Justin Trudeau for PM? ‘Ptooie’

Colby Cosh on the ethics of yuks and rubber-chicken dinners

Dirty deeds, but...

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Justin Trudeau for prime minister? Really? He’s got no executive experience, no experience of any kind that is remotely adjacent to being leader of a G8 country. There are parts of Canada in which his last name is still automatically followed with a “ptooie” when spoken. He has occasionally inserted his foot so far into his mouth that the Jaws of Life were required. Liberals will nod when you say all this and come back confidently with: “But he fills rooms.”

Well, he does do that, but maybe sometimes not enough. On June 14, QMI Agency got hold of a letter to the company that books Trudeau as a speaker; in it, Susan Buck, a board member for a New Brunswick charity that buys furniture for nursing homes and hospices, complained that her group had lost money on a 2012 event they paid Trudeau $20,000 to attend. “[It] was a huge disappointment and a financial loss for our organization,” Buck said. “A refund of the fees charged would meet our needs and would provide a positive public impression.”

This “Give back the money and maybe ya won’t have a little political accident” language instantly split the peanut gallery between those who thought it was horrible for Trudeau to take the money in the first place and those who thought it was horrible for a non-profit to blackmail a supplier for a refund because of their own poor planning. A few days later, it became public that the Prime Minister’s Office was circulating details of other high-paid talks Trudeau had given. Some excitable “communications officer” in the PMO, apparently unaware of how the whole communicating-with-the-press thingie works, sent material to the Barrie Advance “on background” without actually securing the paper’s agreement that it wouldn’t identify the source.

So whom to be angry at? (There is not much point in reading a newsmagazine if the answer is “nobody,” right?) The entire situation is full of grey areas. There is no question that a member of Parliament has every right to pursue a second occupation as long as he is taking care of the day job of representing voters. Trudeau acquired a justified reputation for playing hooky from the House of Commons during his leadership campaign, but as an ordinary private member, he was actually quite assiduous in turning up for votes.

Some Conservative MPs have questioned whether it is ethical at all for an elected official to charge organizations, particularly charitable ones, for mere public speaking. (They seem to have a clean bill of health within their own caucus.) The theme of Trudeau’s talk to the furniture-for-oldies outfit was youth activism; there was never any partisan content per se, Trudeau says. If Trudeau were a performing elocutionist or a folksinger, no one would have a problem with him addressing an audience for money; since he seems to have actually been marketed largely as a sort of entertainer-raconteur, this might be relevant. On the other hand, all of the organizations that hired Trudeau for this kind of thing have political interests, and if his fees for yukking it up at a rubber-chicken dinner got too ridiculous, it is easy to see how a mockery could be made of our political fundraising regulations.

What’s hard to figure either way is how the charity can be any less culpable, at best, than Trudeau himself. If his acceptance of a fee is an inappropriate use of elected office, or represents filching from the disadvantaged, the guilt of the operators of the Grace Foundation cannot possibly be any smaller than Trudeau’s. He didn’t break in through a window and pry open the safe for the $20,000.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister’s Office has been caught red-handed in a political hit job on the leader of an opposition party. The timing is awkward. It has not been two weeks since Alberta Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber walked out of caucus to protest the heavy-handedness of the PMO, which had used procedural rough stuff in committee to protect its top staff, among others, from Rathgeber’s proposal for annual public salary disclosure.

The PMO’s “exempt staff” are paid from the public treasury, but are permitted to provide an overtly partisan “perspective” to the PM while he takes advice from the non-partisan civil service. Their existence is an acknowledgment that a prime minister requires knowledge of the electoral mood—i.e., that it is not reasonable to expect him to completely neglect political survival while he works for Canada. Partisan advice given at our expense, however, is one thing: a big dirty tricks shop, and one that bungles a leak to press at that, is quite another.

On the web: For more Colby Cosh, visit his blog at macleans.ca/colbycosh


Justin Trudeau for PM? ‘Ptooie’

  1. And now, every time I see an Ottawa reporter refer to a “source’ close to the PM, I will automatically assume it’s the PMO.

    Every time. Why wouldn’t I?

    • One question is why use the PMO’s office when Jenni Byrne in the CPC war-room is looking for things to do? In the good old days, PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas would make inappropriate,/untrue/ idiotic comments but it was mostly off-the cuff reactions. When you wanted a campaign to fling puffin doo-doo, you shifted it to the other office. My guess is that the other office manages access to the CIMS & PM Stephen Harper is a little nervous about his linkages to the people who control access to that database.

    • i bet the source of ol-Duff’s leak was also from the PMO

      • Of course it was. Harper was tired of Wright acting on behalf of his sponsors ordering him around. Can you spell set up?

    • If the press won’t do their job perhaps the PMO office has to do part of it for them.

      Democracy is well served by the PMO revelations: SOCIALIST OUTED

      (1) Trudeau took time off from the job he is paid to do to take on a “private” speaker engagements.

      (2) Trudeau was able DOUBLE his private speaker rates thanks to the extra exposure his taxpayer funded political life gave him.

      (3) The Canadian Media were content to let Trudeau “The Entitlement Hog” go unreported as long as they possibly could. Strange as this is the fellow who speaks about public service.

      Self Serving Socialist Outed – Job Well Done.

      • I see your Grace Foundation gambit has blown up on you – congratulations Team Harper.

        • You are all the same. The fact is that Justin made unethical decisions that were outed by someone…and so what if it’s the PMO? Are you not glad to know? Or would you rather not know? BTW, have you even looked at Justin’s voting record in relations to the groups he charged? That’s next. This will sink him before he’s out of port.

          Have you noticed the most Liberal supporter come back with irrelevant, sarcastic and often rude comments? Interesting. Just my little observation.

