheer the same stuff he used against Stephen Harper: that Scheer is mean and a neo-Nazi and has a hidden agenda. While he’s the middle class, feminist, ethical paragon. Blah blah blah.

As the Canadian and American national races edge ever-closer, we all know who Joe Biden is, and what he wants to do.

With Justin Trudeau, we just don’t.


100 days of #LavScam: Trudeau has defeated himself

One hundred days.

 

A lot can happen in 100 days.  Because, per the saying, a week can be a lifetime in politics.

 

One hundred or so days ago, Justin Trudeau fired Jody Wilson-Raybould.  One hundred days ago, the Liberal leader – the one who claimed to be feminist, the one who declared himself the champion of indigenous causes, and the ethical epitome – terminated Wilson-Raybould because she refused to do what he wanted her to.

 

Because she – a proud, smart, courageous indigenous woman – refused to interfere in the criminal prosecution of a sleazy Quebec company facing innumerable corruption charges.  Because she had the guts and the principles to say “no” to a bunch of men who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

 

In the 100 days that have gone by since January 14, 2019, everything has changed.  The guaranteed second Trudeau majority?  Gone.  Polls now say Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are ahead – or way ahead.  Trudeau, meanwhile, is viscerally disliked pretty much everywhere outside of Quebec.

 

Hell, in Prince Edward Island’s just-finished election, Liberals told Trudeau to stay away, because his very name was dragging them down. The PEI Grits still finished a distant third, a rump, behind the Tories – and the Greens!

 

Out in Alberta, most observers agree that Jason Kenney won a majority – and Rachel Notley lost a majority – because the latter leader had gotten too close to Trudeau.  And because the former leader had done all he could to associate Notley with Trudeau.  (It worked.)

 

In the hundred days since Justin Trudeau politically lynched Jody Wilson-Raybould, plenty of other things have happened, too.

 

  • The Globe and Mail published a series of stories detailing Trudeau’s apparent efforts to obstruct justice to help out SBC-Lavalin.  Trudeau called the stories fake.  But all of the Globe’s stories turned out to be true.  Every word.
  • Trudeau insisted he didn’t fire Wilson-Raybould from the job she loved – from the job she was great at.  He said her continued presence in cabinet was proof.  A day later, Wilson-Raybould quit his cabinet.
  • The clowns on the Justice Committee refused to let Wilson-Raybould testify about LavScam.  After a tsunami of political blowback, they reversed themselves.  
  • But the committee’s Liberal trained seals – and Trudeau – refused to let Wilson-Raybould testify about what Trudeau said and did after that fateful cabinet shuffle.  When, sources tell me, Trudeau threatened recriminations, and promised rewards, when he spoke to his former Minister of Justice.
  • Trudeau’s best friend and principal secretary – and the Clerk of his Privy Council – are both implicated in the metastasizing LavScam scandal.  Both insisted they did nothing wrong.  But both abruptly resigned.
  • The Liberals defeated each and every Opposition attempt to get the truth.  At the Ethics Committee, in the Justice Committee, in the House of Commons: in vote after vote, the panicked Grits continued to coverup.  They continued to stonewall.
  • PMO trotted out obscure Liberal backbenchers and banshees to defame and demean Jody Wilson-Raybould and her ally, Jane Philpott – who had resigned cabinet because she could no longer go along with the Trudeaupian sleaze.  One PMO attack poodle, Sheila Copps, actually calls Wilson-Raybould and Philpott pus-filled “boils.”

 

And on, and on. A hundred days later – a hundred days after he made the insane decision to martyr Jody Wilson-Raybould – pollsters say Justin Trudeau is heading towards inevitable defeat.

 

Of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott?  The other parties are trying convince the pair to run for them.

 

Jody, polls say, is believed and supported by the vast majority of Canadians.  

 

And, one hundred fateful days later, Justin just isn’t.

 


Neo-Nazi sentence: not yet

The publisher and editor of the white supremacist, Holocaust-denying, homophobic, women-hating Your Ward News have been found guilty of promoting hatred against women and Jews. But, after a long hearing this morning Toronto, they still have not been sentenced.

Lisa and I, who have been fighting these creeps in our neighbourhood for almost four years, are a bit disappointed there is yet more delay. But the Crown seemed to know what she was doing, and the judge definitely knows what he’s doing. So.

Those of us who have been opposing them for years will have to wait a few more weeks.

The struggle continues!



Tomorrow in courtroom 504: the real Nazis learn their fate

 

MEDIA AVAILABILITY
10:00 AM, Friday April 26, 2019

Toronto – Standing Against Misogyny and Prejudice (STAMP) will respond to the sentencing of hatemongers James Sears and LeRoy St. Germaine, which takes place at 10:00 AM tomorrow at the College Park courthouse.

