My take on this week’s big story

Look, sorry to be a lawyer and all that, but if another country murdered a citizen of this country who was in this country, I don’t give a sweet shit about the geopolitical implications or the impact on trade.

It’s a homicide and needs to be investigated and prosecuted. If we don’t, we basically cease to be a country of laws.

India is no ally

Trudeau reaching out to Poilievre and Singh on the Indian-ordered assassination is how Parliament is supposed to work. Looks good on all of them.

My latest: hero to zero

Hero to zero.

That’s the transformation that takes place in politics, if you overstay your welcome. And it happens pretty fast, too.

That’s why they say a week is a long time in politics. Because it is.

One day you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone, being touted as the literal personification of wokefulness — and the next day you’re miserable and cooling your heels in India, because your plane broke down and no one wants to shake your hand anymore. Boom. From hero to zero, just like that.

Politics is weird in that way, and unforgiving. Brian Mulroney won two big majorities, and ended his tenure with the support of 12% of Canadians. Paul Martin was supposed to be a juggernaut, a Toronto Star columnist decreed, and then went from juggernaut to after-thought.

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Stephen Harper was supposed to be Mr. Economics, started fretting about niqabs and “barbaric practices,” and thereby got clobbered by no less than hopey-wokey Justin Trudeau. (That barbaric practices nonsense, by the by, was cooked up by Pierre Poilievre’s brain trust. Hero to zero can happen to anyone, and does.)

And so on and so on. One minute everyone wants a selfie with you, applauding when you hijack a plane. And, the next minute, they’re looking at the tops of their shoes when you enter the room.

Trudeau has experienced metamorphosis in reverse. He started off as a beautiful and delicate butterfly, flitting from one social justice flower to the next. And now he’s turned into a caterpillar, chewing away at leaves and detritus in the dark. He is in profound danger of being stepped on by voters.

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Fifteen points! Young people! Liberal strongholds! Those are the things he’s lost, in his devolution into something less than he was. Without them, he’s hooped.

How did it happen? Lots of reasons. Serial scandals, over-promise and underdeliver, circumstances and events. But, mainly, it’s because he’s become the party guest who won’t leave.

The hosts are sweeping the floors and putting away the silverware, but Justin still sits over in a corner, loudly recalling past glories and the time Melania Trump gave him a look you could pour on a stack of waffles. He won’t leave.

He doesn’t listen to many, ever, but he was indeed advised by a few smart folks to start inching towards the exits. One majority and two minorities is plenty, he’s been told, something about which to be proud. That’s a decade. As good as it gets.

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But he demurred. He declined. He deferred. And, now, it feels like it is too late to install a fresh new Liberal face, and rescue the brand of the Liberal Party of Canada. Smart Liberals know that another victory is impossible. They just want to save the furniture, now.

Trudeau, the caterpillar who thinks he’s still a butterfly, doesn’t get it — or he doesn’t care.

This writer’s working theory is that — like many men — his father’s shadow looms large over Justin’s path through life. He wants to equal, or surpass, his father’s record. (It happens. Ask George W. Bush about it.)

Whatever the reason, he is just about out of time. If he doesn’t leave — and for the love of God, Justin, please leave — he’s done like dinner. He’s got to Christmas to rescue the party. Maybe.

Hero to zero. It’s a political cliché, sure.

But it’s also Justin Trudeau.

My latest: the Weekend from Hell™️

The Weekend from Hell™️.

All of us have had one, at one time or another. A fender-bender on the way to an important appointment. A flooded basement. A positive Covid test. Getting dumped by text.

Justin Trudeau’s Weekend from Hell™️ was different. His wasn’t private. It was right out in the open, observed by millions.

Such are the foibles of leaders of countries, and such are the foibles of Justin Trudeau these days. Try as he might, the Liberal leader can’t seem to catch a break.

As his Weekend from Hell™️ unfolded, it was almost (almost) possible to feel sorry for the guy. Almost.

Trudeau went to India for the G20. Based on the photographic evidence, nobody really wanted to talk to him or shake his hand. He looked miserable. And his plane was grounded there for nearly two days.

Meanwhile, back home, his main adversary, Pierre Poilievre, was having the best weekend of his political life. Ahead 14 points in the polls. Old rivals lining up behind his leadership. Party united. A multi-lingual, photogenic spouse charming everyone. And a picture-perfect convention in Quebec City.

And, to top it all off, Trudeau’s rust-bucket plane was wheezing back to Canada, and his timely arrival to a caucus retreat in London, Ont. was in doubt. Late for his own meeting. Ouch.

That’s not all. Over in the Liberal Party house organ, the Toronto Star, columnist Althea Raj was reporting that mutiny is brewing. While none of the quoted Liberal MPs were willing to go on the record, quite a few were prepared to dump on Trudeau anonymously.

Said one: “We don’t feel that we have a partner in the Prime Minister’s Office that is doing what it needs to be doing to help us at this time.”

Another: “This is a prime minister who never likes to even allow you to finish your sentence in national caucus…[If] you’re going to say something he’s not going to like, he always cuts you off.”

Said two different MPs: “People are really disillusioned.” Another: “Really, really, disillusioned.”

Finally, at least one said it was time for Trudeau to leave: “Do the right thing for himself and for the Liberal Party.” And go.

Like we said: it was Justin Trudeau’s Weekend from Hell™️.

Can he reverse it? Can he become competitive again?

As we all know, a week is a lifetime in politics. Conservatives have a well-documented history of shooting themselves in the foot. Trudeau is an excellent campaigner. And, as my colleague Brian Lilley likes to say, voters are fickle. They change their minds.

But right now, one thing is certain: a stench of death can be detected around Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

And we suspect many more Weekends from Hell™️ are on the calendar.

Facebook/Meta are evil

I mean, they all are, in their own unique way, but Facebook/Meta are the worst. People may be trying to save their lives during wildfires, desperate for information, but Zuckerberg doesn’t give a shit about that.

And now it looks it’s their business model.

“Facebook is done with news. First, there was a multiday standoff with the Australian government on news payments, followed by the quiet removal of a revenue-sharing News tab from Facebook in the US. And then came an all-out news link ban in Canada. And now, Meta is killing off the News tab in France, Germany, and the UK, where it is also ending funding for a well-liked local news project. As in Canada and Australia, the change of policy in Europe preempts legislation across the EU as well as the UK that may see the social giant asked to pay for news it shares.

Facebook-owner Meta said this week that it would remove the News tab in all three European countries by December, meaning it will no longer pull in articles to show in the app. Users may well shrug, but it also means the end of payments to the news media taking part. Meta said it would continue to honor existing deals, but would not renew them when they expire—and would not make paid-for news partnerships in the future. “It looks like Meta is pushing the reset button, but very few news organizations are prepared for that,” says Sarah Anne Ganter, an expert in platform regulation and governance at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.”