Why Jim Flaherty’s loss for words was important

The finance minister on his friend, Rob Ford


Nathan Denette/CP

“At the end of the day, he has to make his own decision about what he ought to do.” — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s future

Jim Flaherty is rarely overcome with emotion. He may get snippy, or even curmudgeonly, when challenged by the opposition in the House of Commons. For years, he responded to furious indignation from the other side with remarkable poise. Flaherty’s looking less steady of late, as he fights off nagging health issues. But throughout, he’s rarely lost his cool.

Then, all of a sudden, at a press conference in Toronto, the finance minister was at a loss for words. Yesterday, Flaherty was speaking before a pre-budget consultation when a reporter asked him about the plight of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Flaherty is a family friend to the Fords, and was close with the mayor’s father. The question hit close to home. “Do you think it’s time for Mayor Rob Ford to take some time away from his duties at city hall to get well, and deal with some of his addiction problems?”

Flaherty had stepped away from the podium to better hear the question. He ambled back, eyes down. “I am close with the family,” he said, voice wavering. “I am…” and then came a silence. Flaherty fidgeted, eyes still down, unable to speak. “He’ll have to, uh… the mayor will have… at the end of the day, he has to make his own decision about what he ought to do.” Big breath. “Certainly, his family is helping him and wishing him well. That’s all I can say,” he finished. Flaherty was close to tears.

Forget politics, just for a second. Ford’s spectacle has a lot of people talking about politicians as human beings. The mayor deserves not just help, but our sympathy, some say. There’s no place for ridicule that might reinforce the stigma attached to addiction. Ford’s stubborn determination to hold on renders that conversation moot, but at least it reminds everyone that he’s a human being.

Flaherty, standing alone at that podium, gave voice to that humanity. He must have known the question would come. He must have had an answer at the ready. His friendship with the Fords is no secret. Still, he could barely find the words. We expect stoicism from people in power, not tears and tied tongues. Flaherty’s supposed to be able to answer any question. He’s supposed to be measured, or angered, or dismissive, as required. But his friend is going through something no one knows how to handle, and it was all he could do to struggle through a sentence or two.

When politicians show emotion, they’re often subject to ridicule. Yesterday, to the internet’s credit, there was none of that. There was just a man who cares for his friend and wishes him well, otherwise helpless—and dealing with it in public, on the job. Ford and his family are hanging on with everything they’ve got, but Rob must have seen his friend Jim struggle in the spotlight. For all his refusals to step down or seek help, the mayor must have paused—even for a moment—to consider his alternatives. Or so you’d hope.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appears agitated and incensed in a new video.
National Post Ford’s latest video marks a media race to the bottom.
Toronto Star Lawyers are pushing for the release of the infamous “crack tape.”
Ottawa Citizen Ontario opposes the federal government’s Canada Job Grant.
CBC News Submissions will be made today to push for the crack tape’s release.
CTV News Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest of the year, hit the Philippines.
National Newswatch Parliamentarians’ new expense disclosure hides a lot of details.

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THE GLOBAL Iraq. Thirty people were killed in several attacks across Iraq yesterday, including 19 in a single incident that saw two suicide bombers drive cars into a military base in Tarmiyah. The spate of attacks struck a market in Mosul, an army post in Ana, and a tent serving food to pilgrims. Sixty-one people were injured, including 41 at the Tarmiyah base.
THE QUIRKY Belgium. Albert II, the former Belgian king who stepped down last summer, says his $1.3 million annual allowance is not enough—and he’d like the navy to maintain his yacht, too. Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo says no changes to Albert’s remuneration were forthcoming, even though the ex-king had taken his complaints directly to the government.


Why Jim Flaherty’s loss for words was important

  1. The mayor deserves the same sympathy we ought to be giving to all addicts. Addiction is a disease – one that is hard to treat, and for many people that treatment is inaccessible. Not for Ford though, since he has the financial means to access any treatment option, once he comes to terms with the fact he is an addict. Of course, so long as his family, and many of his supporters, continue to enable him he will not have to confront his addiction. Hopefully that changes before it is too late.

    In any event, while I do not rejoice in seeing anyone in the throes of addiction, I do wonder whether Flaherty would have the same sympathy or concern if the addict was in court facing criminal charges incurred as a result of trying to feed that addiction. Ford has the good fortune to be able to afford his drug of choice – most addicts do not share that good fortune. And yet, at the end of the day, they are all the same. The difference to Flaherty, and Ford, is that they think the way to treat poor addicts is to send them to jail as long as possible.

