Farewell then, Hand-Picked Dimitri Soudas

‘This contributes to the feeling Harper’s majority mandate has been snakebit’

Dimitri Soudas

(CP Photo)

“Today I am writing to direct your full attention to the Confidential Memo I received today from Dimitri Soudas, the dynamic new Executive Director of the Conservative Party hand-picked by Prime Minister Harper,” Sen. Irving Gerstein wrote in a letter to Conservative donors dated 16 days ago.

Soudas had written to Gerstein — Confidentially! —  to make a “new, urgent and pressing request” to raise $1.23 million within 90 days, a “critical need” that was “essential in keeping our Conservative Majority in power — and keeping Stephen Harper as Canada’s Prime Minister.” Well, like you, I’m sure Gerstein dropped everything upon receiving this Confidential Memo from dynamic hand-picked Dimitri — or DHPD as he’s known in tippy-top Conservative circles — so he could rush that memo out to donors. Nancy! Cancel lunch at the wading pool. We’ve got a red-ball from Hand-Picked Dimitri! Start licking the envelopes — this one’s a Code Seven!

And barely two weeks later it has all turned to ashes, because three days after Hand-Picked Dimitri sent his Confidential Memo to Irv describing the urgent, pressing, critical, essential crisis menacing Stephen Harper’s very future and —as if this even needed saying! — the Commonwealth’s along with it, Hand-Picked Dimitri reportedly drove his life partner Eve Adams to a riding-association meeting in Oakville—North Burlington, where Adams is not the incumbent MP, and waited outside in the hall while she made enough of a scene to get herself kicked out. Then he fired the guy who wrote to the party complaining about her behaviour. What a coincidence.

Of course the party was shocked and outraged at this — this — this scene. And you could tell. “We’re running fair and open nominations,” party spokesman Cory Hann said.

No, wait. Maybe that line didn’t strike quite the right tone. Because tonight, Hand-Picked Dimitri has become Ass-Kicked Dimitri, having resigned (CP’s first version) or been fired (CTV’s version) or been told to resign so he wouldn’t be fired (the later CP version) from his job as dynamic and hand-picked Executive Director. And all with barely 70 days left to go in his urgent, pressing, critical, essential mission to save the Prime Minister and, with him (of course) everything Canadians cherish. I just don’t know how we’re going to break the news to Sen. Gerstein.

The good news is, he’s got more time to drive Eve around now.

So what’s it all mean for Harper?

Recall (he said as if there was any chance you actually would recall) that Soudas was the Conservatives’ third executive director in six months, replacing Dave Forestell who replaced Dan Hilton who was left standing without a seat when the music stopped on what is known in Conservative circles as “the C-Vote mess.” That the PM’s communications director would take the pains to tweet Soudas’s arrival (the same comms guy made no such announcement about, say, the arrival of Joe Oliver as finance minister) is explained by the fact that Soudas’s return was intended to mark a return to skill and competence in the Conservatives’ management of their internal affairs, after the unfortunate business of a personal cheque, a PMO chief of staff, and a telegenic senator. There was, and still is, the small matter of a federal election to plan for. Another signal Soudas was meant to send was that it will be Harper’s election, not some successor Conservative leader’s, to win.

Soudas was receiving mixed reviews for his work until he showed up at Oakville — North Burlington and fired Wally Butts, by which I mean that I’ve been reading negative reviews in colleagues’ reports but had heard only good things myself. “He’s getting things done,” a senior member of the government told me the other day. “He’s way more responsive than the last guy.” (I didn’t have the heart to ask which of two recent last guys this referred to.) And indeed, in the much larger number of ridings where Soudas wasn’t affianced to one of the potential candidates, things were going pretty well. One presumes they will continue to do so, in the sense that candidates will be nominated to run for the Conservatives and will do so with enthusiasm.

This latest uproar is more of a sensation in the Queensway bubble than in the real world, where most people had the luxury of not knowing who Soudas is. It contributes to the feeling that Harper’s majority mandate has been snakebit. Lately when the PM sticks in his thumb he has not managed to handpick many plums: Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, Marc Nadon, Soudas. Tonight it emerged that Justin Trudeau swore at a charity boxing match. The PM’s spokesman said the incident spoke poorly of Trudeau’s judgment.


