Your Saturday #LavScam roundup: Trudeau’s coddling of “ordinary evil”

  • National Observer: “…the most depressing spectacle of the entire affair is watching Justin Trudeau, a man who clearly aspires to greatness, debase himself and this nation, by begging, pushing, imploring Canada’s attorney general to let this company off the hook. Then effectively firing her when she wouldn’t comply, and allowing her credibility to be undermined.”
  • National Observer: “A Canadian company is charged with bribing a family infamous around the world for murder, torture, rape, abductions, and widespread human rights abuses, and doing it for its own profit. They didn’t stop until the regime collapsed in 2011 and Swiss authorities came knocking. Charges were laid in April 2015. Because of corruption’s profoundly oppressive impact on the Libyan people, the SNC-Libya charges are vastly more serious even than the McGill hospital bribery scandal, in which SNC paid bribes of $22.5 million to secure the contract. Yet repeatedly and overwhelmingly from the prime minister and his advisors, the hand-wringing has focused on Canadian jobs, without substantiation of what the real job losses might be. Not a whisper for the innocent civilians trampled under a dictator’s boot. The kind of people who don’t have Michael Wernick’s mobile number.”
  • National Observer: “SNC knowingly enabled and overlooked monstrous tyranny and abuse. The company cannot pretend it was unaware of Gaddafi’s vicious cruelty while expensing his son Saadi Gaddafi’s prostitutes, lavish lifestyle, and showering him with millions of dollars a year. The company financed his soccer aspirations and sponsored his team despite widespread reports that, just a few years earlier, his bodyguards had opened fire on soccer fans for booing a referee favouring him. Between 20 and 50 were killed in the ensuing chaos.”
  • Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star: “International Women’s Day came and went in Canada on Friday without much fanfare by Justin Trudeau, who normally uses the occasion to burnish his feminist brand. That brand, like everything else around Trudeau this past month, has been tarnished by the ongoing SNC-Lavalin saga, which has cost the prime minister two strong women ministers and raised questions about whether he really walks the talk of new-style, female-friendly politics.”
  • Andrew Coyne, National Post: “WHY FIGHT CRIMINAL CHARGES IN COURT WHEN YOU CAN LOBBY? SNC-Lavalin chose to fight the charges in government, rather than court. They did so, we may conclude, because they were given reason to believe it would work…At last the Liberal government has that outside legal opinion it was seeking. A federal court judge has ruled the director of public prosecutions’ decision to bring SNC-Lavalin to trial on charges of fraud and corruption, rather than to negotiate a “remediation agreement” as the company preferred, was a proper exercise of her prosecutorial discretion. By extension she has endorsed the former attorney general’s refusal to overrule that decision. For the flipside of prosecutorial discretion is prosecutorial independence, hallowed by centuries of common law and, as the judge wrote, “essential and fundamental to the criminal justice system.”
  • Colby Cosh, Post: “As we all dissect the Liberals’ SNC-Lavalin scandal, it is hard to even keep track of the multiple injuries to the Liberal party’s image and to Justin Trudeau’s. I am seeing a lot of remarks and jokes about Trudeau’s performative commitment to equality of the sexes, or about how serious evidence-based policy-making takes a back seat so quickly to a contrived panic about jobs….if you compound enough hypocrisy, shovel it into a big enough pile, it just becomes ordinary evil, doesn’t it?”
  • Andrew Coyne, Post: “The prime minister’s people seem to have reached down even further into the prosecutorial ranks. Bouchard allegedly told her chief of staff he understood “that the individual Crown prosecutor wants to negotiate an agreement, but the director does not.” As Wilson-Raybould mused to the committee, “I can’t help but wonder why he would bring that up. How he would know that. How he garnered that information.”
  • Christie Blatchford, Post: “A month to the day that the scandal first broke, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has managed the improbable — both confirming key details of the deposed attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony (i.e., she was telling the truth) and revealing his own shallow grasp of what constitutes improper interference with the justice system and its highest officers…The justice system depends upon a criminal case — every criminal case, from sexual assault to burglary to home invasion to corporate wrongdoing — being decided by someone who takes into account only what is legally appropriate. That’s what JWR’s director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, did, and it was for JWR alone to decide if she should interfere with that decision. The PM’s insistence, in the face of this simple proposition, that what really mattered were the jobs of SNC workers, pensioners and suppliers shows his failure to grasp the meaning of prosecutorial independence and the proper separation of powers.”
  • Globe and Mail editorial board: “If members of a government are free to approach an attorney-general on other criminal cases – not to lobby, but just to, you know, share their thoughts – we are no longer living in a rule-of-law country. Repeatedly providing the attorney-general with “information” and “context” about a how to resolve a case is highly problematic, especially when that “context” is coming from the Prime Ministers’ Office…If the government encouraged the attorney-general to intervene in the case of SNC-Lavalin, then any misunderstanding that resulted was not because of Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s state of mind, but rather the government’s misunderstanding of the law.”
  • Lorne Gunter, Sun: “Trudeau is a fake feminist. When push comes to shove, Trudeau’s feminist behaviour disappears. Before the recent resignations from his cabinet of two of its most prominent female ministers – Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott – the most famous example of Trudeau’s superficial feminism surrounded his “Kokanee Grope.” Back in 2000, long before he entered politics, Trudeau was attending a music festival in the B.C. Interior and being interviewed by a female reporter who he “inappropriately handled.” When this incident resurfaced last summer, Trudeau’s feminist piety abandoned him. Women never lie about sexual assault (a common feminist mantra) became, for Trudeau, “the same interactions can be experienced very differently” by men and women. This was the same political leader who had Canada’s sexual assault laws changed to severely restrict the ability of an accused man to defend himself in court because Trudeau didn’t like the outcome of the Jian Ghomeshi trial and said his government was going to stand with the victims and their stories. But not, apparently, when that standard applied to him.”
  • Toronto Sun editorial board: “On Thursday, the PM gave a press conference that was expected to be something of an apology. It was not. It was the defiant golden boy digging in his heels, insistent he had done no wrong. Like Gerald Butts and Michael Wernick before him, he threw Jody Wilson-Raybould under the bus. The fault? An “erosion of trust.” And he made it clear the fault for this erosion was hers. Nobody was buying it. Not the reporters on hand. Not the public, weighing in with frustration on social media. Perhaps not even the PM himself – although he did manage to keep a straight face while uttering some of his less believable remarks.”

