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Wednesday
Apr032019

It Was Inevitable

Certainly no one can be surprised that Trudeau expelled Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from the Liberal caucus. It not only was a long time coming, it was long overdue.

For the Liberal Party to move forward into election gear they had to put this behind them and in particular the actions of Wilson-Raybould were damaging the brand of the PM and the Party.

We can argue all day long as to who was right or wrong or who said what to who; but in the end they had to go. The two ex-ministers conducted a well-executed PR game that kept this story front and center for almost two months and the public focused on the infighting as opposed to Liberal policy initiatives. For example, does anyone remember what was in the budget?

The PM was right when he said that as a member of caucus you have certain obligations. It certainly is not your “right” to sit in caucus, especially a government caucus. When you openly attack the PM on almost a daily basis, don’t expect the PM to place nice either.

For the opposition parties who have had fun with this issue, it’s time to get back to realty as well. Back to election prep, back to attacking Liberal policies and back to trying to convince voters (at least for the Conservatives) that they are a government in waiting. Just how long do the Conservatives think Harper or Mulroney would have left two MPs sit in caucus while they sniped almost daily at their Leader.

When you cut through all of the opposition BS around this issue, The Liberals did what any political party going into an election would do; it was inevitable. The only surprise is that it took so long for the PM to act.

Thursday
Mar282019

Plausible Deniability

For political staff protecting the Leader is key.

Today the latest stink is all about who leaked information about the appointment of a judge and the counter accusations flying back and forth.

Even Justice Minister Lametti has expressed his concern, yet true to form (he has been pretty useless to date) he has done nothing to find the source of the leak.

A very small group of people would have been aware of the discussions around the judge’s appointment. Lametti can call in the RCMP if he so choses, unless of course he is concerned about what they might find.

When a minister or in this case PMO is under siege, staff tend to get a bunker mentality. Taking hits day after day is exhausting and this PMO wouldn’t be the first one to show signs of stress. When that happens the right decision is not always made.

There is a term that gets used from time to time by staff- “plausible deniability.”

This is when the boss be it a minister or Prime Minister wants an issue to go away. Staff then take action (perhaps a leak to a friendly reporter or two) but do not tell their boss exactly how or what was done. This way if the issue backfires and explodes in the media, the Prime Minister or minister can honestly deny knowing anything about it. Is this what we are seeing now? Somewhere down the road the truth will come out.

Should there be an investigation, it is the staffer who takes the fall, because in the end it is always about protecting the leader.

Wednesday
Mar132019

Is There Something to Hide?

So, what do the Liberals have to hide?

It certainly looks like they need to hide something when you consider how fast they shut down the emergency meeting of the Justice Committee.

At this point it looks like Trudeau has decided to double down and dig in and simply take his lumps on the SNC-Lavalin mess.

No doubt part of this is due to March break. There is no daily Question Period to give the opposition plenty of media coverage. Most voters are distracted, kids are home from school or the whole family is off on a holiday. Other than those in the Ottawa bubble, he is gambling most Canadians aren’t paying close attention at the moment. He is probably right.

In what has turned into “Round Two” of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, this is the first shoe to drop. What is the second?

Could it be bouncing the two former ministers from caucus? For all of the above reasons this is a good time to it. MPs are away, including those in his own caucus and by the time they return; any major media hits would be over. MPs can be reminded about who has to sign their nomination papers and either line up behind Trudeau or face the same as the former ministers. Judging by the parroting of Liberal talk points from ministers recently pledging their fealty to the PM; do you think there will be an outcry from sitting Liberal MPs?

Besides, there is always another story to change the channel- just look at the Boeing aircraft coverage today.

The best channel changer will be the budget and all of its pre-election goodies. Add in a few days of leaks around the budget and the Liberals can bury the former AG with other news. Then at the next few meetings of the Justice Committee the Liberal majority can keep shutting opposition motions down. After awhile it will get boring for all concerned, including the media.

As for all of the calls for a public inquiry that one is dead in the water. No Prime Minister facing what the Liberals are facing and knowing that the potential witness list would have to testify under oath will ever agree to one. A public inquiry is one more Opposition pipe dream.

It is not a bad gamble on his part providing more details around the SNC-Lavalin story and political interference don’t come out.

There are only 50 days of Question Period left and 10 of those are on a Friday, so really 40 days to worry about. With interest about to shift for a week or two to the budget, he could hang tough before the summer recess and the real election campaigning gears up.

Trudeau likes to surprise people and show how tough he can be- remember the boxing match.

Perhaps what we saw today was Trudeau trying to box himself out of a corner. The opposition will be hard pressed to prevent it.

Monday
Mar112019

Seriously- A Conservative Petition Supporting a Liberal MP?

As Preposterous as it sounds, we have a Conservative Party petition supporting a former Liberal cabinet minister who is still a sitting Liberal MP.