Farewell then, Hand-Picked Dimitri Soudas

  1. The media cant be serious about going after JT for trying to explain to people in the audience, what he was told before he went into the ring in the big fight night with the Brazman while harper and the con party are having a melt down. Boy are the media ever way in well over their heads ? Which is the most juicier story, it seems the F-bomb sells more papers I guess, that just explains the mob mentality and the IQ of the media about whats a priority to print in the news, and I will bet JT still wins Chows seat in downtown TO.

    • I don’t think the media actually care about that one. Other than being mildly amused.

  2. PW – remember when a column like this would get 300 reader comments in 2 days? I do. Now I feel like Grandpa Simpson.

    • I’m kind of enjoying the peace and quiet. It can’t last.

      • I’m about 50/50 with my comments actually appearing.

        Are we now being moderated, or are these comments just vanishing into the ether?

        • Thanks for flagging the issue. We’re still working on issues with the new comment system.

          • You can add another one to your list. You know you guys could just say if you’re rationing comment space.

          • Noted. Thanks for flagging the issue. No rationing of comment space here. Only comments with obvious obscenity are removed.

          • You realize Emily that you may miss out on some great comments from the Liberal leader with that policy.

          • …like maybe adding an “editer” ;) ,…, but that now does bring me to the real question Emily,
            -> So what was wrong with the old “coment system” ?

      • You’re going to miss us Paul…admit it.

        I’m over my fit of pique at all the changes around here. But i’ m still stunned how effectively you guys managed to sweep us all off the board like little chess pieces that had ceased to entertain. I’m even beginning to entertain the possibility it may even have been worth it – driving off the worst of the trolls – if they stay away! My worst guess is that you wont get them back, which i’m sure keeps you up at night.
        I must admit i’m still a little sad over the loss of the sense of community here @ macleans though, even if it was pretty dysfunctional lately.
        Hope you manage to build up a new clientele over time. Macleans is still a great site for news junkies.

        • Seconded. This comment board was pretty unique. I miss it already.

          Love the portrayal of Gerstein, written in the style of the Conservative direct mail piece.

        • Agreed.
          Once upon a time this place was a lush valley of differing viewpoints and persuasive argument.
          I guess time will tell

          • Funny thing is i think we’ve seen this movie before – the format – it sucked back then too. Guess it’s a tabletty kind of world now. But in the spirit of the day… they can just f’k right off.

          • For what it is worth, I prefer less conversation when it is this civilized. The sites that get 300+ comments generally do so due to the regression of normal, mature adult dialogue into something more at home at a junior high school.

            And while I am not exempting myself from that criticism, there are several people I simply do not miss (or maybe just one person with several personas :)).

        • wow, aka , speak for yourself kcm2,
          meaning, troll-banishing is done at the IT-admin level of things, unless of course macleans doesn’t really have a competent one, but going to this cheapo, from a corn-flakes box, so-called “new” comment system will NOT deter trolls, unfortunately they’re always with us, but it did most defeintely quiiet things down here.
          I dunno, maybe it was for ecomonmic reasons, but the great “canadian-comradery” is all but gone from macleans now.

      • Why would a journalist want peace and quiet?

        Not many articles to be written on that!

        • :)

  3. Veni, vidi, didici accensus

  4. Dear Leader styles of governing run on fear, ruthless merciless tactics (Helena where are you?), and thousands of loyal enforcers. When they start break down instead of hitting every pitch out of the park it’s foul balls, ground outs, and hitting into double plays. You seem to lose it all at once. (just a little ode to opening day)

  5. Taken down by Wally Butts…a fitting political epitaph for Dimi when you think bout it.

  6. Reports indicate the PMO was flooded with complaints about Dimitri and Eve. That’s what happens, of course, when the big wheel turns: the great base out there is not quite so afraid to complain.
    I wonder if that Rathberger guy out there might not go down as more important historically than we have recognized?

  7. This may be an “inside baseball” kind of story, but it also prevents the CPC from going after Trudeau for the LPC nomination woes in TS, so kind of a double whammy in that sense.

    Those who are covering this story seem to be making it about Harper’s judgment, which is happening because of his many other lapses in judgment.. It does kind of go with the CPC “Say the opposite of what is true at all times” strategy…

  8. Hmmm, two power CPC power couples (Jaffer/Guergis; Soudas/Adams) down in flames . . . . never two without three . . . So now I am wondering when Poilievre/Byrne get it. Maybe we should start a pool.

    • Maybe the third was a Liberal power couple…Tony Ianno and Christine Innes…what is the saying about strange bedfellows?

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