  2. Optic wise it was bad of Trudeau to ask for money to go speak at charities or anyone else who wanted him to speak to their members. It was not wrong.
    On the other hand the PMO going after Trudeau its making them look frantic and desperate. The election is not for another two years. Unless they know something we don’t know like maybe Harper leaving before the next election.

    • they don’t look desperate at all. As a person way outside Ottawa, I hear no one even talking about Ottawa politics, and I have twenty something daughters, I showed them a photo of Trudeau, and a video on youtube and they said ” what a douche”. I said don’t you at least think hes cute and they said, uh, no.
      Don’t assume because he is considered good looking by the Ottawa press that anyone beyond that is swooning. And young folks don’t know who he is and don’t care.

      • Wait, don’t you need to ask your daughters 20 more times so you can replicate your scientific poll?

      • At the 2 busy bookstores that I work in all anybody’s been talking about is how sh!t-scared Harper must be of JT to do something like that.
        When you shoot your mouth off with a foot in there, you end up shooting yourself in the foot.

        • If the people in the bookstore are more concerned about the source of the info about Trudeau`s uncaring attitude, rather then the flaw in that type of character, then I suspect you are not getting a very good cross-section of Canadian society.
          Next time ask them if they donate to charities——who knows, maybe they are selfish socialists like Trudeau.

          • The key here is that they are people who frequent bookstores. Not likely to find con knuckle-draggers (to use Fife’s words) in bookstores. You would have to go to a gun store to get those opinions.

          • Sorry if that selfish socialist crack set you off on your usual insulting rant.
            A selfish socialist is someone who talks about the ” all for one, one for all ” approach and then vigirously defends his own wealth.
            Layton was a selfish socialist—-living in social housing while he and his wife received large public salaries.
            Trudeau is one. He blabs on about his little world while taking large sums of money from charities.
            Most folks I know read more now then ever but seldom hang out at the old book store. Amazon, etc. is more useful.
            Oh, and good luck with soliciting followers at book stores—-their downward curve appears to be in line with the downward spiral of the Liberals over the past 10 years.

          • Still peddling the lie that Layton’s housing was subsidized? What’s that you keep saying about “the truth”?

            Do you extend the “selfish” label to all those that derive their livelihood and salaries from charities?

            You do know that the money charities ultimately spend is given to those that charge the charities for their goods and services, don’t you? Are all these people likewise “selfish”?

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          • Andrew,

            Logic is not going to work with the liberal partisans.

            Facts will not work with this crowd either.

            Their boy has been caught doubling up on his fees since officially entering politics in 2007.

            Cheating the taxpayer on time he was already paid.
            Even his daddy would have felt shame in that.

          • Selfish socialist? Now that’s a laugh and a half. I guess the cons can’t even get their arguments straight. You hate socialists because they are POOR and believe in welfare for people, vs. the corporate welfare practiced by the fool running that scandal ridden office, the PMO.

            If socialists are really wealthy and believe in sharing, what’s to hate?

          • Has Justin shared his wealth with you ?

          • Asif0

            Doubling his speaking fees since he entered politics in 2007 says it all about Trudeau.

            Once he was the liberal nominee it raised his celebrity status.
            DOUBLE THE FEES.

            As all good socialists would do.

            Maybe he can get them double their money back later if he gets his hands on the public purse.

          • Answer to Asif0

            The problem with socialists and sharing.

            Socialists never want to share their own money.

            Socialists only want to share OPM – Other Peoples Money.

            OPM is a bad drug – just like opium.

          • Andrew,

            You are so correct.

            Strange how the guy who claims to want to work for the public good DOUBLES his speaking fees since his entry to politics in 2007 when he became the Liberal nominee.

            This character flaw can never be erased.

          • You’re quite the one-trick pony, aren’t you?
            Here’s a question for you: You are operating a business. You discover you can actually charge MORE than you are currently charging for the same item AND PEOPLE ARE STILL WILLING TO PAY. Are you going to say “No, I think I make enough profit already, thanks.”
            Uh huh; that’s what I thought…

          • Answer to Keith Bram.

            I run a private business with clients in the US and Canada.
            I am not having my profile raised by public office as Trudeau.

            Trudeau took advantage of his public office and political exposure to raise his speaking fees.

            Worse than that he played hooky on the taxpayer funded job that raised his profile and paid him a lot more than the average Canadian earns.

            It is not public service this guy wants. He is looking to raise his profile even more then he can make millions a year.

            DOUBLING HIS FEES IS PROOF HE IS NOT INTO PUBLIC SERVICE. Cheating would be a more adequate word.

            If Trudeau quit his taxpayer funded political job and went back to public speaking he would never have to worry about conflict of interest.

          • You DO realize he has taken NO public speaking engagements for money since he declared he would run for the LPC leadership, right?

            I notice too that you didn’t answer my question: If you could double your fees without driving away customers, would you do it?

          • Keith Bram,

            You are asking me as a privately owned business would I double my fees if the marketplace would allow that.
            The answer is YES.

            If I were to go into politics and raise my profile by doing so; then play hooky from my taxpayer funded job and charge DOUBLE because my political profile allowed me to do so. THAT WOULD BE WRONG.

            THAT my friend is what is wrong with what Trudeau junior did.

            Self serving socialist. Nothing can erase that.

          • Yadda yadda. So what’s good for you is wrong for JT because… he’s a Liberal? A Trudeau? Because you are jealous?

            As for “playing hooky”, from the article: “Trudeau acquired a justified reputation for playing hooky from the House of Commons during his leadership campaign, but as an ordinary private member, he was actually quite assiduous in turning up for votes.”

            So, if you’d bothered to read, you would have learned that his speeches appear to have been given NOT on government time but ON HIS OWN TIME. (Note: about half of MPs have an additional source of income. Working on the side is not that uncommon.) His “hooky” was when he as campaigning for the leadership. But then why let the truth spoil a good hate-on?