Sears, editor of the anti-Semitic and misogynistic Your Ward News, and St. Germaine, its publisher, were convicted of promoting hatred against women and Jews by Justice Richard Blouin on January 24, 2019.

Anti-hate activists and STAMP founders Lisa and Warren Kinsella will be available for comment following sentencing.

Previously, STAMP has led an advertising boycott of Your Ward News because of its virulent racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and Holocaust denial, and pushed for Canada Post to stop distributing the hate sheet.

Details:

Date:             Friday, April 26, 2019, 10:00 AM

Location:    College Park Courthouse, 444 Yonge St., Toronto, ON

– 30 –

For further information:

Lisa Kinsella lisa@daisygroup.ca
416-642-3100

Tom Heneffer tom@daisygroup.ca
416-642-3100


Go, Joe, go!

So, I’m going to be volunteering for the Democrats again this Summer.  And this is the candidate I’m going to be supporting, too.

Why Joe Biden?

I’m aware of his shortcomings.  Every candidate has ’em.  He’s one of the oldest presidential candidates in history.  He makes gaffes.  He’s been a bit too mano-a-mano in the past.  He’s run twice before, and lost.

But here are the five reasons why he’s still my guy.

  1. This is all about who can beat Trump.  He can.  Joe is tough, he’s experienced, and – as his campaign announcement video this morning makes plain – he is getting into this race for the best reason of all: to beat that sonofabitch who cheated his way into the White House.  And successive polls have shown that Americans know who Joe is, they like who he is, and they like him way more than Trump.
  2. Joe Biden has what it takes to win.  He never forgot his Scanton, Pa. roots, and he has the working class support to show for it.  He is loved by African-Americans for his unflagging support for Barack Obama.  He has stayed in the political centre, where most of the votes are.  Independents like him the best. He knows how to get things done in Washington, because he has experience – and he knows how to work with Republicans, too.  He’s the guy who can bring together the winning coalition.
  3. The United States is still the United States. If 2016 showed those of us who worked for Hillary Clinton anything, it’s this:  the United States of America is still a pretty racist and sexist place.  In 2016, I was so proud to work for an amazing, progressive, capable woman – but America (including American women) rejected her, in large part, because she was female.  To beat Trump in 2020, we need to campaign in the United States that exists, not the United States that doesn’t.
  4. Traditional assumptions about politics are gone.  If 2016 taught me anything else, it’s also this: everything is different, now.  Hillary had the best-organized, best-funded, best-staffed, best-led campaign I have ever been part of.  But it still didn’t matter: we still lost.  Politics has been upended, everywhere.  So, traditional assumptions about campaigns – whether Joe is too old, too politically-incorrect, too centrist – are kind of irrelevant, now.  Trump showed that.  Running the 2016 campaign again will get us the 2016 result.
  5. Again, with feeling: it’s all about beating Trump.  I don’t give a good goddamn if Joe Biden comes from Mars and eats green cheese on prime time TV: he is the only candidate who can beat that bastard.  The only one.  And, with a running mate like Harris or O’Rourke, he addresses any of his perceived weaknesses, and then some.

Joe Biden for the win.  Because we have to win.


#LavScam #LawScam #LibScam: thanks for your donation

Jody Wilson-Raybould worked to clean up the legal system.  Justin Trudeau and his PMO cabal work to dirty it.

Have these guys learned nothing from Lavscam?  Have they not considered the implications of dragging our system of justice through the muck?  Do any of them understand why the law needs to above grubby, secretive partisan deal-making?

Apparently not. Check out this blockbuster in the Globe and Mail:

The Prime Minister’s Office is using a private party database called Liberalist in its background checks on candidates for judicial appointments, a tool that allows them to see whether would-be judges have supported the Liberal Party in recent years, records show.

The Liberal Party designed the database to be used for partisan purposes, such as helping Liberal candidates track and reach their supporters during election campaigns.

However, confidential documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show the PMO’s appointments branch is also using it to look into the partisan background of applicants for judicial positions. The documents, which were provided by a source, were produced by the PMO and show the results of database checks on judicial applicants. Liberalist is the only one of the databases that is not accessible to the public.

As justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould modified the process under which the federal government appoints judges to superior and federal courts in 2016, promising to increase the “openness, transparency, accountability and diversity of Canada’s judiciary.” In particular, the reforms gave greater independence to the seven-member judicial advisory committees (JAC) that evaluate the candidates for appointments.