The covering note also suggests that the former Attorney-General speaks the truth- at least according to the Conservatives.

“Canadians need to hear from Jody Wilson-Raybould. Justin Trudeau must waive solicitor-client privilege so she can speak the truth.”

While I happen to be one of those who believe her, isn’t it a little early to have decided politically that only her side of the story is the truth? Aren’t there already demands for a public inquiry? Isn’t this petition stepping on that strategy? Who has a better chance of getting to the truth- a Justice Committee with a majority of Liberal MPs or a public inquiry with witnesses under oath?

How did the Conservatives come up with this petition idea? Seriously, who thought up and who approved of this petition?

Can you imagine Mulroney, Clark or Harper asking their team to put together a petition to support a sitting Liberal MP and former minister?

Outside of a short-term immediate media hit what did the Conservatives get out of this idea? 

Everyone in the media and in the Liberal Party know that the vast majority of those signing it are Conservative supporters hoping to embarrass Trudeau, especially as we all got an email asking us to go sign. So politically it is not that exciting, nor will it have any impact on Trudeau or the PMO.

It looks like it is part of a short-term strategy (which the Conservatives seem to have a habit of doing) to get another hit on the PM at almost any cost. Other examples include the very premature demand that Trudeau resign over SNC-Lavalin when we don’t know all the details.

Who in the OLO is looking at the potential long-range implications of the Conservative Party (Wilson-Raybould’s political opponents) declaring Wilson-Raybould speaks the truth?

Outside of the fact that we haven’t heard the whole story yet, stop and think long term too.

Try the “What If Game”.

What if Trudeau is defeated in October.

What if Trudeau actually does resign in the near future over this scandal?

What if the Liberals then hold a leadership convention and Jody Wilson-Raybould enters and wins and becomes the next Liberal PM?

The Conservative Party is on the record as saying that she can be counted on to speak the truth.

Now won’t that make for an interesting Question Period.

 

 

Tuesday
Mar052019

A QUICK REVIEW

As the Liberals are once again plunged into damage control mode, I thought it would be fun to look back at previous comments.

February 28th

Can the Liberals leave an obviously upset MP, who has been widely quoted (with very damaging content) in caucus where she might inspire others to speak out as well? Probably not and a first step would be to remove her from caucus.

Remains an issue that Trudeau tries to sidestep each day compounded by the resignation of his second senior minister. He essentially waited too long to act. One ex-minister he could kick out of caucus, two he might have to live with them in caucus.

The clamor for the former AG to be allowed to speak fully and with no restrictions will build. Denying her that right makes the Liberals and the PM look guilty. That will play out over many weeks. The same is true with demands for a full public inquiry.

No change here and the situation worsens for the Liberals every day. The demand for a full public inquiry strengthens with each passing day and as more information comes out about the actions of PMO in the SNC-Lavalin case.

The committee will be demanding to see many more witnesses implicated in her testimony. A smart opposition can drag those requests out for weeks, even months- just look back at Shawinagate and the Sponsorship Scandal.

The Clerk has been recalled for further questioning and so he should be with many thinking he has compromised his position.

The other shoe that is still to drop is the Norman trial.

With many of the same government characters involved in this case, watch for it to get much more interesting this month.

[The Liberals] Run on climate change.

They can try to attract enough Green and NDP supporters to support a Liberal “Green Climate” push

A climate rally last night led by Trudeau and the first pre-election attack ads on climate change started yesterday. Pretty obvious where they are going on this one.

February 7, 2019

As for the two main stream federal parties, they need to wake up and smell the coffee too. Voters are tired of the same old policies and lack of vision. They are tired of the daily antics they see from both sides. They are tired of the name calling and mudslinging.

No change there in how the parties act and behave. However, there are quite a few voters who are disillusioned with both of the main parties. Do these people sit out the next election and not vote or do they cast a protest vote? That has happened recently in Quebec and previously in Ontario (how many remember waking up to a Bob Rae government?).

The Greens are polling at an all time high. 9.1% according to a recent Nanos poll. Where do disillusioned voters go? Not to the NDP that is pretty obvious. The Greens have an opportunity to be spoilers in October attracting NDP and Liberal voters. They still have the same problem though- voters see them as a one issue party and most voters have no idea what else the Greens offer. If a minority Liberal government is elected in October, the Greens can keep Trudeau in power.

January 1st, 2016

It takes time for a leader to fall from grace, play the long game.

An so it is playing out in front of us every day

December 29, 2015

Confusion, inept issue management and arrogance are not the way this was supposed to play out for the Liberals. Remember Trudeau is all about “sunny ways”. But even sunny ways have storm clouds on the horizon. This will be a fun year to follow politics.

While written way back in 2015, nothing can be more accurate about 2019