Tag Archive: Justin Trudeau

#LavScam Globe stunner: what JWR told cabinet

…and, as she almost certainly expected, they’re leaking it. They’re waiving the privilege all on their own. And thereby helping her to get her story out.

Man, she is smart. They’re playing checkers – and she always plays chess.

Story here.

Former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould told federal cabinet ministers she believed it was improper for officials in the Prime Minister’s Office to press her to help SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. out of its legal difficulties, sources say…

On Tuesday, Ms. Wilson-Raybould privately outlined her concerns about the handling of the SNC-Lavalin prosecution to her former colleagues within the confidentiality of cabinet, freed from the bounds of solicitor-client privilege that have restricted her public statements so far.

According to a source with knowledge of the cabinet discussions, Ms. Wilson-Raybould said the director of the prosecution service rejected a negotiated settlement with SNC-Lavalin based on how the law applies to the company’s case. The Liberal government had changed the Criminal Code to allow for deferred prosecutions in which a company admits wrongdoing and pays a fine, but avoids a trial. Under Canada’s new deferred-prosecution agreement law, prosecutors are not allowed to consider national economic interests when deciding whether to settle with a company.

Once prosecutors decided in early September to move to trial, Ms. Wilson-Raybould told cabinet she felt it was wrong for anyone – including the Prime Minister, members of his staff and other government officials – to raise the issue with her, the source said. Another source added that Ms. Wilson-Raybould would not budge from her position at the cabinet meeting.

The Liberal source said government officials had also proposed an outside panel of legal experts to recommend a solution to the SNC-Lavalin issue, but Ms. Wilson-Raybould rejected the suggestion.

Dear Puglaas

Dear Puglaas:

That’s the name you use on Twitter, and the name you got when you were born: Puglaas.  In the Kwak’wala language, it means “woman born to noble people.”

And noble – in the traditional sense of the word – you certainly are. Daughter of a fearless British Columbia hereditary chief.  Chief Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission.  We Wai Kai Councillor. Regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations. Lawyer, former Crown Attorney.  (Where, incidentally, you learned quite a bit about what “solicitor-client privilege” means.)

The dictionaries define noble as “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.”  And, with each passing day, you have shown all of Canada that you certainly possess fine personal qualities.  High morals and principles and ideals, too.

You have done that in a way that no other politician ever has, really.  You have done that by remaining silent.  You have done that by saying nothing, and by waiting for your moment. 

It is coming.

Your adversaries, meanwhile, have made lots of noise.  They’ve bleated and screeched, like swine being herded onto a slaughterhouse truck.  The analogy is apt.

And, sadly, you do have adversaries, now. People who lied to your face and once told you they are your friends.  They aren’t. They’re liars.  They’re cowards.  Some of them may be actively involved in covering up an obstruction of justice – which, ironically, is an obstruction of justice itself. (Ask James Comey.)

The cowards, last week, included the House of Commons committee that professes to be all about “justice and human rights,” but doesn’t espouse either.  Last week, the Liberal members of that committee actually voted to deny you the opportunity to testify about what you know in the metastasizing SNC-Lavalin obstruction of justice scandal.  They did that, right out in the open. They voted, instead, to shield their political masters in Justin Trudeau’s office, and convene secret meetings.

These are their names: Anthony Housefather, the weakling who leads the committee.  Ali Ehsassi, who is said to be a lawyer, and said this of the alleged obstruction of justice: “there is nothing to be concerned about.”  Colin Fraser, who is thankfully quitting politics, and who also claims to have once practiced criminal law.  A nonentity named Ron McKinnon, who actually said the committee shouldn’t invite any “random people” from PMO to testify – even though the Opposition had a decidedly non-random list, ready to go.

Oh, and Randy Boissonnault and Iqra Khalid.  Those two, in particular, distinguished themselves as Nixonian exemplars.  When this sordid, sickening affair grinds to its inevitable end, in a courtroom somewhere, it is Boissonnault and Khalid who will receive special commendations for unalloyed dishonesty.  Boissonnault, for saying out loud – like Donald Trump, who says it all the time and in what lawyers call “similar fact-situations” – that the whole affair is “a witch hunt.”  He said that, with a straight face.

The disgust this writer feels for Khalid, meanwhile, is somewhat personal.  Some months ago, she and I attended an anti-racism event in East Toronto.  Several racists and Islamophobes showed up, and things got out of hand.  They started moving towards Khalid, so former Liberal MPP Arthur Potts and I stood between her and the racists – to physically protect her, if need be.  To allow her to speak her truth.