    • Given that his response to homelessness was “jail them” my guess is no.

    • Yes, the law and order government is rather hard on addicts, seeing addiction as a justice issue instead of a health one. I am sure Flaherty’s reaction was genuine, and also think the question and his response hit home personally too — thinking about when he will decide to throw in the towel due to his own health problems.

      • Flaherty’s own emotional state is what caused that reaction. The medication he is on, causes emotional roller coaster like symptoms. I don’t believe he is that close to the boys because neither of them are any where near the politician there father was …and he wasn’t all that exciting.

        • I can believe that; he does not look well and I have assumed it’s the meds he’s on.

        • Yep. Prednisone will do that. Found myself bawling in the middle of the Walmart parking lot over a cat that had died the month before.

    • Ok, first off, let’s address the term “DISEASE”, in this context (as a noun).

      A “DISEASE” is defined as: “disease – an impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning” – in essence, a medical condition.

      “ADDICTION”, in this context, is a state of being (not a noun), and is defined as: “being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)” – in essence, a behaviour.

      Addiction is a choice, regardless of what drove a person to make that choice- at the end of the day, it is a CHOICE. I have no sympathy for any person who makes the choice to indulge in addictive behaviours, whether it be drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or gambling, to name a few. And by defining these behaviours as diseases, you open the door for all of us to foot the bill when you make a behaviour a medical condition. And with all that we have to pay for, I refuse to pay for an addict to get “clean”….that is THEIR responsibility, not mine.

      • They chose to take the drugs, yes. I doubt very much if any of them actually set out to become addicts. Many people think they aretoo strong to become addicted; they can handle it. Most of them turn out to be wrong.
        Ending an addiction is not an easy thing. Punishing them rather than helping them virtually ensures the addiction continues… often at a greater cost to society than treatment. But I guess the higher rate of criminality as they break the law to find the funds to feed the addiction – and the higher cost of law enforcement, the criminal courts, and incarceration versus the cost of treatment – is all good as long as they aren’t getting YOUR money to help them with THEIR problem.
        (BTW – why should MY money go to provide YOU with health care next time you are sick? Then again, I probably shouldn’t make that point, even sarcatically – you’re probably one of those pseudo Americans who actually thinks that way.)

        • Actually, just so you and I are clear, Keith: I was born and raised in Vancouver- have worked all over the world with both the DND and civilian NGO’s- and I now reside in Alberta. I am absolutely OFFENDED that you would even consider calling me an American.

          And another point, just so you and I are PERFECTLY clear: Your money doesn’t pay for MY healthcare, sweetie…

          Mine does.

          I pay for my legal fees, I pay for my healthcare and I conduct myself in a manner that does not put me in a position where I would need either service.

          I am not advocating punishing the addict- rather, take it out on the bast*** pusher/dealer/supplier putting the drugs on the streets where they are easy to obtain. And I don’t think you’d disagree with me on that. What I AM advocating is to stop molly-coddling the addict, and have them face the reality that they have done this to themselves- and need to deal with it themselves. Some need help getting there, that’s for sure- you’ll find no argument from me in that respect, but for the most part, they need to take responsibility for their actions, and their sobriety. Period.

          • I called you a “pseudo American” – a wannabe. And you don’t use your provincial health care? You pay your doctor for each visit, and for any hospital care? Think I’d need to see the receipts before I believe that.

            And no, while the initial drug use was a choice, the addiction isn’t. And if they are seeking help, that IS taking responsibility. It’s the ones who don’t seek help who aren’t taking responsibility.

          • Your “assumption” that I am probably some sort of “pseudo-American”, or “wannabe” is offensive. I served this country with distinction for nearly two decades, and you sit there an call me…ME…a “pseudo-American”- a wannabe…really?

            Insofar as my healthcare plans, no, I don’t use provincial health care. I pay for a health plan through my insurance agency- as do my associates. I have never had the unfortunate need to use my health plan (knock on wood), but if I do- I pay my insurance agency. And I don’t feel the need justify it to you or anyone else, for that matter- and I don’t feel that I need to show anyone any “receipts”- I don’t really care if you believe that or not.

            You said that the drug use is a choice, yet the addiction isn’t- I’ll have to agree with you there. But I think you would be less inclined to be soft on these “unfortunate souls” if it were your house (or your neighbour’s house) that was broken into and ransacked for items to sell in order to feed their addiction. And, god forbid, if anyone was in the house at the time and they got injured, or worse, during said criminal act, you would very quickly (I would think) change your mind. I have seen it time and time again.

