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Monday
Jan282019

The Gang Returns Today And China Is On their Mind

Well the House is back today although in a new location IE West Block. It would be nice with this fresh start if this also meant there would be better decorum and less nonsense from all sides. That won’t be the case though as today will mark the unofficial opening of the 2019 election.

You can bet though that the Chinese fiasco will be on everyone’s mind. It is hard to imagine how PMO could screw things up so badly- unless they chose to ignore the advice of their senior officials and that of Global Affairs staff who have dealt with China over many years.

It has been reported that McCallum had a reputation of speaking his mind while a member of the Liberal caucus, it’s quite possible that this time he did as well. As our ambassador to China it must have been very frustrating dealing with the amateurs in PMO.

When I saw his first set of comments, it looked like this was the beginning of a solution. In other words, with an official IE the ambassador, publicly stating that China has a solid legal case, Canada satisfies China’s desire to have that acknowledged by Canada. That would then have allowed China to respond positively and a win-win for both sides could be put together. If that was the game plan it doesn’t matter now as with the firing of McCallum it has all come undone.

You have to wonder if this mess reflects some internal power struggle as to who has the final say on the China file or whose advice is being followed and who is being listened to from the department.

Question Period returns today and it should be an interesting one.

Reader Comments (4)

It’s not just complex issues. McCallum had a problem back in 2009 with identifying what kind of car he drove.

January 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax

The problem is that McCallum is overly identified with Chinese interests. With a Chinese wife and - so reports say - three Chinese daughters-in-law, he could well be leaning more to the Chinese version of events. As MY ambassador to China, he is supposed to represent me and my interest vis-a-vis Chinese interests. Instead, he appears to be doing the opposite.

Even if that were not the case, the ambassador is definitely NOT supposed to publicly weigh in on sensitive topics. That he chose to do so at a press conference open ONLY to Chinese-language newspapers (and excluded reporters for both French and English papers) raises a serious query as to just which government he was promoting at that time.

January 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFrances

IMO, Frances hit the nail on the head. Ambassadors' job description has not traditionally included expressing opinions overtly, especially their own personal opinions, as well as arguments that run counter to those expressed by the government that appointed them.

As to Trudeau's reaction to this whole mess or any other controversial subject ... it is laughable to have him state that the opposition -- members of a POLITICAL party -- POLITICIZE subject A or B. What a concept! Politicians behaving like politicians! Maybe if he stopped referring to a politician who is no longer active on the political scene Trudeau would appear to be just a bit more credible.

January 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGabby in QC

Another point ...
"It would be nice with this fresh start if this also meant there would be better decorum and less nonsense from all sides."
Agree. Yesterday on the CBC's Power & Politics, Eric Grenier pointed out how many times the Speaker singled out Conservative hecklers. I admit to being partisan ... but I find it strange that the Speaker -- a Liberal -- notices infractions only from one side of the aisle. Also, when opposition MPs get loud while a minister. is speaking, he often gives the minister the floor once again, thus giving the minister more time to not answer a question.

As well, I wish MPs would truly listen to each other, thus engaging in real debates or conversations, rather than depending on their scripted or rote questions or answers. For instance, yesterday when Andrew Scheer asked Trudeau the opening question, the latter started with thanking staffers that make the House function. Whether sincere or not, a good PR gesture -- which Scheer ignored. It would have been classy of him to rejoin with something like "I join the PM in thanking House staffers who have facilitated our move to these new premises ..." Instead, the leader of the CPC proceeded to read his question in French.

Yeah, I know, everybody's a critic ...

January 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGabby in QC

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