Tory byelection attack on Trudeau features riding’s former Liberal MP

Jim Karygiannis calls flyers an ‘all-time low for the Conservatives’


OTTAWA – The Conservatives are pulling out all the stops in a bid to steal Scarborough-Agincourt away from the Liberals, including giving the Toronto riding’s former Liberal MP a starring role in their latest attack against Justin Trudeau and his plan to legalize marijuana.

The governing party has blanketed the riding with a flyer that features a photo of Jim Karygiannis and a quote from him: “This is not the same Liberal party we knew. The party has changed.”

The flyer attributes the quote to “your former Liberal MP of 25 years” explaining why he decided to resign last April, triggering a byelection on June 30.

The flip side shows a photo of an unsavoury-looking Trudeau, sporting a goatee, superimposed on a picture of young boy lighting up a joint. Trudeau appears to be standing in a haze of smoke.

“Trudeau wants marijuana in local stores, just like alcohol and cigarettes,” the flyer claims.

In fact, Trudeau argues that legalizing, regulating and taxing pot would help keep it out of the hands of children and starve organized crime of its lucrative marijuana trade.

Microscopic print reveals that the flyer was “authorized by the registered agent of the Conservative Party of Canada.” But Karygiannis believes it was intended to appear as though it came from him.

“This is an all-time low for the Conservatives,” he said in an interview, calling the flyer a “very low and distasteful attack” that misrepresents him and his reason for leaving federal politics.

Karygiannis said he’s still a member of the Liberal party and has endorsed Arnold Chan, the Liberal candidate in the riding. He’s been trying to stay out of the byelection contest but said the Conservative flyer has “made me want to go vote for Arnold twice because of what they did.”

When he announced his resignation in April, Karygiannis said he wanted to be closer to his family and that he intends to run for a spot on city council in this fall’s municipal election.

The quote used in the flyer comes from an interview Karygiannis gave the Globe and Mail some weeks later and had nothing to do with Trudeau’s marijuana policy. He was reminiscing about his reputation as a bare-knuckle political organizer, particularly among ethnic communities, and bemoaning what he sees as the current tendency to eschew hardball tactics and take ethnic groups for granted.

Scarborough-Agincourt is one of the most ethnically diverse ridings in the country and has been a Karygiannis fiefdom since 1988, although his margin of victory in the last election slipped to less than 5,000 votes ahead of the Conservative.

While he insisted he’s fully behind Chan, Karygiannis said Trudeau’s marijuana policy and his recent decree that all Liberal candidates must be willing to support a woman’s right to choose in any vote on abortion “doesn’t sit well” with many constituents in the riding.

“You’ve got to remember this area where I’m in is very traditional families, pro-life, heterosexual marriage, you know husband and wife, and there’s a lot of churches … This is a law and order community,” he said.

So, while the Conservative flyer was “very low,” Karygiannis said, “It has the possibility of hurting Arnold.”

The Conservatives have been playing down their chances of stealing the riding, going so far as to suggest their candidate, elementary school teacher Trevor Ellis, will be lucky to get his deposit back. But they’ve been flooding the riding with high-profile party emissaries.

Among those who’ve put in appearances are Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, former minister Stockwell Day and Employment Minister Jason Kenney, the Tory’s wooer-in-chief of ethnic communities.

Scarborough-Agincourt is one of four federal ridings up for grabs in byelections on June 30. Another Toronto riding, Trinity-Spadina, and two in Alberta, Fort McMurray-Athabasca and Macleod, are also in play.

The Conservatives are widely expected to easily hang on to their two Alberta seats. Trinity-Spadina, left vacant when New Democrat Olivia Chow resigned to join the race for Toronto mayor, is a fight between the NDP and Liberals.

The Conservatives have targeted Trudeau’s marijuana stance before.

During a tight byelection in Manitoba’s Brandon-Souris riding late last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper personally waded in to the fray just days before the vote with a letter to constituents which, among other things, asserted that “Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize marijuana will make it more accessible to our kids and encourage recreational drug use.”

A Tory flyer distributed in that campaign claimed the Liberals would make marijuana “more available to minors.”

