A basic rule in the age of the smart phone is to assume everything you say, unless you take very careful precautions, is recorded. There really is an app for that. Dozens actually.
Jody Wilson-Raybould is many things but she is not an idiot and she will have recognized that the PMO was willing to spin and possibly lie to get its way. Whether on SNC-Lavalin or SCC appointments or any other file it took an interest in. I have to bet she had a smart phone.
It seems pretty clear that Trudeau and company’s response to the SNC-Lavalin issue is to muddy the waters, deny responsibility and move on. Given the supine nature of Canada’s media and the Liberal’s majority in Parliament, this might just work. Especially if the focus remains on whether or not there was “inappropriate pressure” exerted on Jody Wilson-Raybould when she took her decision not to intervene.
“By late that same summer, the federal government launched a public consultation on its integrity regime, including the possibility of including deferred prosecution agreements into Canadian law. The change wanted by SNC now had its chance to find broader support. And a few months later—and featuring a submission from SNC—the consultation concluded.
Read the whole thing because it is a very clear look at how this scandal tracks back to the PMO, PCO and Finance with Jody Wilson-Raybould principled decision essentially being roadkill in the drive to extricate SNC from its own folly.
And there, of course, is the real scandal. No one is disputing that SNC broke all sorts of laws in pursuit of its business interests. What is in issue is what the consequences of that lawlessness should be. The Deferred Prosecution Agreement language is an attempt by a private company to create its own get of jail free card. That the Trudeau government would even entertain, much less pass, such legislation, makes its systemic corruption obvious.
Long before the Liberal establishment – from the Prime Minister on down – behaved badly toward Wilson-Raybould it had already betrayed the Canadian electorate by enshrining a sweetheart deal in the Criminal Code.
Apparently, there are still some adults left in Ottawa and they realized that Trump and his trade negotiators really were not bluffing. Soooo. NAFTA 2.0.
Frankly, I think we won by not actually losing. JT realized that the automotive trade was worth more than gender equality in trade terms. We keep trading with the US, they ship more dairy tariff-free, we get to buy up to $100 bucks an order online from Amazon without duty, keep a dispute mechanism, cultural industries (which apparently include banking, who knew?) exempted…But the big bonus is that we never again have to see Chrystia Freeland in a far too tight dress again. Thank you, President Trump.
Now, this sort of blows Justine’s prospects of running against the Tyrant Trump in a year. I mean, the Liberals will be there in spirit, but it will be impossible to spin this agreement as both a win for Canada and standing up to the big, orange, American bully.
Sensible people do what they need to do to get a deal they need. Encouragingly, there are still a few sensible people in Ottawa.
Update: Only a flesh wound,
“However, the USMCA includes language that requires signatories to give notice if they plan to negotiate a free trade deal with a “non-market country,” and to allow the other two signatories at least a month to review any agreement before it is signed. It explicitly states that if one of the signatories enters into such an agreement, the other two have the right to withdraw from the USMCA with six months’ notice.” national post
My charming elder son texted to suggest that I was full of it and that this deal was essentially NAFTA 2. No major changes.
Well, this language is a major change and a direct restriction on our sovereignty. I don’t think it is a particularly bad restriction but it does mean that the USMCA is more a trade bloc than a free trading area.
Sundance, over at The Conservative Treehouse sees this as a way of stopping the quaint Mexican and Canadian practice of allowing foreign companies to ship parts to those countries and then put the parts together and claim that the finished product is “Made in Canada/Mexico”.
I don’t think that is correct as it only deals with “free trade agreements” rather than the piecemeal import and re-export shenanigans which have characterized NAFTA. However, at a guess, that brokerage business will be curtailed by the rules going to place of origin which stud the various side letters.
Which, in my view, is no bad thing. It is one thing to buy your printed circuit boards from China, it is quite another to have entire control modules shipped in pieces and “assembled” by putting in a couple of screws in order to evade tariffs.
The Trumpians want to bring actual manufacturing home to the USA, or, at worst, to its trading partners Canada and Mexico. We can argue the economics of this but what Trump sees is jobs. Decent jobs to bring Americans – particularily black and Latino Americans – back into the workforce. So far he seems to be hitting that goal. So much so that there are now more jobs than (technically) unemployed people.