            I said it before, and I shall repeat it- we nee to stop “molly-coddling” the addict. A harder stand on the abuse of drugs may or may not be the answer- but turning a blind eye to it, and allowing the courts to be soft on offenders (now, I’m referring to the dealer, not the addict, here) only compounds the problem- and I mean problem.

      • Actually, according to medical professionals, it is a disease and is listed as such in the DSM V.

        In any event, virtually all the addicts I’ve worked with used drugs and alcohol as a means to cope with larger issues – usually childhood abuse. I’m not saying that’s the case with every addict, but it is common.

        • Wrong, Gayle. Addiction is not a disease. It is a behaviour. Look it up.

          Next thing you’ll try and have me believe is that AA (although I admit it works for some- no question there) is a MEDICAL treatment. Really??

          Calling addiction a disease is nothing more than a reclassification of a human behaviour from behaviour to medical condition.

          Blaming the drug for the addiction is the same as blaming the spoon for one’s obesity (and before you start the hateful tirade, yes, I know there are bona fide reasons for some obese people out there- that is not in dispute, and I am NOT referring to them in this example. I’m not completely heartless).

          • And, Gayle, I did read the released DSM V…and it does NOT term “Addiction” as a disease ANYWHERE in its text- it is a mental disorder, according to the manual….

            I’d like to quote Wikipedia (yeah, not the best source, but this is a DIRECT QUOTE from a respected source):

            Doug Sellman at the National Addiction Center offers what he calls “The 10 most important things to know about addiction”.
            He offers the following points, before explaining them in more detail
            (although even his full paper does not presume to be able to discuss all
            the important facts about addiction). First, Sellman says that the most
            important thing to know about addiction may be that addiction is
            “fundamentally about compulsive behavior”.

            Notice, that in this quote from Doug Sellman, he says that the most important thing to know about addiction may be that addiction is FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOUR…..

            Odd, that a manual that I just became aware of would agree with what I, a nobody, and a representative from the National Addictions Centre, have been saying all along…

            Strange that…n’est pas?

      • That is what the medical profession believes as well. I treat addicts as people who have failed to follow directions and have a tendency to break the law to get what they think they need.

        • You have a lot of success with that approach?

    • Addiction aside and your call for sympathy, perhaps you’re forgetting the lies and the deceit that have been his hallmark since his early days as a Councilor. He ran on the “gravy train” platform and the gray train never really existed it was a political hoax. We just needed to get rid of a socialist Mayor. Now he has exaggerated his performance record and lied about all his flaws and mistakes and his crowd consists of illegal immigrants, drug dealers, extortionists and people charged with violent crimes. You are assuming that drugs and alcohol started all that but I firmly believe as a neighbour and someone who has been associated with the family from a distance that it is in fact the other way around. His bad behavior and poor choice of friends from high school on, led him to drugs and crime. If you want to give him a pass you are making a tragic mistake …for him. the city and your own reputation.

      • I am not sticking up for Rob Ford and his politics. My point was to point out his hypocrisy, and that of every person who still continues to support him.

        I sympathize with his addiction, but not his politics.

  2. I have to say, for the media and Canadians to take this emotional breakdown anything other than having to avoid a tough questions about Mr Revlons(Flaherty) buddy Rob Ford. This is the kind of stuff I find the media and Canadians taxpayers are gullible about. The only thing missing from the Flaherty press conference was the tears(keep it up jim, the tears will eventually come). I cant help but notice, a lot of cons are having emotional breakdowns these days(miss Remple, the ornament behind harper). its not hard to tell when the poll numbers are down.’ Break out the Kleenex Week ‘ for the cons.

    • I’m sorry, but I disagree on this one. I have no sympathy for the current federal government, and I am no fan of the national political media these days either, but on this one I think they are correct. What I and my wife saw looked, sounded, and felt real, unlike Rempel and her performance piece about how she felt so offended by Lib/Trudeau sexism in action (now THAT was a piece of emotional deception for political purposes if ever there was one), and the fact that an experienced politician like Flaherty who as the piece noted had to know he would be hit with this question at some point still in the moment clearly seized up like this speaks volumes for just how bad this matter is for those who know Ford the man behind Ford the politician. This is one of the few/only times in the history of the CPC government where I have believed any of the senior Ministers is reflecting there true feelings/thoughts on something (well aside from their own sense of self importance combined with their hatred of all things Lib that is).