“[Trudeau] was yelling. He was yelling that I didn’t appreciate him, that he’s given me so much.”

That’s a female Liberal MP talking about Justin Trudeau.

The Globe and Mail just broke this incredible story. And, on International Women’s Day – on any day – it’s not a good look for the self-professed “feminist.”

I guess he could again say that we should believe women when they come forward. And then he could dismiss them. Again.

He’s done that a lot, hasn’t he?

The Globe story, here.

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she was met with hostility and anger from Justin Trudeau when she told him she was leaving politics, prompting her to speak out about the Prime Minister’s behaviour.

A source with the Prime Minister’s Office who was not authorized to discuss details on the record said Mr. Trudeau was concerned that her decision would be associated with the SNC-Lavalin affair, but did not raise any concerns about race.

Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said she told him that she hoped he could one day understand the impact that political life has had on her family. She said threats to her safety have been made against her in the past.

“He was yelling. He was yelling that I didn’t appreciate him, that he’d given me so much,” Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said.

A week later after a caucus meeting, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said she approached Mr. Trudeau to talk about their last interaction.

“I went to him, I said, ‘Look I know our last conversation wasn’t the greatest but …’ And at that point I stopped talking because I realized he was angry,” she said.

“Again, I was met with hostility. This stare-down … then him stomping out of the room without a word.”

#LavScam disgrace: would you call kids protesting tuition hikes Nazis?

Michael Wernick – you know, Justin Trudeau’s muse and personal bureaucrat – did that. He said that. And recently, too.

I’m not making this up. Link here, from the paper I proudly worked for, and represented, The Charlatan.

The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) is calling for the resignation of the Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick from the Board of Governors (BoG) following comments he made in an email.

Wernick referred to the March 30 “Tuition Fees are Too Damn High” rally, in which students picketed and led to the cancellation of the BoG meeting, as “the tactics of Brownshirts and Maoists.”

“Brownshirts” is a reference to the paramilitary wing of the Nazi party. “Maoists” is a reference to Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries inspired by Chinese communist Mao Zedong.

