, 05.04.2019 05:25 PM

My latest: Trudeau, Liberals, and the inevitable sinking ship metaphor

Cue the soundtrack from Titanic.

Once upon a time, Andrew Leslie was a star Liberal Party candidate. A decorated former commander of the Canadian Armed Forces, Leslie was hailed by Justin Trudeau as proof the Liberals were pro-military.

Way back in 2013, when Trudeau named the 35-year veteran to an advisory committee on international affairs, he said as much.

Having Leslie around showed “a tremendous amount of support and pride for our Canadian Forces,” Trudeau said.

Well, that was then, this is now.

Lots of people thought Leslie was a shoo-in for a senior cabinet post. But it was not to be. Trudeau made Leslie whip, which is the Parliamentary equivalent of a hall monitor. But he never bestowed on Leslie a senior cabinet minister post.

Now we may have learned why.

On Friday, CTV revealed that Leslie is readying to testify in the sensational trial of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman — and against the Trudeau government, no less.

The shocking revelation is bad, bad news for the Trudeau regime. But it’s good news for those of us who still believe in the Rule of Law. And it certainly suggests that Andrew Leslie deserved to be a minister.

Adam Vaughan probably felt he deserved one, too. The former Toronto city councillor was recruited by Trudeau with great fanfare back in 2014. It was a big deal.

Trudeau’s factotums even leaked news of Vaughan’s candidacy to the Toronto Star, which dutifully ran it on the front page like it was a moon landing.

“Adam Vaughan’s decision to seek the Liberal nomination in the Trinity-Spadina by-election was sealed with a handshake over lunch at Le Select Bistro!” the Star gushed. “There’s no question (recruiting Vaughan) is a coup for Justin Trudeau!”

After reading that, Adam Vaughan could be forgiven for thinking he was destined for ministerial limousines and a “P.C.” appended to his surname. But, like Andrew Leslie, it was not to be.

The closest Vaughan ever got to the big leagues was “Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs.” Which, as we say back home in Calgary, is a title that is all hat but no cattle. It’s the square root of diddly.

Bill Blair too. Recruited with fanfare by Trudeau and his fart-catchers, then dropped into the anonymity of the Liberal backbench for years.

A former Toronto Police chief, Blair achieved distinction for overseeing the largest abridgement of civil rights in modern Canadian history, during the G20 summit in 2010. Trudeau — whose family had hands-on experience with abridging civil rights, too — was unperturbed.

“Mr. Blair was a first responder for over 39 years and having him by my side…emphasizes how seriously we take the responsibility of service in this party,” Trudeau said.

And, then, poof! Bill Blair disappeared.

Along with Leslie, other Liberal MPs are disappearing, too. At the moment, a total of 18 ridings won’t have an incumbent Liberal on the ballot in the Fall.

Scott Brison, whose sudden resignation gave Trudeau the pretext to jettison Jody Wilson-Raybould, has decided to spend more time with his family back in Nova Scotia. Same with Bill Casey, Mark Eyking, Colin Fraser and Rodger Cuzner — all Nova Scotia Liberal MPs, all choosing discretion over valour.

Thunder Bay Liberal MP Don Rusnak. Newmarket’s Kyle Peterson. Quebec’s invisible Grit MP, Nicola Di Iorio. The fearless and principled Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who was rightly disgusted by Trudeau’s grubby efforts to secure a sweetheart deal for SNC-Lavalin in court. She’s leaving, too.

Oh, and Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott — the two ministers who resigned from Trudeau’s cabinet because they could no longer abide the corruption and cronyism. And who were later kicked out of caucus by Trudeau for telling the truth to power. Liberals no more.

Trudeau’s spinners, naturally, are all insisting the departures are natural and normal.

The rest of us, meanwhile, can be forgiven for wondering whether the S.S. Trudeau is cruising towards the proverbial iceberg.

And whether those 18 Liberal MPs have decided, wisely, to abandon ship.


  1. the real Sean says:

    Indeed… If you take a casual look at the bios of some Liberal back benchers, it is remarkable how many weighty, powerful resumes were left left out of cabinet. You could make an argument that it was one of the most qualified back benches ever. Serious people who any normal PM would easily have wanted in cabinet. Then contrast with at least 7-8 Cabinet members who couldn’t be relied upon to organize the parking lot at the Letterkenny rummage sale.

    • Joseph Taylor says:

      Justin Trudeau actually undermines womens’ success when he appoints under qualified, political rookies, like Maryam Monsef, Patty Hadju and Diane Leboutillier to ministerial positions over people more qualified people like Andrew Leslie. Everybody knows there are people in his cabinet who are only there because of what’s between their legs when he mandates a gender balanced cabinet. Even if you are a star female candidate how can it not undermine your confidence if in the back of your mind you wonder whether you actually earned it or whether you are just filling out a diversity quota?

      • Fred from BC says:

        Totally agree…it was a complete disaster right from the start, and one that he is seemingly proud of even now, for some strange reason.

        Sean’s point is also a good one, and actually makes things even worse: to already have the talent, and not use it? Total rookie move. Either his advisors are idiots or he just refuses to listen to them.

      • Fred from BC says:

        Totally agree…it was a complete disaster right from the start, and one that he is seemingly proud of even now, for some strange reason.