      Does it let Ford and company off the hook for their political actions, of course not. It was though a IMHO a rare case of when we saw the humanity behind the mask of the poltiico, something I do not believe we see much in the information age, and worth acknowledging as such. One of the things I have always made sure to do is to not forget that my political opponents are still human beings (even when they take actions which some would say calls that humanity into question), which ironically enough is one of the greatest issues I have with the modern Conservative party, its leadership and far too many of its supporters because of their apparent inability to do so.

      I would also add this…that Flaherty did react this way despite everything said about is having to know it was coming shows just how much even those closest to Ford personally appear to have been kept in the dark as to just how bad his personal behaviour and clear issues with control (emotional, substance, across the board generally actually) had become. This will go down in my memory as about the only time I ever really believed what I heard from Minister Flaherty since he entered the federal stage (I’m not an Ontarioan so I really didn’t pay him much mind while he was still at the Provincial level), and it is a truly sad commentary about a Minister of seven years running now that this is the first time I truly found him believable, both as a politician and as a person.

      I will close by saying this as well, aside from this specific case I am in a more broad agreement with root canal regarding the way far too often media and Canadians fall for politicians supposedly showing there human side. Far too often I find it rings false, the fact that this time I found it didn’t and even felt strongly enough to leave this comment underscores just how atypical I find this to be more generally, and that it being so atypical made it important to me to state it. Our national political media has not been serving us well for well over a decade now, and I don’t yet see things improving in the slightest. While yes there may be all kinds of various extenuating circumstances for why it has become so substanceless, so vapid and shallow it does not change the reality that it is, and without better substance it does more to leave the average voter in a state of political ignorance in turn creating image based superficiality politics instead of what we used to practice in this nation, more substantive policy politics. Which given that democracy, especially representative democracy has as a core need the notion of the informed voter is a serious concern and problem. One doesn’t even have to go too far back for that, the Trudeau/Mulroney years were clearly still in that mode of politics, and until we the citizens of this nation start demanding this again it is only going to get worse and worse, and we ALL regardless of political beliefs lose in that scenario.


      • I have to agree with just about everything you say, but I still disagree with you about Flaherty and his crocodile tears. Mr Flaherty and the conservative government have done everything but cut the heads off a dozen or more(more like dozens) of harpers hired staff. I find when your down, these guys not only knee cap you, but they kick the guts out of you when you lie on the ground, and sometimes shuts off complete life support for some people. its a take no prisoners government. i don’t have pity for these guys(harper cons). their always demonizing and marginalizing, and it has to be made clear to what kind of mentality we are dealing with in this government. it also proves to me, that this government has no sympathy for the ill, unless its one of their own towing the party line.

        • and here is a final note. if you sleep with dogs, you may get fleas. Flaherty new who he was getting in bed with and to say different would only be a lie. these guys(harper and Flaherty)have been drinking from Rob Fords well for sometime now. how come the media hasn’t got an answer from either one(harper or Flaherty) about their relationship to rob ford ? because they don’t want to alienate the ford base. harper and his team should be taken to task about the disgrace that’s taken place in Nathan Phillips Square(rob ford).

  3. What happened to ‘law and order’?

    • Only poor people are subject to drug laws.

      • Apparently. Tough bunch until one of their own is involved.

  4. Lot’s of us have friends with addiction problems (mostly alcohol) who aren’t getting the same kind of sympathy from the likes of Flaherty, Harper etc. The finance minister isn’t holding back his tears for them. Rob Ford, whether or not he’s a crack addict, should leave office to deal with his issues. Conservatives are tough on crime until it`s one of their own. Total hypocrisy. Safe injection sites? Forget about it. Rehabilitation instead of incarceration? Forget about it. Makes me sick.

  5. We’ve seen in the last few days the craziness of the Ford family. Good friends of Flaherty you say, all of them? Interesting. If we was a good friend he would have dispelled the untruthful rumour or publicly pleaded with Ford to get help. let the record show that in the most human public moment we saw him carefully weigh the poliical consequences, then mumble some vague platitudes.

    Has Flaherty ever witnessed Rob Ford hit his wife? Does he have any knowledge of the subject? if so, why has he kept silent about the abuse?

    And “remarkable poise’? Geez.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • You do know that marijuana is essentially non-addcitive right? And that you are lying for fun?

        • If you believe that Justin smoked just that once, you’re very gullible. As an MP, his answer to the offer of drugs should have been, “Can’t do that now that I’m an MP.” Either he has no respect for his position as a lawmaker, no common sense, or smokes up regularly… or maybe all three. And now he’s also a liar.