But there Khalid was, last week, doing her utmost to prevent you from speaking your truth, Puglaas.  Gagging you, almost literally. Insisting that the committee’s role isn’t to “investigate.” She said that.

The Liberal MPs on the committee were awful.  They were pitiful.  And, in the end, they were only aping the Coward-in-Chief, Justin Trudeau – who, last week in Vancouver, said for the first time that he met with you last Fall to discuss SNC-Lavalin’s desire to escape criminal prosecution.  And who, the very next day in Winnipeg – the next day! – did a whiplash-inducing about-face, and said that he was “perplexed” and “bewildered” you didn’t speak to him about it all.

When he had said, just 24 hours before, that you had.

That makes Justin Trudeau a liar, not a Prime Minister.  That makes his Liberals on the inaptly-named Justice Committee weaklings.  And that makes the spineless factotums in his office – who let you others attack you, anonymously, for being a woman who” is difficult to work with” and “a thorn in the side of cabinet” – even worse. For being an indigenous person who, you know, is a bit too uppity with her betters.

This, from the ones who claimed to be feminists.  This, from the ones who claimed to be on the side of indigenous people.  This, from the ones who promised to bring back ethics and accountability.

Know this, Puglaas. You are beating them – simply by being silent, and by maintaining your dignity, and by waiting for your moment.  You are showing all of the country who you truly are.

What you are, truly, is noble.  And them?

They’re cowards and liars, for whom the end is edging ever-closer.




What #LavScam means, in five points

It’s been going on for more than a week, now, and the outlines of it are already seen.  Five ways in which it is leaving, and will leave, an impact:

  1.  Indigenous people.  I am the proud father to an amazing indigenous young woman; I work with First Nations across Canada.  I am disgusted by what Justin Trudeau did, and is doing, to the amazing indigenous leader named Jody Wilson-Raybould.  Indigenous people do not trust Trudeau, now, and they’re saying so.
  2. Women.  The sexist and condescending way in which Jody has been treated – and still continues to be, as seen in this morning’s Star, and last week in the Canadian Press and Global News – is repellant.  It is noteworthy that the Liberals who are paying tribute to Jody are almost all women – include ones in Trudeau’s cabinet.
  3. The Liberal Party.  This web site attracts four million visitors a year.  On social media, like Twitter, I get about a half-million “impressions” daily.  That’s a fair number of people – and I can tell you that many of my readers are Liberals.  They are telling me they are disgusted by Trudeau and his PMO – and shocked by how badly they have handled this mess (eg. sending out the clueless Justice Committee chair to say Jody didn’t deserve to be in cabinet because she didn’t speak French – which will be a big hit in English Canada).
  4. The Conservatives.  Andrew Scheer knows this is his moment, and he has seized it.  The Tory leader hasn’t looked this determined, this focussed – and frankly this Prime Ministerial – since he became his party’s leader.  Gone is the smirk, and there’s an undeniable gravitas to the guy, now.  For his party, PMO’s attempts to destroy Jody Wilson-Raybould represents an opportunity, too – it allows them to address the allegation that they are indifferent to women and indigenous people.
  5. The New Democrats.  Jagmeet Singh is going to win that by-election in B.C. – because B.C. is sickened by what has been done to Jody.  Meanwhile, his colleague Nathan Cullen has been simply extraordinary in prosecuting the case against the Liberal government – and it will reveal itself in the polls, soon enough. And a rise in NDP fortunes means a drop in Liberal support, always.

Will Justin Trudeau lose the election? It’s too soon to tell.  But the poll I’ve heard about suggests strongly the answer is this:



#LavScam shocker coming

Hearing a poll is coming.

Hearing that the pollster started fielding before #LavScam erupted.

Hearing the pollster was also in the field for two days afterwards – and caught plenty of the negative reactions Canadians are feeling.

Hearing that there has been a significant shift – and not in a good way for Justin Trudeau.

At all.

Dear PMO, cabinet, MPs, et al.

Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.
Let her speak. Let her speak.


#LavScam Toronto Star scoop: Trudeau’s cover-up begins

If Justin Trudeau won’t relieve Jody Wilson-Raybould of her lawyer’s obligation to maintain confidentiality – and if he plans to fight any inquiry into the #LavScam obstruction of justice scandal – we all know what that means.

It means the Nixonian coverup has started.

The Star has the story today, and they’re leading with it.  It’s important.  And it calls to mind what Howard Baker said about Watergate-style cover-ups, and he’d know: “It is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble.”

Here’s the Star story:

OTTAWA—The Liberal government appears likely to block opposition efforts to probe allegations of political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, while insisting that discussions on the matter with former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould were above board.

