Welcome to politics, Andrew Leslie

The general becomes a politician

(CP Photo)

(CP Photo)

Do not feel bad for Andrew Leslie. At least don’t feel too bad.

“My name’s Andy and I’m a Liberal,” he said.

The crowd cheered.

There is, of course, nothing anonymous or forgiving about politics. At least not once you have declared yourself for a particular side or stepped forward and offered yourself up in some official capacity.

With his wife and two daughters seated before him to his left, his party leader seated before him to his right, the general stood where the spotlights met at the end of a brutal week.

“I firmly believe this is the best country to raise a family in the world,” he said, after commending to us his wife, his three kids and his mother.

The crowd cheered.

There were sentences now about his time in service to his country, about foreign lands and peacekeeping and war—”actual war,” he noted. There was an acknowledgement of the death and destruction that means and a note of thanks to all those of us who have rallied around our troops. He spoke of the floods and flames at home. He spoke about teamwork and dedicating oneself to the collective improvement.

“Like sometimes happens with individuals after jobs like the ones I had, I had conversations with several political parties on potential ways that I could best serve Canada. Last year I made my decision. I wanted to join a team motivated to serve Canadians through hope and hard work. I wanted a leader I could follow heart and soul,” he said, appearing to point directly at Mr. Trudeau. “I’m a Liberal.”

The crowd cheered.

It is perhaps tempting to think of Andrew Leslie, decorated man of the military, retired lieutenant-general, as something other than a politician. But he is a politician. Whenever and however he came to be one, he is now. And he does not seem to be shrinking from it.

“Now, I don’t know if any of you noticed, but one of the other parties doesn’t seem to be taking the news so well.”

The crowd laughed.

“I want to tell them, look, it wasn’t you, it was me.”

The crowd cheered.

“But, you know what, after this last week, it was really them.”

The crowd laughed and cheered and stood to applaud.

“They’re not going to like that,” he quipped.

“Who cares!” yelled a voice from the back.

In the past week, the retired general has had his judgement questioned. He has been attacked by a minister of the crown and accused of gross excess and entitlement. His personal real estate has been scrutinized. The terms of his daughter’s unemployment have been questioned.

Was the past week brutal? Was it unfair? Was it unseemly and unbecoming? Was it not quite a dignified exchange of thoughtful perspectives on the collective best interest? Sure.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for politics being something like the most difficult business (with all due respect to Mr. Leslie’s previous occupation). No one should attain public office without being tested and challenged and poked and prodded and made to answer for themselves. We should probably hope to avoid discouraging decent people from participating, but we should also not ever expect it to be easy.

“It’s been quite the week for my family and I,” he said. “The Conservatives were thoughtful enough to welcome me into political life with a 21-gun salute.”

The crowd laughed.

“And, by the way, as a gunner, technically I could understand the organization skills and the sense of timing required to make this happen.”

The crowd laughed and cheered.

This was good theatre—a tease of the revelation leaked to the press beforehand, Mr. Leslie now stood on stage and joked and mocked. He was not quite a smooth speaker—he eschewed a teleprompter and thus relied on notes, his eyes, beneath that swoosh of hair atop his head, cast downward—but he was confident and agile.

“This was a partisan attack, designed to discourage others like me, or like you, from joining Justin’s team because certain people are frightened by the spirit of optimism and hard work and hope,” he said.

He appealed to the high road. This professional leader of men heaped praise on his party leader and ridiculed the government’s defence policy. When he was done, Mr. Trudeau bounded on stage and embraced him.

He was somewhat shakier a little while later in his appearance before the ravenous press, but he was also obviously willing to play coy. What precisely had gone on between him and the Conservative party? He couldn’t possibly say. Would he run as a Liberal candidate in the next election? Stay tuned.

And asked about the Defence Minister’s suggestion that Mr. Leslie had not been entirely forthcoming about his knowledge of the expense claim, the general did not quite demure.

“What the minister says, it’s entirely up to him,” Mr. Leslie offered. “I was a bit surprised to see him in on a weekend, in a building apparently he’s rarely in.”

Mr. Leslie would seem quite ready for Question Period.

Shortly thereafter he took his leave.

“Are you calling Rob Nicholson lazy? Are you calling Rob Nicholson lazy?” yelled a reporter. “Because that’s what you’re implying, are you not?”

