, 01.04.2018 11:27 AM

L’Affaire Boyle: who knew, and when did they know it?

…and if they didn’t know, why didn’t they know?

A snippet from next week’s column, about this mess:

Sure, it seems likely that Joshua Boyle was under criminal investigation when he and his wife and kids met with Justin Trudeau.  It’s obvious, however, that Trudeau didn’t know that: there isn’t a political advisor alive – outside of Donald Trump’s circle, that is – who would knowingly put his or her boss in a meeting with a criminal, or a soon-to-be-alleged one.

It was in Joshua Boyle’s interest to get those photos published, because they potentially put a Crown prosecutor in a bit of a bind.  So we know Boyle didn’t tell Trudeau what was coming, in just two week’s time.

But what of the RCMP?  What of the Privy Council Office, Trudeau’s personal bureaucracy?  Didn’t they know?  Why not, if not?  And if they did, why didn’t they warn Trudeau not to meet with Joshua Boyle?

If the Mounties knew Boyle was about to be charged, and declined to tell Trudeau’s staff, it would be a massive scandal – but not the first time it has happened.  During this writer’s tenure on the Hill, it was well-known that the RCMP, CSIS and/or the uniformed guys and gals at the department of National Defence would sometimes place their political masters in harm’s way, so as to (a) be rid of them or (b) acquire leverage to be deployed at budget time or whatever.

What do you think, O Smart Readers? A grand conspiracy, or a garden-variety cock-up?


  1. Montréalaise says:

    Is it possible that Justin Trudeau was advised about the criminal investigation and decided to meet Boyle and his family anyway? I know it’s hard to believe, but then I find it hard to believe that nobody in the PMO didn’t warn him that accepting freebie vacations from the Aga Khan was a really bad idea.

    • David Ray says:

      but but now wait what what about that bout about you what what about that huh well what about that you know about that and that well what about that to huh wellwhatabout?

    • Jinxed says:

      I believe it’s quite possible that Trudeau was advised not to meet him, but did anyway. He can’t say no to a photo op.

      I think most people knew this guy was a sketchy character from the start … married to a Khadr, backpacking through Taliban-held territory with a pregnant wife, having 2 more kids while being held hostage. Even without the criminal charges, there were red flags all over the place and everyone could see that … everyone but Trudeau, it seems.

    • Matt says:

      Sure it’s possible.

      And the fact the PMO is refusing to comment when asked if they knew about the criminal investigation prior to Trudeau meeting Boyle is as good as an admission they did.

      Because if they didn’t, why not just come out and say so.

      Canadian media are so focused on who has dirt on Trump, maybe they should start wondering who has dirt on Trudeau.

  2. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    I see this as a gesture of kinship on the part of the PM with someone that was held by terrorists. While it’s unlikely NO ONE knew what was going on, it may have been vague enough that it did not raise many (if any) red flags.

    I don’t see this sticking much to the PM. Nothing has, really.
    Something will some day, but it will have to be a huge, massive scandal, not picayune stuff like a visit to the Aga Khan or whatnot.

    Bottom line is, Andrew Scheer isn’t really bringing a palatable counter-offer at the moment, and the NDP is dead. Only voting possibilities are Liberals or Greens. Living in QC, Block hasn’t been an option since Lucien Bouchard, at the very least.

  3. JH says:

    and if you’re as addicted to selfies and self-promotion as this guy would that have stopped him? Not the first time he created his own negative PR.

  4. Matt says:

    To me, it’s not even about the crimial charges Boyle is now facing and who knew what when.

    This guys history – marriage to Khadr’s terrorist loving sister and his hostage story that has more holes than a 1 million pound block of swiss cheese – SHOULD have meant the meeting was a no go.

    Personally, I think Trudeau decided to meet him all on his own and intended to keep it secret. NO record of a meeting in Trudeau’s daily itinerary. And for a guy like Trudeau who loves his photo ops so much he stages “spontaneous” ones, no sign of his official photographer or any other government photographer in sight. All photos of the meeting were Boyles.

    And while we’re at it, why did Trudeau meet with this idiot in 2006?

  5. Matt says:

    The latest PMO excuse for the meeting is 100% bullshit.

    They are now claiming Trudeau was simply continuing the tradition of recent PM’s who met with freed hostages.

    Yeah, um…. no.

    Harper had no meetings with freed hostages. He had phone conversations with James Loney (released from Iraq in 2006), Mellissa Fung (released from Afghanistan in 2008), and Bob Fowler and Louis Guay (released from West Africa in 2009).

    And yesterday former Liberal MP Dan McTeague who was point man for hostage situations while parliamentary secretary to PM Paul Martin said there were NO meetings with freed hostages he could recall under Martin or Chretien.

