Perhaps the bus hadn’t finished running over people Trudeau dislikes

Insert wheels coming off bus metaphor here!

The Liberal Party’s media bus struck their campaign plane Wednesday night, leaving visible damage on the plane’s wing.

Global News’ Bureau Chief Mercedes Stephenson was on the bus as it went underneath the plane’s wing, slowly scraping the entire length of the bus.

Media were on the bus leaving the airport after they had landed in Victoria, B.C. from Vancouver.

Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau was in Vancouver for the first rally of the Liberal campaign and is expected to stay overnight in Victoria.

It is unclear whether the damage caused to the plane has made it unable to fly.

#LavScam latest: cops interview former AG, Trudeau Libs stonewall

And, Trudeau lies and pins the blame on bureaucrats. From the Globe:

Former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould met with RCMP investigators this week to discuss political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., and is calling on the Trudeau government to waive cabinet confidentiality for her and all other witnesses to allow a thorough probe into potential obstruction of justice.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday that RCMP officers from the national division in Ottawa, which handles sensitive political matters, had a formal interview with her in Vancouver on Tuesday.

“I have had a meeting and I have been interviewed by the RCMP, and that meeting happened yesterday [Tuesday], and I am not going to comment any further on the nature of those conversations,” she said. “Of course I am concerned about the government’s decision to deny [the RCMP’s] request for access to other witnesses. As a matter of principle, the RCMP should be able to conduct thorough and necessary investigations.”

Ms. Wilson-Raybould said the meeting was at the request of the RCMP after several telephone conversations with her following the release of a report from Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion in August.

Mr. Dion said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he and senior officials improperly pressed Ms. Wilson-Raybould to order the Public Prosecution Service to settle a fraud and bribery case against the Montreal-based engineering and construction giant…

The government says Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart, who reports to Mr. Trudeau, will not waive cabinet confidentiality to allow the national police force to speak to witnesses and obtain cabinet documents relating to SNC-Lavalin.

The Liberal Leader rejected a call from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on Wednesday to allow anyone with knowledge of the SNC-Lavalin matter to discuss it freely with the RCMP.

Campaign 2019 day one, in tweets

#LavScam shocker: Trudeau PMO blocking Mounties’ obstruction of justice investigation

I’d say the election just found its defining moment, wouldn’t you?

These guys make Donald Trump look like a rank amateur.

The RCMP has been looking into potential obstruction of justice in the handling of the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., but its examination has been stymied by the federal government’s refusal to lift cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses, The Globe and Mail has learned.

This means individuals involved in the matter cannot discuss events or share documents with police that have not been exempted from the rule of cabinet confidentiality, according to sources, who The Globe agreed not to identify so they could discuss the RCMP inquiries.

In Canada, the principle of cabinet confidentiality is intended to allow ministers to debate decisions freely in private. As a result, discussions involving cabinet matters must be kept secret unless a waiver is granted. In the SNC matter, the Liberals say that the Clerk of the Privy Council, who heads the bureaucratic agency that serves the Prime Minister’s Office, made the decision not to offer a broad waiver to either the RCMP or to the Ethics Commissioner, and that the PMO played no role.

A source who was recently interviewed by the RCMP told The Globe that investigators indicated they are looking into possible obstruction of justice. The Criminal Code says obstruction of justice occurs when an effort is made to “obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding.”

The national police force will pause the operation because of the coming election campaign. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to go to Rideau Hall Wednesday to ask the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and call the vote for Oct. 21, and the RCMP has a policy to suspend politically sensitive operations during campaigns.

Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said the decision not to offer a broader waiver for the RCMP “was made solely by the Clerk of the Privy Council as guardian of cabinet confidences.” Mr. Trudeau’s director of communications, Cameron Ahmad, said the PMO was not involved in the decision.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion faced the same obstacle as the RCMP in his investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair earlier this year, stating in his final reportthat nine witnesses were unable to provide full testimony because government allowed only a limited waiver on cabinet secrecy.

Mr. Dion found that Mr. Trudeau breached the Conflict of Interest Act. His report said the Prime Minister and senior federal officials improperly pressed Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was justice minister and attorney-general to order the director of public prosecutions to settle bribery and fraud charges against SNC-Lavalin without a trial.

The Department of Justice confirmed Tuesday that the RCMP received “the same access to cabinet confidences and privileged information” as the Ethics Commissioner and the justice committee of the House.

How Justin Trudeau could lose

In it for you.

It’s the New Democrats – now a sad shadow of their former selves – who, ironically, came up with the best slogan for the 2019 federal election campaign: in it for you.

That’s what just about every election campaign is about, this one included.  Which party best understands the lives of everyday Canadians.  Which leader actually has the best understanding of the struggles your family faces every single day.

Justin Trudeau is at a big disadvantage, here.  That’s because Justin wasn’t simply born with silver spoon in his mouth.

It was more like a silver shovel.

Trudeau is the guy who likes to talk about the middle class, a lot.  But he has never, ever actually experienced the middle class.  Trudeau has never had to worry about paying the rent, or coming up with the next mortgage statement.  

He has never wondered where he’ll get the dough 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 like the Aga Khan.