          • No one – including Trudeau – has said that he has only smoked marijuana once.

            And I think that placing marijuana and crack cocaine in the same category is absurd.

            You may say… but smoking pot is illegal. Yes it is. But from the polls I have seen, most Canadians place smoking pot on par with speeding on the highway.

            How many politicians have smoked marijuana? Thousands. Literally thousands.

            How many politicians have smoked crack with gangsters… Er… only a couple to mind.

          • It’s all they’ve got to attack with.

          • Ha! You wish! The list of idiotic quotes from Trudeau is lengthy. He supported Quebec separation, if the country continues to vote Conservative. He said Albertans were unfit to govern the country. He’s said China’s dictatorship is the best form of government on the planet.

            All that, and that’s while his handlers have been trying to keep him hidden from the public. Imagine what a disaster he’ll be when he’s campaigning 18 hours a day under the spotlight of a federal campaign!

          • Rob and Justin were given the same treatment when they admitted to using – most of the public just laughed it off and weren’t concerned. Marijuana use by either is really a non-starter – except among those who are trying desperately to make JT the Rob Ford of federal politics (a pariah and laughing stock).

          • Trudeau makes himself a laughing stock every time he opens his mouth.

            As for Trudeau’s drug use, you’ll be surprised at what an issue it becomes when there’s a campaign going on. Someone who wants to PM really shouldn’t be getting high. Might lead him to say something stupid, like China’s dictatorship is the best form of government in the world.

          • JT spent a reasonable amount of time snowboarding at Whistler during his days out West. “nuff said.

      • I’m looking forward to Stephen Harper’s friends coming out with stories
        about how Harper has used more than just alcohol, and on more than
        just a “few” occasions. That’s the funny thing about addicts like Harper and Ford, they rarely tell the truth about their substance
        Seriously though, you’re catastrophically stupid.

        • At least I’m not as stupid as Justin Trudeau! Even I know that China’s a horrible human rights abusing dictatorship. Poor little trust fund Trudeau thinks they have the best form of government in the world!

          • Sorry NotRick, your castastrophic stupidity is without peer:

            “You know, there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China…”

            “But if I were to reach out and say which…which kind of administration I most admire, I think there’s something to be said right here in Canada for the way our territories are run.”

          • Okay, so his first instinct was China, then he realized how stupid that was, so he tried to re-answer. Whatever. You can defend the commie little twerp all you want, people aren’t so stupid as to not realize his instinct was to say that he admires Chinese dictatorships.

          • “then he realized how stupid that was, so he tried to re-answer.”

            Ahhh, I see – take the parts of what he said that you really want to believe, discard the parts that you really don’t want to believe, add the contents of your imagination and voila!

    • Who’s the “we” in that sentence?

      • Maybe the “we” in the sentence are the women on this site who would benefit from your enlightened view of why Trudeau feels that there must be an isolated event for them to discuss what their favourite virtue is, what issues are troubling them, do they have any heroes?
        Many of the women on this site need to pandered to by a lovely leader like Trudeau.

        Seriously, if you`re going to overlook idiotic events like this one by Justin, just overlook them. don`t try to defend your actions.

        • Giving women the chance to talk about women’s issues is idiotic?

          • Only if they feel they have to pay $250 to do the talking while in the presence of the dreamy Justin.
            The women I know are more than capable of talking about any issues including women issues, in any crowd, even non-dreamy ones.

          • But Rempel said in her interview that there ARE no women’s issues — that ALL issues are women’s issues.

          • Sure, that makes sense to me. Glad you agree.

          • You used the word dreamy ….are you a female with a issue or do you have a man crush we should hear about…or maybe we don’t want to know.

          • only to conservatives GFMD…

        • I feel so much safer knowing big strong men like you and john and the likes of Fake Omen are around to tell us wimminfolk how to feel and when we are being pandered to. A little old gal like me gets the vapours thinking about how I would understand what policy is without you to look out for me.

          And for the record: it was a silly invitation to a fun fundraiser — but when the organizer said it was by women, for women, why did you still need to come on and say it was sexist. And will you believe me when I tell you that I find it refreshing to see a leader willing to answer questions? Or am I just a silly chicky who wouldn’t know policy if it bit me on my derriere? And are you aware what the funds were raised for — for Liberal women candidates, that’s what.

      • Maclean’s politics crew in general, with the sole exception of Wells.