            And if ethics are your real concern… Why haven’t I seen you on here asking questions about Duffy, Wright and Wallin? About why, as MacKay admits, the government is actively spying on us? About why the PMO is spending taxpayer dollars doing Party work? About the convicts working as Ministers (Toews) and advisors (too many to name)? About the conviction for in-and-out – and appointing its architects to the Senate? About robocalls? About Penashue – under investigation for electoral overspending – being declared by the PM as “the best MP Labrador has ever had” (or words to that effect)? (I can go on, but I think my point is made)

            Come back when you are sincerely interested in a discussion of ethics – in ALL parties. Meantime, you should have that greenish tinge looked at; it can’t be good for your health.

          • In answer to Keith Bram –
            When you have no facts you turn to personal insults.

            To say an elected official paid by the taxpayer, is as free to play hooky from his day job as Trudeau did on many occasions, missing votes in parliament while DOUBLING his fees to taxpayer funded institutions because of his new found political fame is ludicrous.

            The issue in the story was why the PMO was the source for the story.

            You and your gang of haters are angry because your boy is now caught with his hand in the cookie jar. EXPOSED/OUTED

            Canada is doing well.
            Harper seems to run this country just fine but everyone in media and the left wing nuts go crazy. They can’t stand for Canada to be a success.

            For everyone defending Harper there are hundreds of you haters willing to jump on any story made up by CBC or anyone else. True or False doesn’t seem to matter to you. You just want to hate Mr. Harper.

            Move to France if you want a left wing nut job government. The proof is already in and it is not working out so well for them.

          • MY gang? I’m not pro-Trudeau; I’m anti-Harper. The man surrounds himself with shady characters and has proven time & again that he & his party have no ethics and stand for nothing but power. I notice you never bothered to address any of the items I listed.

            He came to power promising transparency and accountability but has been the least transparent, least accountable government in the history of Canada.

            Meantime people like you back him to the hilt and LIE about his opponents. I challenge you to find ONE OCCASION where JT skipped out on Parliament to deliver one of his speeches. You do so & I’ll acknowledge you have a point. But so far, not ONE date has been put forward. Despite 94 PMO staffers digging furiously.

            As to the PMO – their job is to assist the PM govern. Yes, theirs is a partisan role, but it is supposed to be limited to things like planning, speeches, etc. Campaigning – which is what this “anonymous source” attempt is, and a dirty-tricks form of it, too – is the role of the CPC. But the CPC simply cannot differentiate between party and government. Taxpayer money being spent on this kind of thing is a serious ethical breach. But apparently for CPC supporters the ends justify any means.

            As for the “story” itself, at the time of the speech, JT was not even in politics and so they are attempting to attack him for having a job. That the event lost money is the fault of the organizers – NOT the hired help. It SHOULD be a non-story.

            But you just swallow whatever sewage the CPC propaganda machine feeds you.

            BTW – give Francien a big kiss for me. You two deserve each other.

          • “When you have no facts you turn to personal insults.”

            Read my post again. I listed a whole host of facts, which you chose to ignore and instead repeated your falsehood (the story the PMO tried to leak predates JT’s entry into politics – how, exactly, is it relevant to anything? He certainly wasn’t playing hooky from a job he never had). Just because you don’t like my facts doesn’t make them any less true.

          • So what kind of character invents something like this? Apparently the Grace Foundation didn’t ask for their money back. Someone – Judith Baxter or James Moore inventing things for the PMO (partisan machine office) or did they ask him to step up? That’s the question now – did the PMO ask Moore, or did Moore feed the PMO a crock?

          • Either way, it makes whichever party seem really callous in how it uses information, relationships, and is willing to let a charitible foundation take heat and humilation. IF that’s how it went down.

          • I donate to charity. I see nothing wrong with Trudeau supplying them with a requested service for a fee; it’s no different from renting a hall or hiring a caterer. Would you expect those busineses to give up their fee?
            On the other hand, if you want to object to charities spending money on guest speakers or running lotteries or whatever and spending a high percentage of what they take in (or even more than they take in) on even more fundraising events rather than on actual charitable work – then I’m with you.

        • Andreas,
          If you were to hang around the business section of your bookstore or work with small businesses both sides of the border on a daily basis as I do, you would have a better feel for the real world.

          Small business provides most of the jobs in this country.

          We already had a loon trudeau as Prime Minister and suffered the NEP as a result.

          Harper is an Economist with a Masters Degree

          • …who was about the last person in the western hemisphere to figure out we were heading into a recession in 2008; who, even before that, not merely wiped out the surplus of the Liberal years, but created a structural deficit…
            About the only thing that degree seems to be useful for is hanging on a wall or using for toilet paper.

          • read ipolitcs Mr Flaherty’s blank cheque – it’s quite a revelation…

          • So Harper’s one of those book learn’d edercated type fellows is he, Jethro? Probably reads books too.

          • When you have no facts, call names.
            Shows your intelligence level.

        • Do they have an opinion on Trudeau’s willingness to charge charities to speak while he’s an MP? If not, your bookstore clients may spend too much time in fiction.

      • So, your polling was confined to 2(?) non-voters?
        Well done.

      • Fundy Bay Lady,

        Harper attending to Canadian trade as best he can.
        Harper doing what he can for Canadian business.

        And you have the pointed out that the shiny pony is not so shiny and the Main Stream Media types and the partisans go crazy on you.

        maybe shiny pony is really entitlement hog

      • Really fundybaylady? They aren’t talking about the Grace Foundation and their ridiculous about face after having claimed the Trudeau event was a success?

        Besides, most Canadians vote for a platform or at least a policy, not for the “cutest” leader. If that were the case, Harper would never have been elected to anything.

    • You’ve made a basic mistake. If Harper leaves there is no election other than in the riding he won and within the party. The Conservatives won the election, not Harper. The conservaives could vote him out today and elect any member of their party to the Prime Minister’s office that they chose, no election required. They don’t even need to pick someone who is an MP.