Mr. Leslie turned and smiled on his way out the door.

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Welcome to politics, Andrew Leslie

  1. Ouch….political novice or not, this guy’s good

  2. This comment was deleted.

    • So the Cons rejected Leslie because of the final re-location costs, john? You guys need to straighten this out.

      • The Cons are saying that Leslie approached them about “joining the party before he approached the Liberals.” He didn’t come right out and deny this when asked about it.

          • Retiring generals don’t have to go looking for work….job offers come looking for them.

          • Try to keep up Em. This “retired general” admitted he contacted Harper for a job. What is in contention is whether or not he or the CPC discussed him running for a seat under the Con banner.

          • LOL no he didn’t.

            And yes, I read the article.

          • Yup, read that one too

          • This comment was deleted.

          • “Over the course of the last couple of years, depending on
            what level, people approached me and as you get higher up the food chain, you’re talking to them and you’re approaching them, and it’s a bit of a back and forth,” he told reporters. “Much akin to a dance.”

          • Okay….right….but he approached them for a job in the first email that he did not end up getting….one with the museum so obviously he was NEVER approached by anyone with any authority in regard to that particular position. Therefore, this retired general approached the con government for jobs. He also asked for a job in the military. Now Emily, given that the emails are proof that he did approach the con government with regard to at least one specific job as apposed to his vague suggestion that he was approached, I would say the written word is far more reliable. Now you can go away.

          • It’s a discussion of jobs over 2 years, back and forth…..and he was probably being approached by other parties and corporations and universities at the same time.

            You would say a lot of things HI…most of them untrue much like your Dear Leader……but Libs are up by 8 points. Sorry.

          • Now you are saying he was approached by “other parties, corporations and universities” as though that is relevant to the fact that he admitted he approached the con government for a job. Then there is the fact that the Libs are up 8 points. Wait, you forgot in your ranting….your kids are going to be the boss of my kids someday…..that one was a humdinger and about as relevant as the other stuff you are spouting on here today.
            The emails exist and the Liberals gave them to the newspaper so obviously the retired general gave the emails to the papers. Now the Cons are saying that the retired general approached them about running in one of their ridings for their party. This is the issue that is under contention now. None of us, including you has intimate knowledge of what occurred so perhaps it would best to stop acting like you do and wait for it to play out.

          • The first thing I said was that generals don’t need to look for work…..job offers come in to them. And the second thing I said was a quote from him…..it was over 2 years and back and forth.

            Not having understood any of that you talk about my kids [???] and admit you haven’t seen the polls.

            ‘Confusion’ is your middle name. Always has been.

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          • Jan can explain what you said to me??

            And honey my ego has never been involved here….it’s an amusement for me. Cheesus….take a Valium

          • LOL yes, even my grandkids can use tech….and yes, your grandkids will call them ‘boss’

            That’s not ego hon, that’s fact.

            The topic here btw is General Leslie

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          • I think you’ve jumped the shark this time. LOL

            Wowie…and only 8 points creates this much foaming!

          • Ah, so the “registered guest” is HI. I knew that scolding felt familiar. Nurse-scold has a very distinctive flavour, doesn’t it, Em?

          • Yeah for some reason she’s posting as a guest now instead of under her HI name….but the style remains the same. LOL

          • The persistence, the confusion, the scolding, the usage of first names to be more familiar, the always being just slightly off-topic. Yep, good call.

          • Isn’t how the Cons can find emails when they want to. But the question is, did Leslie approach the Cons to run for elected office? That is what we’re talking about. It’s his political loyalty that is what at issue here. I’m sure you know that.

          • Jan, you need to read the papers because the Liberals and Leslie provided the emails to show Leslie’s relationship with the Cons. You are arguing here about something that he disclosed earlier. That he had asked for a job (at a museum). It wasn’t part of his speech at the convention.

          • The question is whether or not he approached the Cons to run as an MP? That’s what it’s always been. Or are you suggesting that a museum job is a political appointment – surely not?

