Categories for Feature

Tory is the best Grit

Here’s a poll that will rock Toronto and Ontario politics. And it is not a bad idea. At all.

Full story here.

It could take a Tory to topple the Tories and lead the Liberals back to power, a new poll suggests.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, a former Progressive Conservative leader who left that party five years ago, would be the front-runner in the undeclared Ontario Liberal leadership race, the Corbett Communications survey found.

While Premier Doug Ford’s Conservatives would win an election held now with 35 per cent support — ahead of the Liberals at 27 per cent, the NDP at 25 per cent, and the Greens at 12 per cent — a Tory candidacy for the Grits could jolt the political landscape.

“He changes the whole dynamic for everybody,” veteran pollster John Corbett said Tuesday.

Those surveyed were asked “which one of the following potential candidates would you be most likely to support for the Ontario Liberal Party.”

Tory was at 41 per cent, compared to Liberal MPPs Mitzie Hunter and Marie-France Lalonde at 4 per cent apiece and former minister Steven Del Duca and MPP Michael Coteau at 3 per cent each. 

Of the remaining respondents, 36 per cent were undecided and 9 per cent preferred “another candidate.”

In a general election scenario, the Liberals led by Tory were at 32 per cent, compared to Ford’s Conservatives tied with Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats at 27 per cent apiece and Mike Schreiner’s Greens at 12 per cent.


Pray for Justin’s Jeremy

Pause, for a moment, to say a prayer for Jeremy Broadhurst.

A few days ago, Broadhurst was named the campaign director for the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2019 re-election effort. He was not the first choice.

The first choice was Katie Telford, Trudeau’s Chief of Staff. The 2019 plan was for Telford to reprise her 2015 campaign role, with principal secretary Gerald Butts riding on the campaign plane with Justin Trudeau. Telford would again oversee the campaign back in Ottawa, and Butts would be on the road, hectoring journalists on Twitter and explaining big words to the Liberal leader.

Then, LavScam hit. Obstructions of justice, breaches of trust, plummeting popularity, resignations aplenty.

It remains an enduring mystery why Gerald Butts was the one to resign, and Katie Telford wasn’t. By Jody Wilson-Raybould’s own admission, Butts was the prime ministerial factotum she spoke to the most. He was the one she liked and trusted. His only sin, according to the incomplete evidentiary record, was to acknowledge the reality of what was going on.

There was no solution to the SNC-Lavalin matter “that does not involve some interference,” Butts blandly informed Wilson-Raybould’s Chief of Staff at a now-infamous December 18, 2018 meeting. It was Telford, however, who was far more direct.

“We don’t want to debate legalities anymore,” Telford said to the Attorney-General’s shocked Chief. “Legalities,” here, refers to “the law,” “the Rule of Law” and “the criminal justice system.” In effect, the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada said that the law didn’t matter, and – allegedly – that it could be bent, if not broken.

How Katie Telford could survive that, and Gerald Butts could not, is mystifying. We will need to wait for Prime Minister Andrew Scheer to relieve Jody Wilson-Raybould of solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality, one supposes.

But we digress. Jeremy Broadhurst, as is his wont, has stepped up to the proverbial plate. Or, in this case, the chopping block. His dedication to the Liberal cause is so complete, one is moved to wonder if he has the party logo tattooed on one of his body parts.

He’s a lifer, Broadhurst is. Attended one of the better law schools in Canada (U of T), was an associate at one of the better law firms (Davies Ward Phillips), and then…he gave it all up and moved to Ottawa.

He has served every permanent and interim Liberal Party leader for the past decade-and-a-half, which is testament to his fealty, if not necessarily his sanity. Mostly, he’s laboured on the policy side of the campaign divide, but he did act as Telford’s second-in-command during the successful 2015 election effort.

His most-senior post – before he was invited to breathe the rarefied air of PMO in 2015 – was to act as the lead guy on “Parliamentary strategies and tactics” after Michael Ignatieff fired everyone he knew, and hired a bunch of people he didn’t. Ignatieff – and, by extension, Broadhurst and others – then giddily piloted the Liberal Party of Canada into the ditch in 2011, leading to its worst electoral result in its history. Third place, 34 MPs. Ignatieff spoke glowingly of Broadhurst in the book he wrote afterwards, the one that confirmed that he was, in fact, just visiting.

Prior to Ignatieff’s OLO bloodletting, this writer met Jeremy Broadhurst. He was an enigma to me. Unlike every other Liberal I knew, Broadhurst had declined to choose sides in the leadership wars that had beset the Liberal Party for most of two decades. Personally, I had always subscribed to Graham Greene’s view: in order to remain human, one must choose sides. Broadhurst didn’t.

At meetings in the panelled confines of room 409-S, Broadhurst would therefore sit alongside all the senior MPs and senior staffers and this is what he would say:

Nothing.

