Late-stage Liberals crashing

Now Poilievre is not a man for whom discretion and measured arguments are defining features. On this particular issue, though, the Conservative leader has avoided hyperbole. No reasonable person who watched Question Period that day would conclude Poilievre was questioning anyone’s loyalty, not even the prime minister’s.

But that is what Trudeau wants Canadians to think, and the CBC, at least, was happy to oblige, by carrying the headline “Trudeau calls Poilievre’s suggestion he isn’t loyal to Canada despicable.”

Earlier, when reporters asked Trudeau directly what did he know about election interference and when, he responded “I understand the extent to which Canadians have very real questions about this” and then repeated the various panels and committees tasked with investigating foreign interference.

To be clear, in response to questions about what the prime minister knew about China’s meddling and when he was briefed about it, Trudeau restated the fact he has asked NSICOP to investigate allegations of interference, which they have already done, and that he is planning to appoint an “eminent Canadian” as a “special rapporteur” to advise on what to do next.

Rather than explain what he knows, Trudeau is suggesting there will be an investigation into what he knows. Will NSICOP study whether it, itself, already briefed the prime minister? Will it feature members of the committee asking themselves questions?

If Trudeau wants questions answered, he could obviously just answer them himself. No need for a public inquiry, or, for a special rapporteur to conduct an inquiry into whether or not we need an inquiry.

All this posturing is ultimately fruitless and pointless. The Liberals could have spared the country this confusing process by simply acknowledging the gravity of the allegations weeks or months ago. Instead, as was done in the wake of the SNC Lavalin and WE Charity scandals, the government is permitting a constant drip of evidence of wrongdoing to pile up.

It might be incompetence, or part of a deliberate strategy to overwhelm and confuse the story, so that even those paying attention have trouble describing what exactly has happened. Accountability is never the goal. The goal is to drag the scandal out until no one can remember why it matters. Bonus if you can tar the opposition along the way.

Two days before the dust up with Poilievre, at the news conference announcing all the measures the government is presumably taking to protect Canada’s elections, Trudeau said “this is not and has never been a partisan issue.” He then proceeded to make it a partisan issue. “Before we came into office, there was no dedicated process to counter foreign interference in our elections,” he said.

The prime minister also boasted about all the ways the Liberals have already combated foreign interference, “because that’s what responsible leadership does.”

Canadians should be curious about what definition of “leadership” Trudeau is using.

National Post