The Tories ultimately hung onto Brandon-Souris, a longtime Conservative fortress, but just barely eked out a win over the Liberals.

The Conservatives have also run radio and television ads — including some targeting ethnic communities — making similar claims about Trudeau’s plan making pot more accessible to kids.

The Scarborough-Agincourt flyer takes the attack a step further, directly accusing Trudeau of wanting to sell marijuana in local stores.

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Tory byelection attack on Trudeau features riding’s former Liberal MP

  1. Obviously conservative polling tells them they can take this riding in the right circumstances. I assume the dishonest flyer is their attempt to manufacture these circumstances.

    • The problem for the Liberals, Gayle, is the flyers are not lying. These are factual quotes from the parties involved. If it is ok for the Provincial Liberals to campaign aggressively then it’s ok for the Federal Conservatives. I love it. For too long, the Conservatives have been attacked from all sides and do not fight back. It is about time they dropped the gloves.

      • Using the quote in this fashion is an attempt to make people believe he meant one thing, when in fact he meant another.

        I don’t know what your definition of “honesty” is, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come from the dictionary.

    • The more the cons spend now, the less they’ll have to spend in 2015. This will stay a grit seat. im thinking Trudeau is eating in to some support out west, and this is just a diversion to keep the focus off of the western seats. The people of Ontario no who Trudeau is, but they are really not sure who the person from the con party is, but they also know a vote for a con, is a vote for Steve Harper, in others words, the cons are again running on fear.

  2. This kind of crap makes me ill. I didn’t like the Wynne folks telling voters that Hudak would be blowing up hospitals, or that kids would die if Hudak was elected, or that another Walkerton would happen..etc..etc….

    I don’t like it when “my side” does it either.

    Sadly, this kind of crap works; as the Ontario election showed.

    • The Ontario election was Hudak’s fourth attempt. He and his party won only 1 by-election of the four held at the same time last year, after which many members of his Progressive-in-name-only Party wanted him turfed from his role as leader. Tim Hudak lost, not because of fear of him created by negative ads but because of a visceral reaction by voters to both Hudak and his extremist policies.

      • There was nothing extremist about Hudak’s policies. We do need to balance the books, and Wynne, whether she admits it or not, will now be responsbile for it.

        The Unions spent millions to see Hudak defeated, and the Liberals should actually have included this in their election spending limits, as they did the heavy lifting for the Libs. The negative (dishonest) attack ads worked, but the one thing you and I can agree on budster, is that like you, I don’t think Hudak had what it takes to be Premier. Granted, I don’t think Wynne does either……but there you are.

        One of the main reasons Hudak lost, is because conservative supporters such as myself, didn’t bother going out to vote. We didn’t like any of the choices.

        • We don’t need to balance the books any more than a family that owes money for a car or has a mortgage on their home or temporarily uses their credit line for purchases and pays them off over time.

          There aren’t enough hard core Conservatives for Hudak to have won and his policies were too extreme for soft supporters.

  3. The Liberals have unions and “Working families” and other interest groups doing the dirty work for them, though they do not stay totally away from it themselves. The PC party do not have these, so they run the negative attacks themselves. I do NOT like it! But unfortunately it works. If you can paint your opponent as one who will destroy the country/province, blow up hospitals and generally cause havoc, then you get the votes. How sad…

    • This is a federal by-election. The governing party is the Conservative Party of Canada, not the PC’s. FYI The Ontario election was a week ago and the Liberals won a majority.

  4. “Jason Kenney, the Tory’s wooer-in-chief of ethnic communities.”
    – ahh yes, that’s right, I mean, how else can Jason and the Harponauts get rid of existing Canadian workforce, unless of course, they replace them all with TFW’s ?

    Golemizing Marijuana:
    But the Tories are “legalizing” it via clandestine (ehm Medical) Corporattion’s/growers, and then they’re going to sell it to anyone anyway, as long as they have a “Pass-Doctor-Go-Card” no probs, just sign here, for legal reasons, and we’ll allow you to buy it, + HST, …
    -what’s the effin’ difference?