  6. Matt says:

    Interesting to Boyle has the cash to hire a high powered Ottawa defense lawyer with a history of defeding terrorists.

    Also, a story was published yesterday that when Boyle and his family moved into their Ottawa apartment a month ago they slipped a note under all their neighbours doors asking for someone to give the family access to a neighbours wifi conection so the Boyles could use the internet.


    Boyle worried CSIS or RCMP would be monitoring his connection? He want to use a neighbours internet to communicate with his terrorist pals?

  7. Charlie says:

    This whole situation is a shit-show.

    I don’t see how someone shouldn’t lose their job over this. Someone, from the start to end of the decision making process here, had to have known that this guy is a sketch-bag and should be avoided.

    The PMO is lucky that there is such a vacuum of information right now, because this is such horrible optics.

    If someone in the RCMP neglected to inform the PMO, then that person needs to be relieved of their duties. If someone in the PMO decided this was good thing to do, despite knowing, then they too need to be shown the door. If it turns out the PM was notified by authorities, then he needs to answer in the House why he chose to do something so dumb.

    You can’t brush this one off as an awkward incident. When more information begins to emerge – which it will – someone is going to look like an idiot and the situation will inevitably turn into a scandal.

    Conservatives are already seizing onto this as an opportunity to hit the Omar Khadr well; any excuse will do for them.

  8. Sean McLaughlin says:

    This guy is not Maher Arar and “backpacking in Afghanistan” is as good of a euphemism for joining up with radical Islamists as I’ve ever heard. Go ahead and fire whoever put this on the books, but JT personally should’ve known better than to meet with these people.

  9. John W. says:

    If the media knew all this stuff at the time of the Trudeau meeting why didn’t they say anything?
    Did any Ottawa writer issue a warning AT the TIME?

  10. Montrealaise says:

    Warren writes “It was in Joshua Boyle’s interest to get those photos published… So we know Boyle didn’t tell Trudeau what was coming, in just two week’s time”. Boyle has stated that he requested the meeting and posted those photographs on his Twitter account – he comes across as cunning and manipulative, and Trudeau comes off as naïve and gullible. Not a good look for a Prime Minister.

  11. Brace Ourselves says:

    I wonder how the Toronto Star will play this one. Might there still be a way to blame Stephen Harper?

  12. Rich W says:

    If I remember correctly, it was widely reported in the news that Boyle had been married to one of the Arar family, had an interest in ISIS related activities and deliberately went to the dangerous area with his family.
    Why would any PM be interested in cozying up to a person who was willing to place his family in mortal danger , or who was possibly an ISIS sympathizer, and had leanings that were somewhat suspicious given his connections to the Arars? Any one of the above should have have represented a red light flashing “Danger!”.
    All of this was widely published . I strongly believe Trudeau must have known some of this and should have acted in a reasonable and prudent manner. It seems like grandstanding and attention seeking gone awry.

    • Pedant says:

      Trudeau doesn’t really seem to know anything, so why would he know that particular fact? I’m not saying this facetiously. He reminds me increasingly of Sarah Palin. Just doesn’t know anything.

      And Boyle was married to a Khadr, not to an Arar.

      • Montrealaise says:

        In 2001, Trudeau tweeted “I don’t read the newspapers, I don’t watch the news. If something important happens, someone will tell me”. It reminds me of Sarah Palin, who when asked by Katie Couric which newspapers she reads, couldn’t name a single one. If this is still true and he doesn’t follow the news (!), one would have thought that someone else in the PMO does read newspapers and watches the news closely.

    • Kevin says:

      Married to one of the Arar family? My, my. Chap does get around.

    • Matt says:

      Not the Arar family.

      He was married to Omar Khadr’s sister.

    • Montrealaise says:

      You mean “Khadr” not “Arar”. Otherwise, you make excellent points.

      • Rich W says:

        To all above….yes, I was wrong about the family name, I apologize.
        The PM needs to make an expansive apology to cover all the bases posters have mentioned and to reassure Canadians that this sort of thing will not happen again.
        His actions so far have not been trivial.

  13. Pedant says:

    So our PM welcomes radical Islamists with women issues (read all about Boyle’s hostage-like control over his suffering wife) to Parliament Hill with open arms while, around the same time, sporting clothing that mocks the largest faith group in the country.

    Just whose interests is T2 looking out for?

    • Montrealaise says:

      I’ve read those news reports about how he controls his wife – she is only allowed to speak when he says so, and then only what he tells her to say. I think the mere fact that he persuaded his pregnant wife to go into a war zone with him – in Taliban-controlled territory and far from modern medical help – is a form of abuse. How can Trudeau call himself a feminist and then welcome a man who treats his wife so badly?

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