Creating an “employment” economy is very good news for the deplorables, black people and Latinos. Where the demand for labour increases so will its price. For a very long time America seemed to be mired in an economy in which the rich and the upper middle class took the lion’s share of the money and the struggling middle class and the poor and lumpen unemployed were left with crumbs, disability and oxy. Trump’s economics and his concept of “fair trade” seem to be shifting that trend. If he can keep it going he’ll win the mid-terms and he’ll win re-election.
Much as I despise Justin Trudeau and the gang of gender-balanced incompetents he has surrounded himself with, I am afraid I can’t work up much indignation vis a vis the Creston grope. Nor do I think JT’s bumbling defence is anything other than another demonstration of his general unfitness for the Prime Ministership.
It is pretty clear that Justin, perhaps after several beers, touched a girl in a way which, the very next day, she wrote was inappropriate (or some such…I can’t be arsed to look it up). He compounded his error by saying that had he known she was reporting for a national paper he would not have been so forward. What a dweeb.
But, honestly, I don’t care. Partly it is the passage of time. Despite Kinsella’s attempts to turn this into a Harvey Weinstein moment, Trudeau behaved badly, is a sanctimonious idiot and a fake feminist, but it still does not amount to assault or anything close. (At least at this point, we may learn more down the road.)
Here’s big news. People go to beer company sponsored music festivals to get friendly with other people. I am told that, on occasion, people who have had several beers end up in tents with each other for no good reason and they are not even engaged. While I am, of course, shocked and appalled, I can’t quite see how this amounts to anything but a slightly embarrassing story.
Trudeau’s handling of the Jackel inspired story sucks. His comms department should be sacked. But the fact is that a young, unmarried, guy took liberties with a young, unmarried (so far as I know) girl at a summer music festival. I suppose we could shoot him. But I would rather shoot the comms idiots who did not say to JT, “Admit you did it. Apologize. Move on.” All the parsing in the world is not going to change the fact Justin grabbed her ass or boob or whatever. Bad Justin. Admit it and move on.
There are lots of reasons not to vote for this idiot. His behaviour 18 years ago might be one of them. But it is not the most significant nor will it be the last.
As with most things Jackal driven there is more going on here than we are seeing. Why did the Jackal trawl through the Creston paper on microfilm to get the story? And what else is there? Vancouver, Whistler – in the late 90’s,early 2000’s these were “party central”.
At a guess, the Creston “grope” is not where the Jackal is going with this. I suspect it is a ranging shot. Turning on the light to see where the cockroaches in the PMO scatter.
If there is another shoe, and I suspect there are several, it will drop in September just in time to force the resignation and the nomination of another leader in time for the next election. The Jackal learned from Wynne’s failure to make way. It is not enough to kick Justin to the curb…he has to be gone by Christmas.
Only in Canada would the rudeness of our Prime Minister to a departing guest be raised – admittedly by Warren “Lying Jackal” Kinsella – to a question of Canadian patriotism. Our Minister of External Affairs has wagged her stubby little finger at the Donald and called his response to Trudeau’s rudeness “inappropriate”.
In so far as there is any thinking at all in Ottawa I suspect some bright light in the PMO, in the wake of Ford’s victory in Ontario, has had the idea that the way for Trudeau to win the next election is to try and cast that election as an opportunity for good Canadians to vote against the monster Trump. It is just the sort of idea which will emerge from a gender-balanced brain trust a bit high on soy. Because decent, good Canadians hate Trump and if Trudeau is seen to stand up to the orange ogre we will all troop to the ballot box in Trudeau’s support. While I think that is unlikely, it is really all these clowns have left.
Which is very bad news for Canada. Because Trump is not kidding on tariffs and could care less if all the Canadas rise as one in support of the Little Potato. As I pointed out below, at virtually no cost to the American economy, Trump can pretty much wipe out the one bit of manufacturing which exists in the so-called “Golden Triangle”. And if Ms. Freeland thinks he is inappropriate now, imagine how fast her finger will have to wag if he hits oil and lumber with the same sort of across the board tariff.
A lot of diplomacy and trade strategy can be learned in a school yard. Six grade one students are unwise trying to take on the kid in grade seven. While they might be able to slow him down they can’t actually hurt him, but one solid punch from the big kid and a little kid is laid out flat. Is that fair? Of course not. But it is how the world works.