Against Andrew Scheer – who grew up in a big immigrant Catholic family, and whose family didn’t have the wealth Trudeau did – the Liberal leader 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 he got from his Dad.  (Which, apparently, can sell for millions.)

Who is in it for me – who best understands my life?

If the 2019 election ballot question becomes that question, Justin Trudeau is deep, deep trouble.  Smart Liberals know this. That’s why Trudeau rolls up his sleeves, and loosens his tie, and rarely wears a suit when on the campaign hustings.  That’s why he talks about the middle class all the time.

But not all Liberals are smart.

Last week, some less-than-smart Grits revealed a big poster of Finance Minister Bill Morneau wearing an expensive, tailor-made bespoke suit, tugging at what looked like French cuffs and pricey cufflinks.  It didn’t exactly scream “middle class.”

By this week, Liberals had pasted over that unhelpful image with campaign posters.

But the deeply-dumb Liberals weren’t done yet.  Shortly afterwards, some of them actually cooked up a hashtag to mock Andrew Scheer’s comparatively-humble beginnings.  One of them, a Liberal MP – the heretofore unknown Gagan Sikand, soon to be the former MP for Mississauga-Streetsville – actually tweeted this: “Scheer Was So Poor he had to buy his Conservative Values second-hand from Stephen Harper.”

Sikand, a lawyer, actually wrote that.  He actually tweeted that.  It was the 2019 campaign’s Beer-and-Popcorn moment: people with more, making fun of people who have less. 

Lots of other Liberals went online, too, giddily promoting the “Scheer Was So Poor” hashtag.

It recalled late 2005, when this writer was huddled on a cold bench at a hockey rink somewhere, waiting out a son’s early-morning practice.  A revelation hit me: the Liberals were Starbucks, and the Conservatives were Tim Horton’s.  The Tories were going to win with a campaign that was aimed at the Tim’s crowd, not the latte-sipping elites who frequent Starbucks.  And win they did.

No one should ever underestimate Justin Trudeau’s retail political skills.  No one should ever discount his party’s organizational chops.

But if this race truly becomes who is really “in it for you?”

Then Justin Trudeau is going to lose it.


The sounds of (political) silence

Above: example of when a politician should’ve shut up.

The sounds of silence.

It’s not just the name of an old Simon and Garfunkel song. It’s a way to achieve political success, too.

Two anecdotes, from two sides of the political divide.

Several eons ago, this writer was a speechwriter for Jean Chrétien. It was kind of like being the Maytag Repairman, to be honest. Jean Chrétien doesn’t ever need any help in crafting a political tub-thumper. He’s pretty good at that all on his own.

One day, however, our opponents were saying all kinds of nasty things about the then-Liberal leader. The subject matter doesn’t matter. What mattered was Chrétien’s abject refusal to say anything back. Why, Boss, I asked him.

“We don’t have to be in the damn paper every day, young man,” he said. “People don’t like it. They want to hear from us when it’s important. But not all the time. Silence is good.”

Another anecdote, from the other side of the aisle.

Not as long ago, my good friend John Walsh was the president of the Conservative Party. As such, he’d periodically meet with the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

Two times, he did, and Harper held up a newspaper and pointed at a column by – this is the best part of the anecdote, in my opinion – Yours Truly. Both columns talked about how the then-presidents of the Liberal Party of Canada, who shall remain nameless, were in the media way, way too much.

“See what Kinsella said?” Harper asked John Walsh. “He said nobody can name the president of the Conservative Party, and that’s how we know how good at your job you are.”

Harper agreed. Too much media? Bad. Silence? Good.

Brian Mulroney? In the paper all the time, with Meech Lake, Charlottetown Accord, big meetings with big wheels, blah blah blah. His party got reduced to two seats.

Justin Trudeau? This week, the irrepressible David Akin added up all of the stuff Trudeau and his minions have been announcing. The result was shocking, if not sickening: “In August alone, Liberal MPs made 4,545 new spending commitments worth $12.8 billion.”

And, after all of those announcements and all of the resulting news coverage, has Justin Trudeau abruptly gotten a lot more popular? Nope.

In fact, some pollsters are telling this writer that all that ink hasn’t helped Trudeau much at all. Indeed, they say, there’s evidence to suggest the precise opposite is happening.

Another example.

Just over a year ago, the Ontario PCs roared back into power, and commenced holding special sittings of the legislature, energetically passing umpteen laws and getting in the media a lot. A lot, a lot.

Did it boost their popularity? Um, no. Their popularity went South, fast.

So, Premier Doug Ford hired a brilliant ex-newsman to be his Chief of Staff, and reminded his ministers of that old adage – speak when you have something to say, folks. Not when you have to say something.

Doug Ford thereafter stepped into the political equivalent of the witness protection program, and invited his ministers to join him. Result? Morale is way up, controversies are way down.

Just watch: Ford’s numbers are going to start inching up as a result, too. And so will Andrew Scheer’s – because Andrew Scheer benefits when Doug Ford isn’t in the news all the time. (Justin Trudeau, not so much.)

The moral of this cautionary tale is this: in all of those 4,545 new spending commitments Justin Trudeau made in a single month – out of all of that extraordinary $12.8 billion in spending – can you remember a single damn thing that was announced?

The sounds of silence, folks: it’s more than a nice song.

It’s a way of staying out of political trouble, too.