Justin Trudeau’s government will not yet waive solicitor-client privilege, which would give Wilson-Raybould latitude to speak about the allegation, nor will it permit a parliamentary committee to proceed with its own investigation, the Star has learned.

Wilson-Raybould has remained silent since the Globe and Mail reported Thursday that senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office pressed her to seek mediation instead of pursuing criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin.

The former justice minister — who was moved from her post in January — has refused to confirm or deny the allegations, saying she is bound by solicitor-client privilege.

A senior government official, speaking to the Star on the condition they not be named, said Saturday that the government will not waive the privilege — as demanded by opposition MPs — because SNC-Lavalin’s potential criminal trial remains before the courts. A second government source confirmed that the potential criminal trial, as well as SNC-Lavalin’s appeal of prosecutors’ denial of a mediation deal, makes waiving privilege unlikely.

Nor will the government agree to demands by the Conservatives and New Democrats for an emergency meeting of the Commons justice committee to summon Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau’s top political aides to testify publicly on the affair, the senior source said.

Column: the Canadian connection

It’s the biggest political scandal in the world.

And it involves a bunch of Canadians.

For quite some time now, it’s been known that Vladimir Putin’s Russia – and assorted other outlaw states, like North Korea – have been engaged in acts of cyber-war against democracies around the globe.  Long before Special Counsel Robert Mueller was hired to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, in fact, it was widely accepted that hackers had targeted Western democracy.

In one extraordinary July 2016 press conference at one of his South Florida resorts, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump even said the following: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing…They probably have them. I’d like to have them released.”

Trump had invited a hostile foreign power to hack into the computers of private U.S. citizens.  After his request to his pal Vlad, it should have surprised no one that Russia did precisely that.  They hacked democracy. Trump would go on to “win” the Electoral College with three million fewer votes than his opponent.  Interesting, that.

In the ensuing months, that is what has constituted the broad outlines of this story.  One, the bad guys were Russians, mainly.  Two, the beneficiaries were Trump and his cabal, mostly.  Three, the victims were the legions of normal people who opposed Trump, and who cling to the notion that democracy is worth saving.  And, four, the criminals and the crime were known, too: predominantly anonymous Russian hackers who manipulated less than 80,000 votes in three American states, thereby engineering a “victory” for Trump.

In recent days, however, the story has changed.  The cast of characters has expanded.  So too the victims, and the nature of the alleged crimes.

A few days ago, Canadian Press revealed that the self-proclaimed “whistleblower” in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal was a Canadian who had worked for the Liberal Party of Canada, receiving tens of thousands of dollars to do…well, we don’t know, exactly.  The managing director of the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau says Christopher Wylie was simply “assist[ing] the Liberal Research Bureau in acquiring and setting up social media monitoring tools.”

As benign as that may sound, however, let’s not forget that “acquiring and setting up social media monitoring tools” was also what Putin and Co. were doing, too, for their American pal, the Mango Mussolini.

Wylie claims to be a whistleblower, one who is now profoundly offended by what everyone at Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were doing.  But the unvarnished facts remain: Wylie helped create Cambridge Analytica, he worked there, and he sold the Canadian Liberals (and, later, the U.S. Trumpist Republicans) on making use of personal information appropriated from the profiles of millions upon millions of Facebook users.

And – surprise, surprise – he wasn’t alone.  It turns out a few other Canadians were involved, too, at a shadowy British Columbia-based outfit that called itself AggregateIQ.  Last week, Wylie told British Parliamentarians that AggregateIQ was up to no good, too.

AggregateIQ was co-founded by Canadian Liberals Jeff Silvester and Zack Massingham in Victoria in 2013, Wylie told a British Parliamentary committee – and it worked very closely with Cambridge Analytica’s parent company.  The three companies were allied from 2013 to 2016, influencing vote outcomes in Trinidad and Tobago; Nigeria; the United States; and Britain’s Brexit campaign.

Wylie – in whose mouth the proverbial butter would not melt – told the British MPs that AggregateIQ, which he helped to set up, “really doesn’t consider the ethics of its actions,” adding that the Canadian company would go to considerable lengths “to do what their clients want.”  Up to and including, he said, disseminating videos of people being slaughtered with machetes, to intimidate their votes in the 2014 Nigerian presidential election.

Chistopher Wylie was deeply involved with, and helped to create, Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ.  For him to now claim to be shocked and appalled by their activities stretches credulity to the breaking point.  But, with multiple investigations now underway on two continents – some involving law enforcement – we will all get a truer picture of Wylie’s role, soon enough.