      • I think what he was trying to say is that they may be panicking over the prospect of the leader who has brought them success. It’s a lot easier to sell an incumbent; if he steps down, they have to find a new leader and then sell him / her to an electorate that is already starting to sour on their government. Look how well that turned out for Martin… or Kim Campbell.

        • Maybe. Freaking out right now is still a stupid idea though, Stop giving him the free publicity and making yourself look bad.

          • Giving who free publicity? Afraid I don’t follow…

          • Trudeau. As in, the Cons are spending all this time and money fighting Trudeau when all they’re managing to do is drum up early visibility for him by basically handing the media something to report about every week. It’s really painful to watch.

          • LOL! It is rather amusing to watch. The more they attack him, the higher his numbers go.

        • And I don’t really buy that the Cons would be worried about having to replace him. You’ve got to remember that these are politicians; I bet every Conservative MP and their dog has a pick for the next Conservative PM.

          • Their numbers are dropping, even in their traditional stronghold. So the prospect of doing battle without the man who built the brand would have to be a bit worrisome.

          • I can’t think of one in contention that wouldn’t cause a huge divide in the party. If you’ve got anybody that wouldn’t – who is it?

      • When’s the next leadership review – I don’t think one is scheduled for this convention so is it possible before the next election. Unless he does a Gordon Campbell.

  3. I’m guessing the PMO putting all their energy on attacking Trudeau is because they’ve reached the limit that the Conservatives can really change without getting into Charter issues or Federal-Provincial talks.

    That being said, why can’t you wear a tie, Justin? Please? JUST WEAR ONE.

    • I’m voting you down for the tie comment. Because, why? Why ties?

      I agree with you on the rest.

      • Ties because he wants to be the leader of a G8 country, and they all wear ties, and he should want to look like them.

        PMPM and Harper could get away with tieless because they’re obviously old. If you’re young, you’re obviously cooler than Harper, so wear the tie to appear like a statesman.

        • David Cameron, who just hosted the G8 appeared without jacket or tie when greeting the other leaders and was tieless, but with jacket when he delivered the closing remarks. I think you need to update your dress code standards.

          • Daily Telegraph June 2013:

            Two words that strike fear into the hearts of men: “smart casual”. Jeans or chinos, suit or jacket, short sleeve or long, illicit girlfriend or seething wife; however you play it, you go wrong.

            you end up with the deeply uncomfortable gallery of statesmen who were photographed at Enniskillen, as in a police line-up. David Cameron looked as if he had left his tie in the car; Vladimir Putin looked as if he had left his tightly knotted around the throat of a political opponent; the Japanese prime minister, unhindered by any tie, had had a rush of blood and opted for deck shoes as well, and may have to be dissuaded from wearing a ripped T-shirt and winklepickers next time. Francois Hollande, as usual, looked like a misplaced maître d’, who needed not just a tie but an apron and a white napkin over his arm to complete the look.

            The lucky winner in all this, of course, is Angela Merkel. Jacket and trousers, from day one, and no messing around. You think you could cram her into a fluffy onesie, in the colours of the German flag? Good luck with that, people.

          • It is not about the vessel, its about the contents. And Justin is an empty vessel. He is his mothers son. Good looking and charming, and a towering intellect – not.

          • so he has no secondary education ?

  4. Anyone but conservative . Harper and their bloody talking points has become so disgusting they don’t deserve any trust. Just speak from the heart and not what some over paid PMO staffer tells you what to say.

    • Some overpaid 17 year old staffer.

  5. Why would a charity pay 20G for a politician to talk to them?

    • A reminder- in the year before entering politics Trudeau earned $462,000 giving speeches. The question is more, why would so many charities pay $15,000 for a speech? I assume because it helped them raise money.

      A good person to ask about charitable organizations, politics and money would be Preston Manning.

      • Brett Wilson has a thoughtful piece in today’s NP about why he charges charities for speaking, despite his multimillionaire status.

        • Brett Wilson also donates a HUGE amount of money to his pet charities. He actually has funded a complete program and building in Calgary. It is a prostate health program at the Rockyview Hospital. Brett is not a paid public servant nor a politician. He can charge every Tom, Dick and Harry charity and donate money to the charities he decides are worthy of his LARGE gifts of money. I am just surprised that Canadian Mental Health isn’t one of Justin Trudeau’s pet charities. After all, it is well known that his mother Maggie suffers from a devastating mental illness, Bipolar Disorder and has had evidence of her illness reported in the national press on occasion.

          • What is this obsession with Margaret Trudeau’s medical condition these days? ( Poor form ‘healthcareinsider’ ..)

          • I work in mental health so it is quite natural that I advocate for awareness of mental illness. People tend not to talk about mental illness because there seems to be a stigma attached to it even though having a mental illness is no different than having any other medical illness. Bipolar Disorder is one of the most serious mental illnesses in terms of the impact it tends to have on the person who has it and their family. People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder type I, as Margaret Trudeau does are often hospitalized for lengthy periods of time several times throughout their lives. Some very successful people have his diagnosis including Ted Turner and the recently deceased Mike Wallace. Margaret Trudeau herself has been open about her illness and has written more than one book about her struggles. I have to tell you that you are the FIRST person ever to say that raising awareness of mental illness is NOT a good thing. Given that Margaret Trudeau speaks to raise awareness of it herself, I will take give your chastising of myself the attention it deserves.

          • What you must understand HEALTHCAREINSIDER is that these people are implying you are a racist and that you are trying to smear Trudeau because his mother had Mental issues.

            The Harper haters are not into logic, facts or common sense.

          • The only mistake I made was in not plugging Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper’s book, “Changing My Mind” in which she details her struggles with Bipolar Disorder. It is a completely antiquated notion that mental illness is somehow due to a weakness that the person who suffers from it could somehow overcome. This kind of thinking has led people to think it is not proper to talk about mental illness and treated it as though it is some kind of taboo subject. The mandate of Canadian Mental Health is to educate people about mental illness and remove the stigma.