After quite a bit of this, I came to understand how Jeremy Broadhurst had survived so long. He didn’t take anything that resembled a clear position. He didn’t take clear positions at all, really.

Is that the sort of fellow you want running your election campaign, when just one recent poll pegs you at 13 points behind the aforementioned Andrew Scheer? Someone who doesn’t have a theory of the case to prosecute?

The winningest Liberal campaign managers were John Rae and Keith Davey, for Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau, respectively. Both men ran the same sort of campaigns: let Chretien be Chretien, let Trudeau be Trudeau. Ruthlessly hammer your opponent, and always talk about your issues – not the other guy’s issues.

Jeremey Broadhurst can’t do any of that. In particular, he can’t let Justin be Justin – because, as Maclean’s famously put it on a recent cover, Justin is “The Imposter.” He has no core beliefs or persona. He’s truly what he always was: an actor.

Say a prayer, then, for Jeremy Broadhurst. His devotion to the Liberal Party cannot be questioned.

His judgment, this year, can be.


My latest: Trudeau, Liberals, and the inevitable sinking ship metaphor

Cue the soundtrack from Titanic.

Once upon a time, Andrew Leslie was a star Liberal Party candidate. A decorated former commander of the Canadian Armed Forces, Leslie was hailed by Justin Trudeau as proof the Liberals were pro-military.

Way back in 2013, when Trudeau named the 35-year veteran to an advisory committee on international affairs, he said as much.

Having Leslie around showed “a tremendous amount of support and pride for our Canadian Forces,” Trudeau said.

Well, that was then, this is now.

Lots of people thought Leslie was a shoo-in for a senior cabinet post. But it was not to be. Trudeau made Leslie whip, which is the Parliamentary equivalent of a hall monitor. But he never bestowed on Leslie a senior cabinet minister post.

Now we may have learned why.

On Friday, CTV revealed that Leslie is readying to testify in the sensational trial of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman — and against the Trudeau government, no less.

The shocking revelation is bad, bad news for the Trudeau regime. But it’s good news for those of us who still believe in the Rule of Law. And it certainly suggests that Andrew Leslie deserved to be a minister.

Adam Vaughan probably felt he deserved one, too. The former Toronto city councillor was recruited by Trudeau with great fanfare back in 2014. It was a big deal.

Trudeau’s factotums even leaked news of Vaughan’s candidacy to the Toronto Star, which dutifully ran it on the front page like it was a moon landing.

“Adam Vaughan’s decision to seek the Liberal nomination in the Trinity-Spadina by-election was sealed with a handshake over lunch at Le Select Bistro!” the Star gushed. “There’s no question (recruiting Vaughan) is a coup for Justin Trudeau!”

After reading that, Adam Vaughan could be forgiven for thinking he was destined for ministerial limousines and a “P.C.” appended to his surname. But, like Andrew Leslie, it was not to be.

The closest Vaughan ever got to the big leagues was “Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs.” Which, as we say back home in Calgary, is a title that is all hat but no cattle. It’s the square root of diddly.

Bill Blair too. Recruited with fanfare by Trudeau and his fart-catchers, then dropped into the anonymity of the Liberal backbench for years.

A former Toronto Police chief, Blair achieved distinction for overseeing the largest abridgement of civil rights in modern Canadian history, during the G20 summit in 2010. Trudeau — whose family had hands-on experience with abridging civil rights, too — was unperturbed.

“Mr. Blair was a first responder for over 39 years and having him by my side…emphasizes how seriously we take the responsibility of service in this party,” Trudeau said.

And, then, poof! Bill Blair disappeared.

Along with Leslie, other Liberal MPs are disappearing, too. At the moment, a total of 18 ridings won’t have an incumbent Liberal on the ballot in the Fall.

Scott Brison, whose sudden resignation gave Trudeau the pretext to jettison Jody Wilson-Raybould, has decided to spend more time with his family back in Nova Scotia. Same with Bill Casey, Mark Eyking, Colin Fraser and Rodger Cuzner — all Nova Scotia Liberal MPs, all choosing discretion over valour.

Thunder Bay Liberal MP Don Rusnak. Newmarket’s Kyle Peterson. Quebec’s invisible Grit MP, Nicola Di Iorio. The fearless and principled Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who was rightly disgusted by Trudeau’s grubby efforts to secure a sweetheart deal for SNC-Lavalin in court. She’s leaving, too.

Oh, and Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott — the two ministers who resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet because they could no longer abide the corruption and cronyism. And who were later kicked out of caucus by Trudeau for telling the truth to power. Liberals no more.

Trudeau’s spinners, naturally, are all insisting the departures are natural and normal.

The rest of us, meanwhile, can be forgiven for wondering whether the S.S. Trudeau is cruising towards the proverbial iceberg.

And whether those 18 Liberal MPs have decided, wisely, to abandon ship.


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!