What remains stubbornly unanswered, however, is whether these three young men – Messrs. Wylie, Silvester and Massingham – broke any laws here in Canada. And whether they did so on behalf of the political entity they all supported.

The Liberal Party of Canada.

Column: as with Trump, what if they won by cheating?

It almost seems kind of quaint, doesn’t it?

Back when the Conservative Party was running things, the commentariat were apoplectic about something called CIMS: the Constituent Information Management System (CIMS).

“Tory database draws ire of privacy experts,” went one CTV News headline.  An “unethical invasion of Canadians’ privacy,” thundered Conservative-turned-Liberal MP Garth Turner.  It was “chilling,” warned University of Ottawa privacy expert Michael Geist.

A decade ago, the Conservative Party started using CIMS for targeted appeals to voters, for donations, and to Get Out the Vote on election day.  CIMS relied upon information gleaned from door-to-door canvassing, phone banks and direct mailings to gather information – and it gave the CPC a decided edge, too.

CIMS provided the Conservatives with what is called “psychographic” data – that is, very specific information about a person’s personality and attitudes, their values and interests, and their lifestyle.  It was much more than a voter’s street address, postal code and voting history: CIMS offered the Tories data about a person’s IAOs – their Interests, Attitudes and Opinions.

The value of all that stuff was certainly apparent to the Liberals and the New Democrats, who started to lose to the Conservatives right around the time that the CIMS machine was humming away in a CPC backroom.  CIMS gave Harper’s team a better way to identify supporters, and communicate with them.  It also gave them a means to micro-target and then mobilize supporters and potential supporters.

As noted, CIMS seems a bit old-fashioned now, like dial-up modems and Blackberries.  It has been overtaken by something that is far more invasive, and far more dangerous.  And it has a moonish, bland face: Christopher Wylie.

He’s a Canadian, as the entire planet knows by now.  Among other things, he has hammered the reputation of one of the biggest companies on Earth (Facebook), he has gutted the markets ($50 billion, from Facebook) with his revelations about illicit/illegal activity, and he has set off a firestorm in political capitals around the world (Washington, Ottawa and London, all focusing on Facebook).

He calls himself a whistleblower, but that seems to be a bit of mendacious spin and proactive self-preservation.  In reality, Wylie was the guy who helped create the companies which stole highly personal information about millions upon millions of voters.

And he did that kind of work for the Liberal Party of Canada, too, for successive Liberal leaders.  Including the current one.  The Prime Minister.

For the record: during the blessedly brief period when I was advising Michael Ignatieff, I did not ever meet young Mr. Wylie.  I am told now that he hung out with what I called the propeller-heads – the ones who manipulated data down in the bowels of the various offices of the Leader of the Opposition.

No one in Liberaldom wants to admit to knowing Wylie these days, of course, because they correctly sense that a genuine scandal is in the offing.  The guy who helped engineer one of the biggest data breaches in human history worked, as it turned out, for them.

Usually, when an individual has become radioactive, politicos adopt a standardized approach.  The revolving-door Trump White House uses it quite a bit.  First, claim the individual in question was “just a volunteer,” nothing more.  If that doesn’t work, insist the aforementioned individual is unimportant, a “coffee boy,” in effect.  And if none of that works – and it rarely does – join the pile-on, and say, with a straight face, that the President/Prime Minister/Potentate “never met with this person, and is cooperating with police.”

Pat Sorbara was the Grits’ 2011 deputy campaign boss – and, in 2014, a very senior campaign advisor to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.  She is one of the few who has been willing to speak about Wylie on the record.  Wylie was “way ahead of his time,” Sorbara marveled in the Globe.  The two of them spitballed various microtargeting techniques.

“[Sorbara] was impressed by his ideas,” reported the Globe and Mail, “but said that after his initial presentation she had to reject his proposals owing to a lack of time and resources.”  So the story changes, yet again: the Ignatieff Liberals didn’t reject Wylie because what he was suggesting was unethical and possibly illegal.

No, they didn’t use him because they couldn’t afford it.

Regrettably for Ignatieff’s successor, that all changed in 2016.  In that year, Christopher Wylie was paid at least $100,000 by Trudeau’s own political hit squad – the Liberal Caucus Services Bureau.  It is impossible to claim that the bespectacled, cherubic computer whiz with the technicolour tresses is a mere coffee boy – as the Trudeau spinners initially did – because they paid him, they now admit, $100,000.

That’s more than what most of their full-time tech folks are paid in a year, Virginia.  And that, therefore, has all the makings of a full-blown scandal.

Stephen Harper, sitting in a Calgary office tower looking at the yellowed press clippings about the scandal that was CIMS, must be having a good old chuckle.