          • Racist? You probably want to hit a dictionary on that one. Please assure me that you are not on the public payroll.

          • It is the context in which it is discussed I object to ( in negative posts about her son )

          • I know you object to anything negative myself or anyone else has to say about Justin Trudeau.

          • I am not sure who to vote for yet – but I do know all these attacks on Justin are making me feel almost protective – I wonder if others feel the same way …..

          • I can certainly understand and commiserate with your feelings of being protective. Mine are usually directed at people who are vulnerable because they are disadvantaged through illness, poverty or weakness. I don’t usually feel protective of men in the forties who live a privileged life. I also don’t feel that constructive criticism should be described as an “attack”. If every time a citizen voices a concern about the choices made by our politicians, it is immediately dismissed as ‘an attack’ by those protective of the said politician then doesn’t that completely demean all those citizens who have the right to have their concerns heard? We could certainly shut down any criticism of all politicians in all parties but that would hardly be in the best interests of freedom of speech. I am okay with my motives being questioned because my motives are honorable. I also feel NO protective instinct toward any Canadian politician because I am completely nonpartisan. I admire the work of several Liberals like Calgary mayor Nenshi and Alberta Liberal leader, Raj Sherman. I had hoped to like Justin Trudeau but upon learning of his taking money from Canadian Mental Health, I now have grave doubts about his honor. We will have to see how he matures.

          • I would advise caution – you sound dangerously close to exploiting Ms. Trudeau’s health problems in order to attack her son. And that would be very unprofessional, as I am sure you would agree.

          • I would in turn advise you Jan to read Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper’s book, “Changing My Mind” in which she details her struggle with Bipolar Disorder. Or, failing that you could just look up the interview she gave to Macleans Magazine about her struggles with Bipolar Disorder and the book she wrote about those struggles. It was featured here online a few years ago. To my knowledge, Ms. Kemper has no current health problems and is a well-known, intelligent and outspoken advocate for making people aware of the challenges facing the mentally ill.
            As for your suggestion that I am exploiting Ms. Kemper’s illness in order to attack her son, I think you are misguided to say the least. Exploitation would suggest I have something personal to gain by bringing up Ms. Kemper’s well-documented self-professed struggles with Bipolar Disorder. People have asked me why I have an issue with Justin Trudeau taking money to speak in front of charities. I simply responded that I was shocked that he would take money from Canadian Mental Health given his mother’s well documented struggled with mental illness. Why would you or anyone else think to caution me about explaining the reasons behind my opinion when Ms. Kemper has made information regarding her illness part of the public record. You make it sound like I was her nurse and released confidential information that I was privy to as her caregiver. This could NOT be further from the truth. Shame on you for suggesting that I am unprofessional. I understand your desire to defend Justin’s actions but people like Ted Turner, Margot Kidder, Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper and Mike Wallace have shown uncommon bravery in coming forth to disclose their battles with mental illness and this kind of suggestion that it should be kept in closet just adds to the undeserved stigma that continues to engulf mental illness and hinders people who are suffering from reaching out for help.

          • I stand by what I said. Justin is fair game – he is in public life – his mother is not.

          • His mother is also in the public life, Jan. Whether you like it or not. Her decision to marry a sitting Prime Minister made her one of Canada’s first ladies and with that decision and other choices she has made in life, including HER CHOICE to disclose her health issues, she has been able to write and sell her memoirs.
            This completely convenient attitude from you is really funny given the ridiculous rumors circulating in these comment threats regarding our current first lady, Laureen Harper. If I am not mistaken, many of your friends have reported her so-called involvement in a long-term lesbian relationship with a female RCMP officer. Apparently, some first ladies are “fair game” and others are not. Gosh, I am only repeating something that Margaret Siinclair Trudeau Kempler herself says in own writing, interviews and speeches. Something that I might add, she is not in the least bit embarrassed of and rightly so.
            To my knowledge, Laureen Harper has NEVER disclosed that she is a lesbian. Maybe you should hand-out the chastisement to those people who would send those rumors around.

          • I am little older than you and I remember very well what was said about Margaret at the time – she was definitely fair game. Just because she has been open and frank about her life, The press wasn`t intimidated by her husband in the way they have been by Harper. Laureen`s had a completely free ride. And I love the way you defend Laureen`s privacy and them offer up the juicy rumours.

          • These past few comments:

            HCI——firm and common sense position backed by logic and truth.

            Jan——loose remarks about her age the importance of ignoring mental health issues when Justin is making money of the charity.

          • So now in acknowledging the rumors that have been expressed here on Macleans online, I am exploiting Laureen Harper as well? If Laureen Harper is gay, then there is nothing wrong with that so the rumors are hardly “juicy”. If you find my discussing Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper’s self-acknowledged diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder to be a “juicy rumor”, I am afraid you have completely misconstrued my intention. I have worked in mental health since 1996 and I will ALWAYS be an advocate for the mentally ill. Being an advocate, as Ms. Kemper is, involves educating the public and increasing awareness about the struggles that face people who have mental illnesses. Further, I will go on to send a shout out to another famous first lady who did great things for those struggle with mental illness and if you find that I am exploiting her, than feel free to further chastise me. Betty Ford not only had the courage to admit to and over-come her own addiction issues but she actually opened up rehabilitation clinics so that she could help others who struggled with addiction issues.

          • How do you know what Justin Trudeau does or does not contribute to charity? We do know, via a Con attack ad that he lent his celebrity to a prostrate cancer fundraiser. And by the way, the Canadian Mental Health unit that he was hired by have said they do not want a refund.

          • If you read comments on another thread, I conceded that Justin Trudeau did in fact do a strip-tease for charity. As I have explained “ad nauseam”, I cannot understand why mental health wouldn’t be a pet charity for him.

