As we heard on Sunday, it turns out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent notice to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer that he intends to sue him for libel. Since then many people, myself included, have been trying to make heads or tails of this move by the PM. Personally, I stand by the comment that if you are really aggrieved in this way, you’d be running to the media to tell everyone about your intentions and actions. If that were true, I wouldn’t have learned about it from Andrew Scheer a week after the fact.
But getting away from all that for the moment, I wanted to focus on the PM’s comments from this morning; this was the first time that he has faced the media since this news came out and it was his first chance to comment on the record about this. And folks, I won’t lie, this comment is something to behold. I’m putting here below for you all to hear and appreciate:
“You can’t be inventing things”…. “You can’t be lying”… “Highlighting that there are consequences when politicians choose to twist the truth & distort reality for Canadians, it’s not something we’re going to put up with”…. Hmmm…. let that all just wash over you and sink in for a moment. According to the PM, you can’t invent things or lie to Canadians because there are consequences when politicians choose to twist the truth and distort reality. You heard him say it right there, like this is a law of political nature. So automatically upon hearing those words, many Canadians had these sounds and images rush back into their memories:
Wow, those are some pretty striking promises, some coming straight from the Liberal Party of Canada’s YouTube page, still there for all to see. I mean, what does one call promising one thing in an electoral campaign then not doing it once they get elected? Hmmm, someone tells me there should be consequences for that as well. But I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Instead of going over the litany of such examples from Mr. Trudeau, it was actually a much older story that came to my mind when I heard the specific words that he chose. It took me all the way back to September 2012, when Mr. Trudeau was about to seek the Liberal Party leadership. There was a big provincial by-election going on in Kitchener-Waterloo, one that could have vaulted the government McGuinty Liberals back into a majority position. But the New Democrats recruited a star candidate and on election day, it looked like Andrew Horwath’s New Democrats would pull the upset. So in that context, Justin Trudeau enters the scene and, well, I’ll let this speak for itself:
Yes folks, that’s what I thought of today when I saw this. Trudeau waded into a provincial by-election and tried to smear a federalist provincial party in Ontario, as a danger to national unity. He tried to use the NDP’s success at nearly wiping the Bloc Québécois off the electoral map, something I would think would make a good federalist like Mr. Trudeau happy, and tried to “twist” and “distort” that into a gutter attack against the Ontario NDP’s Catherine Fife. Of course, it utterly failed and Fife has been a great MPP for that area ever since.
But I would point out that when Mr. Trudeau did that, neither Horwath, nor Fife, nor the Ontario NDP, not even Tom Mulcair, reacted by reaching out to a lawyer, even though one could argue that it might be in line. No, they took that dirty arrow slung at them and kept going. So I have to ask the PM then, does he think it would have been a natural thing for them to lawyer up and threaten him in the same way over that stunt, which included robo-calls and leaflets dropped at doorsteps on an election day?
So yeah, while I’m not going to defend Andrew Scheer, the Conservatives and their propensity for over-reaching, I can’t sit quietly here and see the Prime Minister try to claim some kind of moral authority over any in all of this. That comment today screams so much of the old say “So as I say, not as I do”, and what might make it worse is that it felt like he said it with no self-reflection or thought to how he himself has acted in the past. Maybe if he had done that today, admitted to not being the best example of this, acknowledged his past and vowed to do better, then maybe we could have taken those words more at face value. But that would have involved admitting that he was wrong, and if that was something that he found easy to do, well this whole SNC/PMO story would have died along ago, long before Scheer got the chance to make the tweets and comments that resulted in that letter. At the end of today, this story will continue to go and grow, and with these comments today, everyone has been given free licence to remember all of the examples of broken promises from this PM. I’m not sure how that helped him or his caucus at all, but it happened. Now we’ll see if there are any natural consequences for him, seeing as how he feels that others should be facing them.