          • ARG!!!! You can thank your friend Emily for the confusion. She denied that Leslie EVER contacted the cons for any job despite all of the reports and the emails and his own admitting that he did. I told her that the issue under contention is not about him asking for a job (at a museum or with the military) which he admitted that he did but whether he approached the cons to run as a con in a riding or whether they approached him to run in a riding. It is a he said; he said right now. I suggested we wait until it plays out. She denied anything I said could be correct, even though Leslie provided the emails to prove that he did contact the cons and their attitude toward him was over being rebuffed by him. Then you came on, suggesting I lied about the issue because he didn’t mention in his speech when in fact a press release was done and the emails were released by the Liberal Party prior to the speech. Yikes!

          • And after all this you’re STILL confused…..jeezuz

          • I am completely clear that I am done this exchange with you.

          • You were done before you started.

          • He did not approach the conservative party for a job. He approached the government of Canada.

            They are actually two different things.

          • I saw it live – as did many others – and he didn’t say it.

          • Thank you.

            PS Nice shot the other day about a Dick btw

          • Bull shit. He admitted nothing. The whole press conferance was about reporters trying to nail him down on this – he didn’t give them what he wanted. The lying isn’t working guys, especially when we all saw the same thing on national television.

          • Sorry you find it offensive. It came right out of the newspaper.

          • The Liberals gave the press the emails. The first email was send by Leslie about a museum job. In what way is it bs that he contacted them for a job?

    • And you and your Con cohorts have been thoroughly pwned by the general.

      Take it like a man.

      • They can’t because they’re not men(or women) they’re simply wimpy asses. So lying, whining – the usual passive-aggressive stuff.

        • If I had Emily as my chief cheer leader, I wouldn’t be so quick to be pointing fingers and calling other people names, especially passive-aggressive.

          • LOL I’ll bet you were fun in school,,,,hall monitor, teacher’s pet, Miss Tattletale….how many others?

          • Voted most likely to be a nurse.

    • do you realize how unbalanced you look when you treat your fanicful impressions of what people would have said/done, if only they’d conformed to your insane worldview?

    • How close is “this close”?

      I see a lot of emails that demonstrate Leslie approached the Government of Canada for a job.

      If the Conservative Party of Canada are equating themselves with the Government of Canada, they better reconsider that…

      As for the rest, typical John whining and whining.

      When are you going to answer the question about why, if the media are so gosh darned biased for the liberals, did this story come out in the first place?

      (You won’t, because to do so would force you to acknowledge the truth – that these expenses were not news until a retired general who joined the liberals incurred them).

    • “Leslie was this close to being a Conservative, and you could have instead been the one telling us for days on end how outrageous the $72K expense was instead of being in the position you are now of being forced to defend it and tell us all how “unfair” it was to even question it.”

      … and the Tories would have been in the position of defending the expense. And that’s the kicker – I find it all to easy to imagine that if Leslie became a Tory, they would be defending this expense.

      And with that, you need to take some perspective here john g – we have two people you might find to be hypocritical. One RUNS the country. The other just writes about it.

  3. Just caught some commentary on CPAC from a well known journalist – apparently if you`re not a `slick“ politician, despite the fact that you may have something useful to contribute, you should never think of entering politics. I guess we`re stuck with the Poilievres and the Tony Clements. The secret apparently is knowing how to run a tightly controlled press conference.

  4. Reporters that were yelling questions at Leslie stand there mutely in front of Harper.
    Leslie isn’t the one with the problem.

    • In fairness to the reporters, if they yell a question at Harper they risk losing their ability to be present when he does deign to speak to the lowly masses. That’d hurt their audience numbers and so cost them money.

  5. Isn’t it a little unsavory for a person to shop around for a political party to run for? Does Andrew Leslie have any principles or is he just looking for the easiest way to win a seat?

    • I looked it up on Lonely Planet , Ottawa is the place to shop for unsavory principles . Follow the money ?

    • No, he doesn’t have any principles. That’s why he joined the Liberals. The Liberals have never had any principles and in fact dislike anybody who does have principles.

      Just look at Trudeau: he voted for mandatory minimums for marijuana growers, and now he’s supporting legalizing it. He criticizes Harper for being closed, then himself refuses to speak to the media after the convention. He claims that Harper disrespects Parliament, but Trudeau rarely bothers to show up in QP, preferring instead to go on fundraising trips around the country.

      Like I said, Liberal “principles”.

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