      • What would be really interesting is to know how much money these charities actually made on these events. Before entering politics or not.

      • And, by his own admission, Jaques Demers. Plus a whole host of other politicians who pimp themselves out to the highest bidder.

    • Many charities are rackets run by telemarketers.

      • So are political parties who prey on seniors through telemarketers.

      • Indeed, this Grace
        Foundation is actually a shell charity run by relatives of Moore’s campaign
        manager receiving millions of government dollars, paying out a small fraction
        of this money to their cause while they themselves receiving hundreds of
        thousands in salaries. The whole speaking engagement complaint was a set up to find some
        fault with Trudeau. This is a Con job being perpetrated on the public as part
        of the Con campaign to discredit him.

          • One can only imagine what’s been going on at Grace Foundation the past week.

          • They’ve probably been wondering what mean and vindictive action the government will take against them for coming clean and showing Moore and the staff of the PMO for the nasty children that they are.

            They probably made sure their books were in order in advance of the likely audit they’ll be facing. (Trudeau speaks to charities, Harper tries to audit them out of existence).

      • You’re absolutely right. Many of them charge as much as 60% of the take.

      • Canadian Mental Health is not a racket run by telemarketers.

    • Because they weren’t hiring “a politician” they were hiring Trudeau first and foremost for his name and public draw.

      • He must be a threat. No one on the planet would have paid Harper to speak in his mail room, pre-politics days.

  6. Blaming both Trudeau and charity is as milquetoast as blaming no one, it is fence sitting.

    Millionaire dilettantes shaking down charities – when they are on public payroll – is scandalous behaviour. I bet Trudeau has his inheritance money stashed away where it pays least amount of tax and then he collects public money for his salary and goes to charities and unions and when he needs extra $$$.

    It is astonishing the focus that msm is putting on charities but not talking about unions and all the $$$ they transferred to The Dauphin – Canada’s journos are unionized, are they shy to talk about union matters because they don’t want to make life difficult for their comrades in labour movement?

    • I didn’t write that both were to blame. I wrote that if one is to blame, the other cannot be any less blameworthy.

      • I think it would be fair to consider how the executives/Board of the Grace Foundation are compensated.

        If they have performance targets (say $$$ raised annually) you might find that the $20k refund from Trudeau simply gets redistributed to them.

        It’s time to get Reformer Jan Brown to fire up the U-Haul and drive cross country with a load of furniture from Calgary for the seniors. She can make a detour up north if you’re willing to give up that purple velour couch.

        • Moreover, if the Foundation had in fact found a sponsor to cover the fee – as I am told they were — any refund might not go directly to the charity, but to that third party.

          -W. Brett Wilson in National Posthttp://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/06/20/w-brett-wilson-a-charity-that-should-be-out-of-business/

    • You don’t pay tax on a stashed inheritance other than on any gains (as these are income). . . technically speaking and paying taxes on those fees results in him paying far more tax than he would by spending his time wisely investing his money or just living off the inheritance.

    • I wonder how the journos feel about bill C-377 then ..

  7. “Partisan advice given at our expense, however, is one thing: a big dirty
    tricks shop, and one that bungles a leak to press at that, is quite
    another.” So maybe someone with a bit less political “experience” than the guy who set this up isn’t such a bad thing?

    • Or, the guy who set it up actually didn’t have enough experience (a possibility a logic fan should not have overlooked).

      • I was surprised the media is applauding the revealing of a source.

        The justification that the source didn’t get a formal confirmation of anonymity is an excuse to write yet another antiHarper article.
        Whistleblowers beware, the media have no scruples when it comes to Harper.

        • The PMO is a “whistleblower” now? Who is the employer that they need to be protected from?

        • By “a formal confirmation of anonymity”, you mean “any agreement at all”. And a “source” is someone you have agreed to use and protect as a source.

      • I’m referring to the guy who set up the PMO and gave them their general directions — and in Steve’s Ottawa that can only be one guy — he doesn’t delegate very well —

    • nonsense. Any one who thinks that all PMO’s have not been about political survival is being deliberately obtuse. All PMO’s promote their own and discredit their opponents, always have. The liberal media is trying to change the channel so Trudeau doesn’t look so unethical and greedy.

  8. The “source” is irrelevant, and going there is a lame attempt by the media to rescue their liberal darling. Their darling is at the trough like so many other liberals. It must be in the DNA. He has lousy judgement, but what really makes me ill is the media. Unbiased journalism? Not in Ottawa. Sickening.

    • Anyone else wonder if the fundybaylady is on the Grace Foundation board? Or maybe one of her daughters?

      • Maybe the media already stalked her on Facebook.

    • The Libluvin’ media are leaping around looking for any angle to take the heat off their Prince.
      It’s almost funny.

      • you mean the Prince of Darkness – Harper?

        • heh, that name is already owned by a Liberal!
          Don’t get him mad.

    • If the source is irrelevant, what’s the story? Trudeau was hired by a college to speak at a fundraiser and the hiring party failed to sell enough tickets to make money?

      Can you explain what the “news” is here.

      • Trudeau was absent from his paid duties as an MP in Parliament in order to do a speaking engagement for personal gain. That’s the story. With most employers, skipping out on work for another job is frowned upon, particularly if you’re still taking a paycheque.

        • Huh?
          He wasn’t even an MP when he spoke for Georgian College.

          • In the current climate facts are irrelevant it seems. The .truth’ according to the Cons is that he played hookey, always, to speak for a fee.

        • You’re spinning the wrong way, lad; your nuts are coming loose.

    • The source of a story is irrelevant? Well, have I got a news site for you:


      Something tells me you’ve been there before.

  9. Poor Thomas Mulcair.

    Does anyone even remember he’s in Ottawa anymore?

    • Maybe he needs headers and dual mufflers on his ride so the RCMP officer already knows who he is when he sails though the stop sign.