Justin Trudeau, in a bizarre performance at the final press conference of the G-7 conference, managed to thoroughly piss off Donald Trump. To the point that Trump called him dishonest.
Now the Donald is going to be occupied with North Korea for the next few days and, at a guess, having withdrawn America’s consent to the G-7 communique may simply forget Trudeau’s deeply cowardly remarks. (It is cowardly to say things about a person when they have left the building when you had the opportunity to say them to that person’s face.) That is the best Trudeau can hope for. More likely, Trump will have detailed a hard man in a suit to run the numbers on Canada’s trade with the US and find out just how many cars we send south every year. These are not hard answers to find and when those numbers go back to Trump there is very little to stop him from dropping a 25% tariff on those cars.
I said over at Kate’s that the Americans see trade negotiations as business, the Canadians see them as politics.
From a business perspective, a 25% tariff on cars made in Canada will lead to more cars being made in the US. The transition will be a bit uncomfortable for a number of large US companies but in the overall American economy, it will be a blip.
In Canada? In Canada, more specifically Ontario, the destruction of the auto industry would be a full scale, all hands on deck, disaster. Realistically, the auto sector is Ontario’s largest private sector employer and the largest manufacturing sector. Being priced out of the US market would kill tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.
Trump has taken the measure of Trudeau and his tiny, annoying, Minister of External Affairs, Chrystia Freeland and concluded they are featherweights. Which means that Canada is potentially screwed because Trump has no faith in our leadership. You don’t call people dishonest publically if you plan to do business with them.
It is unlikely that Trudeau will be aware of just how badly he has failed for a few days. The Canadian media are heavily invested in a narrative which has Justin standing up to the big, bad, Trump. Trudeau’s tone-deaf advisors are, no doubt, revelling in the fact they got lots of “gender” language into the communique.
It will take a few days for the more sober side of the media to realize what peril Trudeau has put us in. And a few more for the geniuses in the PMO to figure out that Trump is not playing the same game as they are.
When they do figure it out the question will arise, “What the fuck do we do now?”
As I am quite sure Butz and his posse read this blog I have a simple suggestion.
Normally, I would have suggested they get in touch with Simon Reisman who negotiated both the Auto-Pac and NAFTA. Alas, Reisman is dead.
Second best by a long shot? Brian Mulroney. A man I have next to no time for but who a) managed to get Canadians onboard for NAFTA, b) was a quite successful Canadian Prime Minister, c) is wired into both Trump World and broad swaths of corporate America.
If Trudeau could get Mulroney to do it Mulroney would be going into the US with a serious, well thought out, everything on the table, pitch. Likely starting with first principles – no tariffs, no subsidies, no non-tariff barriers. Be prepared to dump dairy and end transhipment of Chinese steel. And pitch it to the Trump people as the template for the deals which could be made with the EU, Japan, India and so on. (China is a whole other thing.)
The key point here is that Canada has to move, and move quickly, away from the finger-wagging politics of gender inclusion and climate change to a hard-nosed business approach to getting the best deal we can with an America which is now willing to put its own interests first.
Our leverage is that, while Trump is perfectly willing to talk tough, he also seems to like having a few friends. Canada, notwithstanding our dolt of a PM, has been and could be the staunch friend Trump needs.
Mulroney might just be able to pull this off. Here’s why:
[Back story: Peter Newman released a set of transcripts of Mulroney “unbuttoned” without Mulroney’s consent.]
Warren Kinsella aka the “Lying Jackal” is a dirt bag and pond scum all wrapped in a nauseating odor of fake sanctity. He is also the go-to guy for a certain sort of Canadian Liberal when there is a family crisis in the Party. He is good at putting out fires.
Over at his place today, (fully screenshotted as he is scummy enough to bury his mistakes), we have this wee gem:
“Before I board the plane, I hear from a former Prime Minister. I tell him what an honour it was to work for him – a man who married his high school sweetheart. A man whose conduct was beyond reproach. A man who never tolerated such conduct by his staff or his caucus or his cabinet. Ever.
“It was different, many years ago,” he says. “It was difficult for women to complain.”
“Those days are gone,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.”
Why would Jean Chretien call the Jackal? They are buddies and everything but I kinda doubt JC just buzzes the Jackal for the sheer hell of it. If Chretien is calling the Jackal it is likely because the Jackal is a go-to guy to put out Liberal fires.