The protest was in response to a task force report concluding there were no feasible alternatives to raising tuition fees…

Wernick said he stands by what he said in the email, which was a response to questions of due process regarding the adjourned meeting.

“I have said everything I need to say in the email, which has been posted,” he said. “My position’s quite clear.”

Your morning #LavScam: the Imposter has a bad, bad press conference

The Imposter’s non-apology apology didn’t go so well.  A summary of the commentariat, below:

  • John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail: “At Thursday morning’s news conference, an unrepentant Justin Trudeau described the political crisis that has consumed his government as a failure to communicate. It was not. This crisis is about his failure to lead. And the news conference offered further proof of that failure. In his prepared remarks, and in answer to questions from reporters, the Prime Minister confirmed every allegation levelled against his government in the SNC-Lavalin affair.”
  • Martha Hall Findlay, Globe and Mail: “Both former ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have made significant and potentially seriously career-limiting moves based, they have said, on their principles. Doing so suggests a level of integrity that, as amply demonstrated by the shock value of their recent resignations from cabinet, is all too rare in politics…I prefer to believe that they did not resign because they are women; rather, because they are people with principles, which in turn guided their actions.”
  • John Ibbitson, Globe:  “[Trudeau’s excuse is] a crock because Mr. Trudeau assumes no responsibility for a crisis that is entirely his fault. A good leader would be appalled that he had created a work environment so dysfunctional that a critical situation spun completely out of control without his even being aware of it.  It’s a crock because the Prime Minister tacitly admitted at the news conference that he was willing to let economic and partisan political considerations influence the SNC-Lavalin prosecution – a blatant violation of the rule of law. And it’s a crock because Mr. Trudeau’s arrogance masquerading as humility throughout the news conference was so unconvincing. His unwillingness to apologize.”
  • Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail: “Trudeau’s foreign fan club isn’t cheering any more…Mr. Trudeau’s global fan club has had a hard time processing the [LavScam] news.”
  • Campbell Clark, Globe: “Canadians were waiting to hear Trudeau’s full explanation on SNC-Lavalin – and they didn’t get it…Not an apology. Not really an act of contrition. Not a full-throated defence. Not a detailed accounting of events. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s press conference on the SNC-Lavalin affair included an assertion that there were lessons learned although he wasn’t terribly specific about which ones. So what was that?”
  • Gary Mason, Globe: “There was certainly some contrition – he wished things could have been handled differently, it’s an unfortunate situation from which he hopes to gain knowledge and perspective – but there was a disturbing lack of personal accountability. The whole matter seems to have been an unfortunate misunderstanding, if you believe the Prime Minister…he wants us to believe he was oblivious to any angst on her part until the cabinet shuffle in January. And not until then did he grasp the full extent of her enmity toward him and his coterie of advisers.  Not a chance.”
  • Tanya Talaga, Toronto Star: “At first glance, there seems little to compare between the bullying of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould by the prime minister and his staff and the treatment of Inuit by the Crown during the tuberculosis crisis. But both speak to a persistent colonial mindset, the kind of thinking that is a blight on our history and still pervades our government. On Thursday, Trudeau was to apologize to Inuit. He ought to do the same for Wilson-Raybould.”
  • Thomas Walkom, Star: “Justin Trudeau’s explanation of the SNC-Lavalin affair has explained little. The prime minister was supposed to put the issue to bed at an early-morning press conference Thursday. He did not succeed.”
  • Lorne Gunter, Sun Media: “Trudeau apologizes for everything except his own failings…Funny, isn’t it, how Justin Trudeau is sorry about anything – everything – that happened before he became prime minister. Every other week he seems to be off apologizing for some perceived wrong that happened 80 years ago, 100, 150 years ago. But does he ever apologize for any of the flubs and blunders (or worse) that he is responsible for? In other words, he only every apologizes for the easy stuff; for the stuff that will make him look good with no skin off his nose. So it was no surprise Thursday when Trudeau held a news conference over the SNC-Lavalin scandal and never once said “sorry.”
  • Toronto Sun editorial board: “Today we join the growing list of Canadians using the hashtag LetJodySpeak to demand former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould be recalled to testify at the Commons justice committee hearings into the SNC-Lavalin scandal. The Liberal majority on the committee Wednesday rejected an opposition motion for Wilson-Raybould to be recalled, after some of the testimony by Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, diametrically opposed her version of events…The entire process has already been unfair to Wilson-Raybould. The committee has already called Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick twice, before and after Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, the second time because his initial testimony disagreed with hers on key points. Wilson-Raybould deserves the same opportunity.”
  • Jorge Barrera, CBC News: “Trudeau’s offer of Indigenous Services to Wilson-Raybould like ‘asking Nelson Mandela to administer apartheid’…The prime minister’s attempt to move Jody Wilson-Raybould to the Indigenous Services portfolio was a “deeply humiliating” proposal and shows a lack of understanding and disconnect from First Nations’ world view, say Indigenous leaders and analysts…Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, director of the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, said offering Wilson-Raybould the Indigenous Services portfolio was inappropriate. Over its 140 years, the Indian Act has been used to force children to attend residential schools, outlaw religious practices and forbid First Nations people from leaving reserves without a permit. “Any person that had any kind of understanding, even a basic understanding of Indigenous relations with the Crown, would know that the most offensive and indeed racist legislation on the books is the Indian Act,” she said. “Asking her to administer the Indian Act is not only inappropriate, it is deeply humiliating.”
  • Anne Kingston, Maclean’s: “If the presser was intended to quell the controversy, it failed…Instead of showing humility or contrition over a now-seismic situation, Trudeau lectured…A befuddled press corps called for clarity: “Just to clarify, are you apologizing for anything today?,” one reporter asked. “I will be making an Inuit apology later today,” Trudeau answered without apparent irony. And with that, the PM who had just said he doesn’t want to look back, but wants to look ahead, boarded a plane to apologize for long-ago wrongs, leaving a sorry, muddled present in his wake.”