      • But but but, he was not ticketed,
        a CPC MP was tho, for a rolling stop instead of a complete stop.
        So he has clout with the Parliament Police.

        • ” for a rolling stop instead of a complete stop”

          According to who?

          • The PMO – all messages come from there.

        • While talking on her cell phone. Try for the whole truth instead of the Con edited version.

        • Looking at all the investigations you might think the Conservatives are being persecuted, but then most criminals feel the same way.

        • You know, I’ll agree with you that if Mulcair drove as reported, he sure as hell should have been ticketed. I am just tired of them believing they deserve different — better — treatment than us poor slobs who they represent. I don’t care if Harb is Liberal and Duffy is CPC: if they ripped us off, they deserve the same punitive measures the rest of us would expect.

          • Patchouli

            You make a good point. I voted up on that one.

            What makes all of us “little people” unhappy is when these people are given privileges and they abuse them and think they are entitled.

    • Who?

      • Hardly. Mulcair was magnificent grilling Harper in the HoC. Direct questions to which he received nothing in return. Now let Harper and Trudeau point fingers at each other over who’s more unethical.

        • So, everyone who watches Question Period live still remembers he’s there then?

          Keep in mind, I didn’t mean my comment as a criticism of Mulcair per se, more a comment on how funny it is how much attention the Tories are paying to the leader of the third party in the House these days.

    • Mulcair’s performance in QP made Trudeau look like a 6th grader, so yes, we all know he was in Ottawa. Where was Justin?

      • Sure. My point was more that “all” in this case is “all Canadians who watch Question Period”. Beyond Macleans commenters, that’s what? Six people? Seven?


        • The QP clips are on the national news most evenings.
          With his performance in QP and JTs ‘greed is good’ fees, NDP supporters have reason to stick with Mulcair and not switch to Trudeau.
          Insurmountable uphill battle for Trudeau to win the 130 more seats he needs to win govt.

          • NDP supporters have reason to stick with Mulcair and not switch to Trudeau.

            The PMO will be glad to hear it!

          • Maybe Harper should come up with a serious attack on Mulcair then, rather than his driving habits and not taking a bribe 20 years ago.

    • Apparently the RCMP gate watchers don’t : )

  10. “…Justin Trudeau for prime minister? Really? He’s got no executive experience, no experience of any kind that is remotely adjacent to being leader of a G8 country…”

    Naturally he’s got no executive experience. Neither did Harper when he became leader of the Canadian Alliance. In fact most people, the conservatives first amongst them, prefer not to mention his previous views on things at all, and for good reason. He did become Prime Minister though, so you tell me whether previous executive experience mattered.

    And while one can naturally argue that Harper had more direct experience with being an MP than Trudeau when he became leader, that’s not to suggest that Harper’s exerience is “better” as it relates to representing Canadian interests. Harper’s proven to be very divisive and hard-headed.

    From my perspective the job of a leader is to have vision, to sell it successfully and have the skills related to delivering on that vision once elected.

    What’s missing from the equation for me at this point, is knowing whether or not Trudeau is a good enough judge of character to get the right advice and then listen to it. For someone like Trudeau, who is clearly not going to have the technical experience of Harper, good advice is key, and could in fact lead to less centralization of authority.

    But then I think Trudeau is more clear-headed about his vision for Canada than Harper to begin with, who seems merely to play on the populist sentiments of his base to exclusion of all else. Which is not to say Trudeau isn’t doing the same to some degree, but he also seems to actually think in broader more inclusive terms about where this country should go in a human sense, which for me is the key difference, and one I appreciate.

    • Justin has been busy working hard for a very important charity. His own. And, if all the media coverage is correct, he’s been doing rather well at it.

      • Justin Trudeau has been being a good breadwinner for his young family.

        • You are right about that. Going into public life is hard on people and their families. It’s probably more than they bargain for, unless it’s the end game they have in mind.

    • Trudeau will be the second Lib leader to never have held a Ministerial position, Ignatieff was the first.
      Trudeau has a vision for Canada? Care to share what the vision is, and compare what he ‘says’ to what he ‘does’.
      Because we in Alberta have ‘heard’ his talking points, and see him do something entirely different.

      • Harper never held any position of note before becoming party leader….

        • That is so not true.
          But if it you feel better saying it, and think it makes your guys lack of political experience seem ‘normal’, fill your boots.

          • if it’s so not true then write the truth?

            list the positions that Harper had in private practice?

    • What was Harper’s experience before he entered politics?

      • -chief aide to Progressive Conservative MP Jim Hawkes in 1985
        -founding member of the Reform Party 1987
        -Reform Party’s Chief Policy Officer 1988-1992, drafted the 1988 election platform.
        -Deb Grey’s executive assistant, and chief adviser and speechwriter until 1993

        Elected MP 1993
        Won leadership of Alliance and leader of Official Opposition in 2002
        Co-founded and won leadership of the CPC 2004
        Lead CPC to minority govt 2006 and 2008, majority 2011

        • and no, I don’t get paid by the PMO
          I volunteer my time and money to the party,
          it’s a ‘middle class’ thing.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • This comment was deleted.

        • oh all taxpayer funded jobs

          Harper is a career politician, lifelong moocher of the public dime.

          has he had any private sector experience?

          • Oh my gawd, take a position and stick with it will yah.

            Your guy has zip for political experience other than watching his Dad do the pirouette for the Queen and giving the West the one fingered salute.
            It is what it is Dave.

          • maybe having zilch for political experience is better than having been at the public trough for 25 yrs.

          • Sharon Wilson

            Deals with facts.

            Trudeau has done nothing but play his celebrity status.

            Do you idiots want a celebrity or someone who “earned” their way.

            Trudeau entered politics in 2007 when he won the race to be Liberal nominee in his riding.

            Since then his entry into politics his “celebrity” status went up and he milked it for all it was worth “DOUBLED” his speaking fees.

