In Tuesday’s Sun: time to panic

For a bunch of people who should be panicking, they sure don’t look panicked.

The Conservative Party, that is.
For more than a year now, the Conservative Party of Canada has been eating Justin Trudeau’s dust.
Dozens of polls have shown them to be slightly behind, or really behind, the revitalized Liberal Party. Dozens of polls have made clear that Canadians want Justin Trudeau to be prime minister, not Stephen Harper. And yes, sure, polls have been pretty unreliable recently.

But, still.

Take a look at the big poll released by Ekos this week. For Conservatives, it was like a double root canal, without novocaine. It was like a two-week Justin Bieber Music Festival. It was like…well, you get the idea.

“This poll reinforces the notion that the now profound lead enjoyed by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party is far from a blip,” said the Ekos folks, who – yes, yes – have gotten plenty of things wrong in recent months.

“It appears that the Canadian public are now moving to the centre and left…the Liberal Party of Canada has gone from a dismal 18.9 points in the last election to a muscular 38.7. The very surprising Conservative majority with an impressive 39.6% of the vote has collapsed into a meager 25.6% with the NDP within the margin of error at 23.4%.”

The question isn’t why this is happening, declared Ekos. The question is what is going to happen when a general election takes place next year: “[It] isn’t whether the Conservatives can repeat its stunning majority triumph of 2011; it may be whether it can even hold onto opposition leader status.”


Now, if you were a member of the Conservative caucus – or someone who has sought and won a Conservative nomination in some riding somewhere – wouldn’t that sort of prose have you looking for the exits? Wouldn’t it, at the very least, have you reassessing your election strategy?

Not the Conservatives. They, and their stoic leader, are the very picture of serenity and calm.

In the New Democratic Party, those kinds of numbers would have Gerry Caplan and Judy Rebick scrambling to write self-flagellating op-eds in the Globe and Mail about how social democrats are an endangered species. Those numbers would have Liberals burying stainless steel between each other’s shoulder blades.

But not the Tories. The Conservative caucus, historically a mutinous bunch, remains unified. No leadership challengers have started second-guessing Harper in the morning papers – all anonymously, of course. And the prime minister himself has given no sign that he intends to take a proverbial walk in the proverbial snow.

So, the Conservatives continue to try to depict Justin Trudeau as a dope-pushing, strip-teasing, shaggy-headed member of al-Qaida. They’ve spent millions on that attack strategy, in fact, and millions of Canadians remain unmoved. In fact.

Despite all that, ink-stained wretches – such as the one who writes in this space – have yet to start typing up Harper government obituaries. How come?

Because Harper is smart. Because he undersells and overperforms. Because he is an expert at political rope-a-dope. Because his party has more money than God, and because they have a budgetary surplus, and because we are still the best country in the world.

Because (as noted) the polls have been proven too wrong, too many times. That’s why.

But here’s the thing, and it’s a good place to conclude: what if the polls are right? What if the Conservative trend line is all down, not up? What if the stuff the Con war room used against Messrs. Martin, Dion and Ignatieff just doesn’t work on Trudeau? What about that?

Sometimes, in politics, things truly are as simple as they seem. And that means this:

The Conservative Party of Canada, and Stephen Harper, are going to lose.


Dear Facebook friends

I’ve got 5,000 of you, and you’re all smart. Help me with my problem, please.

Facebook, as you undoubtedly know, has been forcing users to download and use their “Messenger” app. They’ve made it so you can’t stay with the old system.

I therefore read some of the stories about Messenger (you should too). I have no doubt, now, that it violates several privacy laws. It is actually scary.

So I refused to download it.

That creates a problem, however. I am no longer able to receive any messages from folks on Facebook. Moreover, that annoying red dot showing I have messages – messages I can’t read – won’t disappear.


• Is there any way to get back to the old platform? (Unlikely.)
• Is there any way to get rid of the annoying red message notification dot thing? (Please God.)