#LavScam latest: another nobody Liberal MP attacks JWR

The nobody in question, Madawaska – Restigouche’s René Arseneault, says: “For me, as a lawyer, this whole thing has been blown out of proportion.”

He also says Jody Wilson-Raybould is “stubborn.”

The story is here, en français.  How many of my female readers have heard from male assholes that you are “stubborn” when you don’t do what he wants you to?

Welcome to Justin Trudeau’s feminist vision: you’re fine if you do what he wants.  You’re “stubborn” if you don’t.

#LavScam shocker: the prosecutors react to Trudeau

An hour after the “Prime Minister” speaks, this.

This is simply extraordinary.  In all my years of lawyering, and trying to teach law, I have never seen something like this.

It is the clearest indication, yet, what the Canadian justice system thinks about Justin Trudeau’s repeated efforts to obstruct justice.  The prosectors are directly responding to Trudeau’s claims this morning.

If the rule of law is to truly matter – if we are to avoid being regarded, internationally, as a banana republic with a judicial system that is wholly a captive of of the executive branch – we must investigate, and prosecute, the wrongdoers.

And that, increasingly, looks to include Justin Trudeau.


Three big mistakes Trudeau made at his #LavScam press conference

1. He didn’t apologize. After Trudeau’s office leaked that the beleaguered Liberal leader was deliberating about an apology for the SNC-Lavalin scandal, we all kind of expected one. We didn’t get one. And when Trudeau was asked why, he blinked and stammered and looked offended. Dumb. Apologies cost nothing, Petit Justin. But if done right, they pay many dividends. 

2. He didn’t take responsibility. Even if you don’t apologize – even if you don’t express the smallest amount of regret, which Trudeau didn’t do either – it’s important that you accept that the proverbial buck stops with you. Trudeau (again) said that it’s all Jody Wilson-Raybould’s fault. “She didn’t come to me,” he wheezed. Well, actually, she did. You just wouldn’t listen. 

3. He didn’t sound sincere. Justin Trudeau’s greatest strength is his acting ability. He is an expert at radiating wet-eyed sincerity and emotion – kind of like our Labrador retrievers, when we come home and discover they’ve eaten an entire living room sofa. At his press conference, Trudeau had all the conviction of an ISIS hostage reading a statement prepared by his captors. This was a truly historic moment, and Trudeau needed to convince us. He didn’t.