        Sean’s point is also a good one, and actually makes things even worse: to already have the talent at your disposal, but *choose* not to use it? Total rookie move. Either his advisors are idiots or he just refuses to listen to them.

      • Montrealaise says:

        Agree – putting an under qualified, incompetent woman in a position of authority, where she will inevitably fail, simply gives ammunition to the misogynists who believe that women are unfit for such positions.

      • Angel Martin says:

        You forgot Melanie Joly

        • Fred from BC says:

          “You forgot Melanie Joly”

          There was one other that I Googled (I think she was Indian) last year. Her ‘qualifications’ for office seemed to be that she was a housewife, and may have volunteered at local community events once or twice. Can’t remember the name…

  2. wes w says:

    That’s what happens when you prioritize a gender balanced cabinet above all other considerations.

  3. Fred J Pertanson says:

    Don’t forget Brison quickly took a job in Toronto with BMO – and don’t forget the BMO connection with SNC-L.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “This is/was not the purchase of three used nuclear submarines from Britain that are money holes. ”

      Diesel-electric submarines. We *should* have bought the nuclear 688 class boat to allow us to operate under the arctic ice, but didn’t.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        In an ideal world, Yes. But just look at the latest Russian sub that the Americans can’t find at least one third of the time. A middle power like Canada shouldn’t be paying that kind of big bucks when technology moves so fast and renders even nuclear duds almost obsolete within years. Ditto for the F35.

        • Fred from BC says:

          You mean the Lada? It’s a paper tiger, sorry…they can’t even get their AIP technology to work (at least not until 2021), so they released the first of the class as a diesel-electric …which is quiet, sure, but the Germans and the Dutch already have really stealthy non-nuclear boats of their own with superior technology (let’s face it: the Russians just can’t afford to play this game anymore no matter how hard they try to fake it).

          And even if they finally do get the things to work properly, so what? None of the submarines mentioned above are blue-water capable, meaning they could only be used for coastal defense. Nuclear boats rule, and the Americans have the best; the Europeans are building these high-tech diesel-electric and AIP submarines only because they either can’t afford nuclear or don’t need the range or speed nuke boats provide.

          Also, don’t believe the hype about not being able to find and track the Lada; the Americans not only have the best submarines…they have the best *technology* to go with them. (the US military will sometimes ‘leak’ concerns about new foreign warships/aircraft/tanks/missles etc only to get the public worried enough to support budget and/or procurement increases).

          The reason Canada should have bought the used LA class boat was strictly for its under-ice capabilities (the 688i). If arctic sovereignty is an issue, that’s the *only* way to enforce it; if other nations can traverse our waters undetected and unchallenged enough times they can actually build a ‘right of navigation’ case against us and we can lose our claim to the waters (and all the riches therein).

          As for the F-35, Canada is a partner in the development and construction of it, so it’s kinda stupid to be buying used (and older) equipment from other nations in my opinion. Either buy the F-35 *that we are already heavily invested in*, or pull out of the partnership and go a different direction.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:


          Your knowledge is far superior to mine. Most impressive.

  4. Robbie says:

    Pierre told his biographer none of his sons were bright enough for a political career, but his daughter would be. He got that right – in spades!

  5. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Your heart is far more generous than mine. Those 18 departing MPs will only be wise when each and every one of them publicly explains the true reasons behind their decision not to run again under the Liberal banner.

    • Fred from BC says:

      The last line was the most powerful statement in the whole column, to me. I had no idea that we were now up to 18 MPs leaving; what is that, 1/10th of his caucus or so? Damn…

  6. Max says:

    Justin’s ‘bait and switch’ M.O. to recruit strong candidates won’t work this time. Makes me wonder if Morneau will stick around. He’ll surely resign if he’s not in cabinet post-election. Let’s hope MPs like Leslie sit on their hands this campaign.

    • Joseph Taylor says:

      Bill Morneau is rated one of the worst parliamentarians year after year in surveys on MPs so it’s not like he doesn’t deserve it.

  7. Mark says:

    Need to point out that last week Eric Grenier analyzed departing incumbants over the years in contrast with sitting Libs who have announced their departures from the HOC, and his conclusion thus far is that these numbers are at the lower end of the norm.

    • Adam says:

      Of course he would. That’s just how the media spin it.

      The NDP loses incumbents? Media: “OMG they’re so doomed! Everybody point and laugh!”

      The Liberals lose incumbents? Media: “Nah it’s nothing, they’re fine, keep voting for them lest these other lesser humans get into power.”

  8. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I imagine many Canadians are like me: Mother Corp mouthpieces don’t influence how I vote. I won’t be swayed by Ian, Adrienne, Rosie or Andrew — or any other anchor, so who cares what the CBC puts out. Ditto for the late Sun News, etc.

    • Adam says:

      That’s true for you and many others in the bubble of politically tuned-in people. But that bubble is small. Many Canadians care little to nothing for politics, and thus let the media analyze it for them in lieu of caring.

  9. Dawn Mills says:

    Tough to read the garbage about the loud mouthed blowhard Vaughan. Glad he is in Ottawa where all he can do is blather on with his silly inane ideas which thankfully will come to nothing. When he was on Toronto City Council he actually had influence.
    Makes me think maybe JT isn’t so bad after all…nah.

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