However, sources said the process still includes a role for the PMO in vetting candidates further. The records show the PMO used Liberalist to evaluate candidates who had gone through the JAC process.

Of the donations made by these judges, $321,650.58, or 90.9 per cent of the total amount, was directed to the Liberal Party.


How Trudeau elected Kenney

Last month, I was back home in Calgary to teach at the law school. So, I got together with a couple high school buddies – one a lawyer, one an engineer – at Michael’s on Tenth Avenue. (Michael’s has the best pizza in Canada, by the way. Hands down.)

We got to talking about the coming Alberta election, and what was going to happen. Some people at neighbouring tables chimed in. (Calgary’s like that.)

Here’s a summary of what I was told:

• they all respected Rachel Notley but disliked her party
• they didn’t really like Jason Kenney but figured they’d vote for his party
• they thought the rest of Canada didn’t give a shit about them
• they deeply hated Justin Trudeau

And when I say “deeply,” I mean deeply. One of my fellow Michael’s fans even suggested that it would be a bad idea for Trudeau to travel to Alberta. Because he might be placed at physical risk.

Seriously.

The conversation continued. My lawyer buddy, who works at a major construction and engineering firm, was unhappy about Trudeau’s slavish devotion to the fortunes of the oily Quebec-based construction and engineering firm, SNC-Lavalin. He looked at me.

“You know, Winkie,” he said, using the nickname my Calgary pals gave to me way back when, “My firm had to lay off more than a thousand guys last year. No one back East noticed. No one. If that had happened to SNC-Lavalin, it would’ve been all you’d hear about.”

He was right, of course. Albertans are right: if something bad happens in the Centre of the Universe, in the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto axis, the whole country hears about it for weeks. But if hundreds of families lose their livelihood in Calgary, nobody in Ontario gives a shit, basically. Certainly not Justin Trudeau, who has repeatedly claimed to support Alberta – and then repeatedly done precisely nothing to help Alberta get oil to market.

I later tweeted what my friend said about those layoffs, and Ontario and Quebec’s total indifference to same. Jason Kenney was one of the many who retweeted what I said. It struck a chord.

And that, really, is mainly why Jason Kenney swept the much-admired Rachel Notley from power. Because Justin Trudeau and his government are now more despised in Alberta than was Trudeau’s father’s government, way back during the nadir of the National Energy Program. And Notley is seen, in Alberta, as having letting Trudeau get away with murder. The murder of Alberta’s economy.

Other factors were at play in last Tuesday’s night vote, of course. In politics, there always are. Jason Kenney brought together the warring factions of the Right, and avoided the vote-splits that helped Notley’s Crüe sweep to power four years ago. And, while the NDP leader was herself admired, her caucus generally was not. Notley had a Safeway employee, a yoga instructor and a bunch of twenty-somethings. Few had real political experience.

In 2015, Notley’s Progressive Conservative opponents also ran one of the worst campaigns in modern Alberta history. Nationally, the NDP was polling respectably in 2014. And Notley’s family was (and is) admired in Alberta. Her Dad was a much-loved former MLA who died tragically in a plane crash in 1984.

But, mostly, Rachel Notley lost because of Justin Trudeau. She trusted him, as did other Albertans. And she shouldn’t have. His early promises to Alberta were deceptions. They were intended to win him seats – but Trudeau clearly never had any intention of helping Alberta families survive.

My engineer buddy, who has had to lay off dozens of engineers, and take whatever work he can get, nods grimly at all this. He was born in Montreal, grew up in Manitoba and Alberta, and was always a Liberal. No more.

“He’s a liar,” my friends says, holding a glass of the best local stuff, Trad. “He’s a goddamn liar. He’s way more hated than his father ever was, in Alberta. And Notley is the one who is going to wear it.”

That was unfortunate, my engineering pal said, because he regarded Rachel Notley as “decent, smart and principled.” Many people in Alberta admired the NDP Premier, he said.

“But she was unlucky. She won when the bottom was falling out,” he said. “That’s not her fault. But her alliance with Trudeau, at the start, is something people will never forgive.”

And they didn’t. Once again, anything with the “Liberal” brand is anathema in Alberta, thanks to Justin Trudeau. On election night, the Alberta Liberal leader – a smart, hard-working constitutional lawyer, David Khan – was creamed, finishing a distant fourth in Calgary MountainView. His party was wiped out across the province, not winning a single seat.

Justin Trudeau may not have been on the ballot in Alberta, but he surely helped determine the result, more than any other Canadian politician. He helped elect Jason Kenney and defeat Rachel Notley. He did that.

My engineering buddy looked at me.

“Alberta hates Justin Trudeau,” he says. “And we are going to teach him a lesson in October.”