Above: a Trudeau supporter physically attacks a protestor at Justin Trudeau’s rally in Toronto last night. Where – I’m not making this up! – they played Michael Jackson songs – on the same night ‘Leaving Neverland’ was airing.
And the great reviews keep rolling in!
- Globe Ipsos poll: “Most Canadians side with Wilson-Raybould, believe Trudeau has lost moral authority to govern: Ipsos poll…A majority of Canadians are keeping tabs on the SNC-Lavalin affair and that doesn’t bode well for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News. If an election were held tomorrow, Trudeau would receive only 31 per cent of the decided popular vote — down three points from a couple of weeks ago — while Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer would receive 40 per cent, according to the poll of 1,000 Canadians carried out between March 1 and March 4….“This is the first time we’ve actually seen the Conservative Party resuscitated and looking like they could potentially form the government,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. “The Liberals, on the other hand, have been dropping precipitously over the space of the last few weeks. The question is have they hit bottom yet?”
• Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star: “Justin Trudeau has no political playbook to counter this rare implosion…Philpott has exited Trudeau’s cabinet in the same way that Jody Wilson-Raybould bolted: explosively, unexpectedly and clearly in full recognition of the massive damage it would cause to the boss, the government and the chances of the Liberals being re-elected this fall. Together, they are a double-barrelled shot to the heart of all that was supposed to be the shiny new brand of the Trudeau government: one far more friendly to women, Indigenous people and rookie politicians such as Philpott and Wilson-Raybould.”
- Chantal Hebert, Star: “Justin Trudeau was damaged goods before Treasury Board President Jane Philpott followed her friend and former colleague Jody Wilson-Raybould out of his cabinet. It is far from certain that he can recover from this latest blow to his moral authority and repair his reputation as a competent prime minister in time for the election. [Losing Philpott may be] politically fatal. It certainly screams ineptitude at crisis management on the part of a prime minister. With Philpott’s resignation — offered in support of Wilson-Raybould — the SNC-Lavalin affair enters a new lethal phase for the prime minister. Until further notice, all bets are off as to its outcome.”
- Star editorial board: “So far the prime minister has failed to present a robust counter-narrative to the damning story about political interference in judicial matters told by his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould…It’s plain that Trudeau’s commitment to a gender-balanced cabinet and to making progress on Indigenous affairs had significance that eluded him at the time. He ended up with ministers at the cabinet table who took his rhetoric about change seriously and weren’t prepared to compromise their principles just to get along. There is abundant irony in how Trudeau’s professed principles have come back to bite him in unexpected ways.”
- Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail: “Losing one cabinet minister who resigns on principle can be considered a misfortune. Losing two smacks of crisis. If any other cabinet minister had quit Justin Trudeau’s cabinet after Jody Wilson-Raybould’s stand in the SNC-Lavalin affair, it would have been bad. When it is Jane Philpott, a paragon of principle who is no pie-eyed dreamer, it is Mr. Trudeau’s government falling apart from the inside.”
- John Ibbitson, Globe: “This is a civil war, one Mr. Trudeau may not survive. Just to start, what kind of government shuffles its cabinet three times in two months? There are those who say the SNC-Lavalin scandal is a tempest in a teacup – or a nothingburger, to update the cliché. No it’s not. Granted, most people don’t follow the day-to-day jousts of the blood sport known as politics. But this is a political crisis like no other, because of the characters involved…We are witnessing a personal vote of non-confidence in the Prime Minister by some of his most senior cabinet ministers, based on his handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, but also over disillusion with Mr. Trudeau’s leadership.”
- Lori Turnbull, Globe: “Ms. Philpott’s resignation from cabinet is nothing short of catastrophic for the government…One effect of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony is that there’s now a clear line in the sand and the beginnings of a civil war in the Liberal fold. The grey area in which MPs could plead to be both loyal to the Prime Minister and sympathetic to Jody Wilson-Raybould is quickly disappearing. They have to choose a side. Ms. Philpott has made hers clear. If others follow her lead, the Prime Minister’s confidence problem worsens.”
- Matt Gurney, National Post: “It’s not just the women quitting in disgust that’s going to cause Prime Minister Justin Trudeau so much trouble. That’s bad enough, to be sure. But it’s what they’re saying as they head out the door that’ll do the real damage…Philpott’s been watching and learning. She’s seen what happened to Wilson-Raybould. She did this anyway, and at a time and place of her choosing, even after the Liberals tried to hurt Wilson-Raybould’s reputation with whispers, whispers that got so bad Trudeau felt compelled to apologize for what his own colleagues were saying. Philpott knew that might be coming, so she made her case clear as day — and it’s devastating for Trudeau. Like I said, Liberals — have fun spinning this one.”
- Kelly McParland, Post: “Justin Trudeau wanted strong women. He sure got ’em. That they’ve found him wanting and are willing to say so is proof of his success. It clearly never occurred to him they might take their job seriously enough to question his own performance…It turns out women really aren’t just like men, and aren’t necessarily afraid to stand by their beliefs. Philpott’s public declaration that she no longer has confidence in the prime minister — specifically his handling of the SNC-Lavalin controversy — is as damaging an assertion as can be made by a senior government minister against her leader. As she points out in her resignation letter, “the constitutional convention of Cabinet solidarity means, among other things, that ministers are expected to defend all Cabinet decisions. A minister must always be prepared to defend other ministers publicly, and must speak in support of the government and its policies.” Given the convention “and the current circumstances, “ she writes “it is untenable for me to continue to serve as a Cabinet minister.”
- Brian Lilley, Toronto Sun: “For a government that has branded itself as feminist, as gender balanced, as supportive of women, the loss of yet another powerful woman around the cabinet table is beyond bad news. On the SNC-Lavalin file, the Trudeau Liberals have shown that they don’t know what “no” actually means and now the women in the party are fighting back. Losing Philpott is no small matter for Justin Trudeau.”
- Robyn Urback, CBC News: “If Jane Philpott doesn’t have confidence in Justin Trudeau, why should anyone else?…A million more Freeland-type ovations can’t undo what Philpott did in a few hundred words: she told the doe-eyed #TeamTrudeau hangers-on that their faith in this government is misplaced. And she said she would not be able to fulfil her duties as a minister if it meant publicly defending the government. That’s a devastating message from her especially; Philpott is capable, venerable and widely respected both in and out of Liberal circles. She can’t be written off as a cabinet minister disgruntled about a demotion or an opposition leader out for blood. Philpott is a Liberal — a widely admired one — and she doesn’t have faith in the prime minister. And if she doesn’t, as someone privy to the conversations around the cabinet table about this whole affair, why should anyone else?”
- Paul Wells, Maclean’s: “With Jane Philpott’s resignation from the cabinet, Justin Trudeau’s government is now in a crisis that ranks with the coalition challenge to Stephen Harper in 2008 and Jean Chrétien’s dismissal of Paul Martin in 2002. That probably understates matters, actually: Those two previous shocks were about ambition; they engaged matters of principle almost by accident. This one is a direct challenge to a government by two (and counting?) ministers with no perceptible ambitions beyond their former posts—though buckle up, because they’ll both be accused of scheming—on the gravest grounds of ethics….Every cabinet minister, and every Liberal member of Parliament, has a decision to make right now. Today. We are about to find out who is serious, and who merely plays serious on Instagram…A country gets into trouble when it turns every question into an electoral question. The party stripe of the government is not the only interesting question. Here’s another: is the government we have, the Prime Minister we have, so deep in moral denial that they can never find their way back?”