    • I wouldn’t “legalize” marijuana, but I would decriminilze it. If you want to grow and smoke it in your home….fill your boots, but don’t smoke it in public (it stinks) and don’t give it to kids.

      It is a ticketing offence only. Pay a fine…and go on your way. (Of course, smoking it and driving vehicles should be criminilized)

  5. There are lies, damn lies and Harper specials, CPC smear campaigns.

  6. This isn’t ‘conservative’…it’s US Republican, through and through, which means if negative ads don’t work, aim lower. At this stage, despite Trudeau weakness, Harper is running against himself. Voter fatigue is setting in and hardening against the CronyCons and only radical changes at the top will save them from the utter electoral slaughter that looms on the horizon.

    • MFWIC wrote:
      “At this stage, despite Trudeau weakness”

      I don’t think Trudeau is “weak” in the sense you mean. He’s actually riding pretty high in the polls. If by weak, you mean incompetent, and not having the intelligence to run the country…then I agree with you.

      Trudeau is not popular because of any real accomplishments, or competence….he’s popular because he is NOT harper. That’s it.

      everyone waiting for a freebie can’t wait to see Harper leave.

  7. OMG are you saying that a political party used innuendo to make their opponent look bad, stopping just shy of outright lying? what is the world coming to?

    Meanwhile Obama lost the emails about the IRS targeting of conservative non-profit groups, but you wouldnt know that from reading Macleans.

    • Try to remember: this is about Canadian politics.

    • OMG Who knew the President of the US has so much time on his hands that he was keeping track of the IRS e-mails? Do you think they were in the attache case that travels everywhere with him?

      • Budster, I think Average Ape was referring to the amount of time Obama seemed to have to direct Louis Lerner to target his conservative opponents by means of harrassment by the IRS. Obama always seems to have time for:

        1. Acting illegally if it suits his purpose.
        2. golfing
        3. Reading speeches other people wrote
        4. Going on trashy TV shows like the VIEW..etc..etc..

        what he apparently DOESN’T have time for is:

        1. US miitary vets who need medical help
        2. Following the US constitution
        3. Providing for security for Libyan embassy’s
        4. Acting to prevent the use of chemical weapons
        5. Acting to prevent the over-run of Iraq by terrorists
        6. Acting to pressure Russia to stop its aggression agaisnt its neighbours
        7. Making a decison on Keystone (which he’s already made…answer is no)

        yes…why would Obama want to spend ANY time doing the job of President, when he can golf, or talk about Climate change. It is no wonder Obama surrounds himself with incompetents like Hillary clinton, Eric Holder, john kerry..etc..etc..

        It’s like the average looking girl who goes out to the bar with her ugly friends. It just makes her look better in comparison.

        US is doomed under Obama.

        • News Flash
          Faux News’ northern reporter. Richard of Halifax has absorbed and spouted off the more inane talking points from Rupert Murdoch’s US subsidiary.

    • So it appears you believe it is OK for a political party to do this, and outrageous to point out when a political party is doing this.

      That says something about your standards.

  8. “The quote used in the flyer comes from an interview Karygiannis gave the Globe and Mail some weeks later and had nothing to do with Trudeau’s marijuana policy. He was reminiscing about his reputation as a bare-knuckle political organizer, particularly among ethnic communities, and bemoaning what he sees as the current tendency to eschew hardball tactics and take ethnic groups for granted.”

    Joan Bryden you are a bald faced liar.

    From Karygiannis’ own web site, his quote was in reference to Trudeau’s “open nominations” fiasco in Trinity Spadina. You know, the one that got him sued by Christine Innes.

    Referring to the ugly nomination battle in Trinity-Spadina, in which one candidate was barred despite a promise to hold open contests, Mr. Karygiannis said “This is not the same Liberal Party we knew. The party has changed.

    • You agree then that this had nothing to do with the marihuana policy and therefore the flyer is dishonest?

      Because your little complaint here really has nothing to do with the point of the article. Just sayin’…

      In any event, having read the article you link to I can see how it could appear he was referring to courting ethnic communities, though I do agree it is more likely he was referring to the nomination contest.