If you have answers, I would be most grateful. In the meantime, I look forward to Facebook getting its Orwellian ass hauled into court.



Down the memory hole

Several posts have gone down the memory hole, seems. There’s a big glitch when I use WordPress on the iPhone – stuff disappears, and I get error messages. The WiFi up here ain’t so good at the moment, either. Frustrating.

Anyhow, I repeat my offer of a Reddit-style AMA thing. Send your questions and I will faithfully answer – although not perhaps in a video thing (see above).

Have a great August weekend, in the meantime. Was pretty cool last night – it feels like the end of Summer 2014 ain’t far off.

In Friday’s Sun: Conservative war room steps on own bomb

Sometimes political war rooms get way, way too cute. Sometimes, even, they do something that ends up hurting them a lot more than it hurts their opponent. Sometimes, they’re idiots.

Case in point: Justin Trudeau’s 2011 visit to one of the mosques in his riding. The Tory war room saw it, seized on it, attacked it.

Big mistake.

You can almost picture it happening. The neatly-barbered youngsters who comprise the Tory election brain trust are deep within the bowels of some non-descript Ottawa government building, peering at their glowing computer screens. Looking for something, anything, with which to hurt the one adversary they fear the most – Justin Trudeau.

One of the kids is suddenly excited. He has found a clip in which Trudeau says that he has visited every mosque in his Montreal Papineau riding, including the Al-Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque. Trudeau was there in March 2011.

The Conservative kids in their dark suits are all ecstatic. After Trudeau visited the mosque – note that word, AFTER – a U.S. intelligence report came out, and said that some men had passed through the mosque a decade earlier. The mosque was a place “known al-Qaeda members were recruited, facilitated or trained,” said the report.

The Tory war room swung into action. They leaked their find to the media, including Sun News. They then instructed Steven Blaney, who is apparently the minister of something called “Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,” to issue a public statement excoriating Trudeau.

“It is completely unacceptable that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would associate with a group that allegedly radicalizes Canadians to join al-Qaeda and engage in acts of unspeakable violent extremism,” said Blaney, who nobody has ever heard of before, and likely never will again.

“Now he is pandering for votes amongst religious extremists in our own communities. It is clear that Justin Trudeau cannot be trusted to keep Canadians safe.”

Get all that? Radicals! Extremists! Unsafe! “Unspeakable violent extremism,” even!

Except…there’s a problem, Conservative war roomers. Three of them, in fact. We’ll lay them out in point form, and use small words, so you’ll perhaps understand.

1. In March 2011, as now, Justin Trudeau was a garden-variety MP. He was not the Minister of “Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,” or the “Prime Minister,” either.

2. As such, he did not have, and does not have, the power to pick up the phone and call CSIS or the RCMP, and demand that they turn over their Top Secret file on the Al-Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque. If they have such a file, they sure as Hell wouldn’t be sharing it with Justin Trudeau, Private Citizen.

3. If, however, such a file existed at CSIS or the RCMP, or anywhere else, only two MPs would have access to it. Their names are “Stephen Harper” and “Steven Blaney.”

See the problem you have created for yourselves and your bosses, Con war roomers? Are you getting the point? If “unspeakable violent extremism” is associated with that mosque, why have Messrs. Harper and Blaney DONE NOTHING ABOUT IT?

One is the Prime Minister of all that is Canada, the other is ostensibly the Minister of “Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,” whatever that is. They knew what was happening at that mosque, they were in discussion with American intelligence folks about it, and THEY DID NOTHING ABOUT IT.

And, as I told my flummoxed Sun News colleague Brian Lilley on-air, THEY COULD HAVE DONE PLENTY – including taking away its charitable status. (God knows they are doing that with plenty of environmental and church charities the Conservative war room distrusts.)

Anyway, apologies for the all-caps, there, Conservative war room kiddies.

I think you’re all IDIOTS, this week, and I figured that was the only way to penetrate your TINY SKULLS.