A few paragraphs above Kinsella suggests,
“There are other men who are about to be exposed. Count on it. The media have been on their trail for many weeks. Once it gets through the editors – once it is okayed by the lawyers – other men will be going down. It is overdue. It is needed.
One of these men is very, very powerful. The stories have been known about him for three years. They are in affidavits, plural.
His name will shock you.”
And, finally, in the comments, which the Jackal watches like a, well, Jackal lest a word of contradiction punctures his bubble, appears this:
If the affidavits floating around really are about a guy who likes “themed socks” there is an inferno about to break loose…Who ya gonna call if you are an ex-Prime Minister who loves the Liberal Party and, incidentally, Canada…The Jackal.
“No nation has friends only interests.” (Charles de Gaulle)
As I write the estimable Nikki Haley (2024…you go girl) tweeted to the assorted thugs who are ambassadors to the UN,
“At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”
Here’s a suggestion to the ethically challenged (and frankly, what a crock) Prime Minister of all the Canadas…Pay attention.
Canada has no skin in the game as to the location of the US Embassy to Israel. And we have no reason to believe that the capital of Israel is anywhere other than Jerusalem. While we are certainly “Yah, Peace.”, recognizing reality is a very important step to that peace.
But we have all manner of issues on the table with our American cousins. NAFTA, F-35s, border security, softwood lumber, pipelines.
From a Canada First perspective, who matters more? The US or a rag tag bunch of intransigent Palis and their European enablers?
Justin has the opportunity to end Trump’s isolation on the Jerusalem issue. We can vote with our American friends. We can announce that we are seriously looking at moving our Embassy.
The fact is that The Donald wants to be liked. He wants friends. He wants “respect”. We can take an issue which is literally of no consequence to Canada’s interests and run up points in Trumpland.
In the midst of the sad commentary about the Edmonton terrorist incident -“diversity is our strength”, “beat terror with unity”, “lone wolf nothing to do with Islam” – I was cheered to see the rollover victory of Jagmeet Singh for the NDP leadership. Singh seems to be from the pragmatic end of the NDP and will be relatively immune from identitarian and intersectional attack simply because he’s brown and wears brilliant turbans. He’s intelligent, well spoken and has a bit of charisma. And he is just going to kill Justin Trudeau in places Trudeau needs to win.
It is simplistic to say that the Sikh community in Canada will universally support one of its own, there will certainly be a temptation to defect from Trudeau to Singh. While that might have some effect in Tory ridings, it will be felt most strongly in seats which have traditionally swung from Liberal to New Democrat and back again.
I am not sure, however, that Singh’s ethnicity is his biggest threat to Trudeau. By 2019 the emptiness of much of the Liberal’s program will be apparent to all. The broken promises, the tepid policy initiatives and, above all, the fiscal incompetence on the revenue side and on expenditures will be pretty apparent. For small business owners and consumers with half a clue, the combination of the lunatic small business tax measures and the expensive, but pointless, carbon tax will pour votes into the Conservative column. But with Canada’s first past the post system, that may not be enough.
Singh’s real threat to Trudeau is in marginal seats where the Libs beat the Conservatives by a few thousand votes in the last election because a) people had had enough of Harper, b) Justin seemed bright and shiny. People who would have voted NDP in the past were so eager to get rid of Harper they voted for Trudeau. Mulclair simply lacked the appeal to keep the faithful in the pews. At a guess, the rank and file NDP voters, as well as the multi-culti virtue signallers, will be much more inclined to give Singh a go. Which means he has the capacity to bleed off Liberal voters in significant numbers.
Getting rid of Trudeau and his gender balanced gang of incompetents was never going to happen as the result of a surge of support for that guy leading the Conservatives. The Tories will be lucky to see a 3-5% increase in their popular vote as people realize that the Liberals are committed to gutting what’s left of the productive sectors of the Canadian economy in the name of “fairness”, “climate change” and “diversity”. For Trudeau to lose he has to actually lose the votes of people who supported him last election. If the NDP had gone with the po-faced, ideologically pure, Niki Ashton or the “makes that Andrew Scheer guy looks exciting” Charlie Angus, Trudeau would be home and dry. Singh is an actual threat.
One other thing: Singh took the leadership. He was aggressive, he sold memberships, he raised money. He ran as an outsider and he won. On the first ballot. This is deeply impressive. Not like the NDP at all.