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.