Thursday, May 11, 2023

Election interference & Chinese police stations in Canada, Trudeau does nothing

Election interference & Chinese  police stations in Canada, Trudeau does nothing 

May 11 2023

When asked to stand up in parliament to defend this/his country Canada, what does Trudeau do, why walk out of parliament like a coward.

Trudeau's cosy relationship with China far uglier than the witch hunt/alleged link Trump had with Russia

Unlike in the U.S., there’s already a surfeit of evidence suggesting collusion between Beijing’s proxies and Liberal party 
campaigners It
 occurred to me that Canadians might also benefit from looking at things from that perspective, bearing in mind that such comparisons can only go so far. After all, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump might both be entitled rich kids and functions of celebrity culture supported by fandoms that sometimes resemble “dear leader” cults, but Trudeau has a fabulous head of hair, whereas Trump’s coiffure is infamously ridiculous. And yet, the most striking dissimilarity between the two cases of foreign-directed election monkey-wrenching makes the Canadian case the uglier one.

Even without anything like an official public inquiry into Beijing’s operations during the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, there’s already a surfeit of evidence suggesting collusion between Beijing’s proxies and Liberal party campaigners, and perhaps even candidates. And that evidence is stronger than everything the FBI investigations, U.S. Senate intelligence committee hearings, congressional probes and MSNBC special reports have been able to turn up about direct collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin’s vast “Project Lakhta” undertaking.

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On the sunny side, there’s no evidence that Beijing’s operations came even close to the damage the Russian operations did during the 2016 American presidential campaign. Whatever ridings may have been tipped by Beijing’s operations in 2021, for instance, the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol panel concluded quite convincingly that the overall election outcome was untroubled by any hijinks or shenanigans.

Cold comfort, you might say. It’s a bit like noting in an offhand way that a hypothetical panel of career bureaucrats had determined that while Russian Wagner Group mercenaries might well have disembarked from a Russian warship and seized Baffin Island, the overall integrity of Crown sovereignty over Canada’s contiguous landmass remains uninterrupted. To draw out the more instructive comparisons between Trump’s susceptibility to Moscow’s entreaties and the influence Beijing can be said to exert over Trudeau, as a thought experiment, try to imagine how the American press and the public would have reacted had the following scenario played out in 2016.

Immediately after his inauguration, Trump appoints the head of the Russian-American Business Council to name his cabinet and head the transition team that would carry him into the White House. He replaces all of former president Barack Obama’s senior officials with Russia-friendly bureaucrats. Trump then sees to it that the Russian-American Business Council boss takes up the most senior post in the United States Senate.

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Trump’s team then undertakes a root-and-branch restructuring of American foreign policy, snubbing old and enduring alliances and re-ordering the U.S. State Department to a new priority focus on relations with Moscow and the integration of the American and Russian economies. Trump’s team sketches out a series of radical initiatives:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff should be on a “first-name basis” with the senior generals of the Russian armed forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favoured oligopolies should be granted equal status with American multinational corporations. All barriers in the way of Russian conglomerates acquiring America’s keystone industries should be pulled down. And a network of immigration and visa offices are to be opened in Russian cities.

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Anticipating a hostile response from the American public, the Trump White House sinks resources into a public-relations strategy designed to shift key demographic sectors of public opinion towards a favourable view of Russia and its kleptocrats and the benefits of their dirty money sloshing around in the American economy.

Within a year of his inauguration, Trump is feted in Moscow as a kind of venerable pro-Russian American folk hero, just like his pro-Russian folk-hero daddy. Trump’s autobiography has been translated into Russian, and he’s the toast of the town, in state media and social media. There’s a lot of exciting talk about the new America-Russia relationship and the possibilities of a free trade agreement, perhaps an extradition treaty. Only days later, Trump brings Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev out on the ice in a New York Rangers jersey at Madison Square Garden, surrounded by hand-picked American and Russian journalists.

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The head of a seedy international consulting firm who has spent years nurturing the most intimate relationships with Putin’s most powerful oligarchs is given a formal role in the U.S. Treasury Department to map out a top-to-bottom overhaul of American economic, trade and immigration policy. Despite his firm’s notoriety for servicing police states and unscrupulous opiate manufacturers, the global guru-consultant is then appointed as Trump’s ambassador to Russia.

Of course, Trump did none of these things. But Trudeau did all of these things in relation to China. In our little thought experiment, the Russian-American Business Council is the Canada China Business Council. And the council head is now Sen. Peter Harder. The global consulting firm is McKinsey and Company, headed by Dominic Barton. Medvedev is Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. And so on.

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The opinion-shifting project was to be completed by the Public Policy Forum, but it didn’t work, because Canadians are fairly unshakable in their distaste for the hideous police state in Beijing. Another thing that didn’t help was Chinese President Xi Jinping’s spiteful abduction of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor as punishment for Canada’s detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request.

Before long, almost everything Justin Trudeau had hoped the “golden decade” in relations with Beijing would secure as his legacy, in the tradition of his Mao-admiring father, Pierre, was falling to pieces.

Trudeau did all these things. If Trump had done half of them in pursuit of his affections for Putin and Russian money, there wouldn’t have been a mere cornpone intefadeh of the type that stormed Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. By 2017 or thereabouts, there would have been, we might speculate, a great deal more colourful and thrilling example of American civil disorder replicated on Canadian television screens.

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The thought experiment I laid out here might help to explain some of the cognitive dissonance erupting in much of the news media in response to the revelations about Beijing’s election interference operations in Canada. Those revelations have come from inside the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the national intelligence and security committee of parliamentarians and even the Privy Council Office. They’re not just unsubstantiated allegations.

The dissonance involves difficult questions about how to “cover the story,” because Beijing’s election-interference operations are a function of Beijing’s higher-level influence operations in Canada. It’s all been unfolding right in front of our eyes — and in recent years, it’s become difficult to determine where those operations end and the Trudeau government’s official China policy begins.

At times, it’s been difficult to find the line between these things, and difficult to know whether the line exists at all.

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