            Trudeau represents all that is bad about unions, entitlement Hogs and greed. HOW ELSE DO YOU EXPLAIN DOUBLING THE FEES.

          • He asked “What was Harper’s experience before he entered politics?” You responded with a list of political positions. He stuck with his position; either you misread the question, or you are practicing the CPC fine art of non-responsiveness.

        • So over 25 years at the public trough. Odd for someone who hates government, isn’t it?

        • Sharon typical con can’t give a straight answer to a simple question. The key was BEFORE he entered politics. Earning your pay working as staff for a politician is “in” politics. You should know that Sharon, these are the pool of political hangers on that are most likely to be thrown under the conservative bus.

        • Flimsiest resume since Joe Clark.

    • For starters, at least Trudeau has a vision, unlike Harper who if he does have one, refuses to share it with Canadians. Can you imagine any other “leader” who has people vetted before he will engage with them, during a CAMPAIGN?

      Harper was elected by playing up to anger, didn’t want the message getting out from his campaign stops because then people in different parts of Canada would realize he was playing them off against each other. He can’t share his vision because it was a bunch of lies.

  11. When you say one thing and then do another, Canadians figure out pretty quick that you are speaking from notes, not the heart.
    Middle class Canadians relate easily to giving time and money to charity,
    Trudeau blew his own image as mr. nice, and with no experience to fall back on,
    this lack of moral judgement will really hurt his chances of convincing ‘middle class’ Canadians he is one of us.

    • meanwhile his poll numbers are hitting new highs.

      it must be a real punch to your gut from Champion JT.

      • Funny you should mention that.
        Nik Nanos was on CBC for 2 days with polls, and yet no ‘if an election were held today, who would you vote for’.
        If Trudeau’s numbers were holding, CBC would have been the first out of the gate to tell us.

          • 380 is a poll aggregate, they do nothing other than take other peoples numbers and average them out.
            And btw, 380 had to apologize for getting the 2011 election prediction sooooooo wrong

          • Well Sharon – all the polls that they show have JT head and above tails above your Dear leader.

          • All the polls had Adrian Dix and Danielle Smith winning too.
            How’d that turn out?
            And that was just a day before election night.

          • so then how do you gage that Canadians are turning away from JT?

            your mind just went CLONK!!!!

          • We’re entering the political silly season of summer. Probably best to ignore everything for the next few months and enjoy the pleasant weather. Politics will resume in September.

          • agreed.

          • That’s right; an average of polls. One would think, given the larger sample, that it is a bit more reliable than any single poll…

    • Thanks Sharon, your opening sentence describes the entire Reform caucus.

      I’m not sure what is in your water, but most of us see this for what it is – just another attempt to discredit the leader of the third party in the house because the Conservatives are more interested in attacking others than they are in advancing policy. It is backfiring just as the juvenile attack ads did. Canadians want a leader with vision, not one who makes himself feel bigger by bashing those around him. Stop wasting our tax dollars with your partisan and childish bullying in the PMO. GROW UP!

      But since you brought up hypocrisy, why do the Conservatives have an issue with our veterans wearing their uniforms? Don’t they deserve to be proud of their service, when they risked their lives and their futures for our future? Could it be that the conservatives don’t like being told that what they’re doing to Canada isn’t what they fought the axis for? As usual, the party that says one thing (we support our troops???) has them begging for the benefits to which they were entitled, and threatens them when they wear their uniforms without permission. Completely and absolutely slimy little war mongering wannabes. They like playing with the toys, but the human beings they send to war? Not so much.

    • Oh Sharon, Sharon, Sharon. Apparently it was all a (another) PMO lie. The Grace foundation didn’t ask for their money back. That was all an invention of your fellow children in the PMO.


      If this was the worst they could dig up and then they couldn’t even dig it up, they had to invent it, doesn’t that go even farther than being a hypocrite? Now you’re a lying hypocrite, and they did it all to themselves.

      Best laugh I’ve had in a while.

      • What’s with this Saint John MP, Rob Moore? Now that poor charity is calling the government a liar, and visa versa. They should change the name to “Graceless Foundation.”

      • What your blog said was that the Grace Foundation never asked Mr. Moore for help getting their money back. It didn’t say the Grace Foundation didn’t ask for their money back. They did ask for the money back but they are claiming they didn’t want the huge political fallout.

    • See, with that first sentence I would have sworn you were talking about Harper…

  12. Justin Trudeau is leading in opinion polls now. So I think we should just go ahead and appoint him Prime Minister. Who needs an election?

  13. Fortunately Canadians THINK BEFORE VOTING.

    • And yet we still have Harper. How the hell did THAT happen?

  14. I think the term non partisan civil servant is an oximoron

  15. so they stay non profit, and hopefully will be disbanded for paying any human 20000, what were they paying for him to say, were any others going to refuse such a handsome sum, it is gracious of mr. trudeau to offer to return the money , and this charity, it has corrupted itselft and its mandate and anyone receiving from it will be terribly adversely affected due to the corruption of this agency, at least notice, they will not get away with this breach of promise, in canada, the law is actually already in place that this agency has broken, mr. trudeau, or any canadian can actually have this agency charged for misrepresenting itself, a non profit, offering 20000, that should have gone to its activities, no one in canada expects a non profit to be this reckless with money and ONLY donates with the ASSURANCE that the money go to operating the non profit as advertised, NOTHING to do with any type of socializing, no matter what. this non profit should be taken to court for this misappropriation of funds gained on the trust of their usage, certainly not to enhance a known celebrity to attend for a few locals to gauk at.

  16. I think Liberal defence on these news site is doing more harm than good for Justin. You guys just come across as trolls unable to talk about the central point or even the issues related to the point. Why? Is it because the facts are too hard to defend so you need to insult and anguish. I wish you well, good luck with Justin. A heads up…he won’t get elected…his voting record will be pushed into public light for us all to see.