        I mean, it’s not like y’all aren’t aware of it. It’s not like you don’t think it’s an unbelievably stupid thing to say. And it’s not like you have a policy of not writing about stupid things that politicians say and do. *That’s why you’re here.*

        So why not put it here? Isn’t that your jobs?


      • The “Liberal Media Conspiracy”. Nobody told john g that the LMC is sooo 2005 (and was not true even then).

        • So you don’t think it’s news that Trudeau admires one of the worst human-rights abusing dictatorships on the planet? Does it not concern you as a Liberal, at all?

          It’s starting to become clear that Liberals really like dictatorships, as long as they’re the ones dictating. Trudeau’s father was the closest thing Canada’s ever had to a dictator, so I guess it sort of makes sense.

          • “Trudeau’s father was the closest thing Canada’s ever had to a dictator”

            And what are the objective facts and evidence based assessments for this assertion?

          • Trudeau was the only PM to ever declare martial law in Canada. You know, suspending all of our rights and freedoms…. kinda like a dictator.

            Or how about when being asked how far he’d go in suspending civil liberties, he replied “Just watch me”. That sounds a lot like a dictator to me.

          • Dictators, once they declare martial law, don’t willingly relinquish that power. Trudeau did. Not his most shining moment, but not truly a dictator either.

          • Erm . . .the War Measures Act was not imposition of martial law. All military were in a support role to the civil authorities. Its imposition was directly requested by Quebec’s premier and Montreal’s mayor.

            Anyways its a bit disingenuous for a conservative to be be critical of this, as the overwhelming majority of conservative supporters at the time tthought Trudeau did not go far enough.

          • With a dictator its full time with a leader saving lives its temporary. Its not complicated if you ignore your own bias. Like most people out here you could not explain the finite differences between left and right politics. I asked all of my reps at all three levels …the answers were , I will get back to you on that. Let me have one of my people call you and at the federal level the best one …I don’t understand the question.

            Yet you know the answer.

          • Price controls, NEP, War Measures Act, etc etc

          • About the War Measures Act see my comments above.

            The others you mention were voted upon by MP’s in the House of Commons, and those MP’s were duly elected, and that was even before robocalls came into existence.

            And by Etc. Etc. we are to assume there are examples too numerous to mention?

            You will have to do better, nothing you have mentioned is even remotely proof . . . .it is just a list of stuff you don’t like. No analysis, no facts. In school you would get an F for that.

            At least Rick Omen had an argument, though it was superficial and got a key fact incorrect.

          • Have you been paying attention to what Harper gets up to? I mean, if you want to call someone a dictator…

          • What has Harper done that’s even remotely dictatorial? Proroguing parliament? Like every Prime Minister before him has done?

            And it’s funny, because Trudeau Jr. is in the news today for vocally supporting China’s dictatorship just yesterday. He was commenting on how efficient their system is. Sounds a lot like his dad, who thought Communist Cuba was the greatest country on the planet.

            These two are sounding closer and closer every day, now that I think about it. Except Trudeau Sr was at least an intellectual, whereas Junior sounds like a burned out trust fund baby more and more.

          • Well, he likes to have his henchmen do the dirty work, then hang them out to dry when they get caught (the ones he doesn’t reward with Senate appointments for breaking the law for him). He interferes in the politics of the Senate, having his puppets hold a kangaroo court to evict others without due process. He lumps all his legislative changes into omnibus bills and limits debate, so no one gets to discuss individual changes on their merit. He leads the least transparent government in history, and muzzles government workers (or fires them if they won’t be muzzled).
            I could go on, but everyone (other than you) will have already gotten my point by now.
            BTW – re JT’s comment: Not the wisest. I think he was trying to mock Harper as a would-be dictator, if you look at the full text, but he bombed at it.

          • Please. The Senate vote was a free vote, with some CPC Senator’s voting against kicking the bums out. It was Trudeau who told his Liberal senator’s not to show up and vote, because he apparently has some problem with banning senator’s who defraud taxpayers. If you’re suggesting omnibus bills are anti-democratic, I’ll just assume you’ve never seen a real dictatorship in action. Hint: they don’t introduce omnibus bills.

            I know it’s fashionable in certain uninformed segments of Canada to call Harper a dictator, but have you ever thought to consider how that comes off to people who’ve survived and fled actual dictatorships? It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Harper just signed a business deal with China….are you happy with their Human Rights situation?

    • Thanks for pointing that one out. That is some truly amazing stuff there.

      1) The administration he most admires is a total dictatorship that systematically abuses human rights.

      2) The Canadian administration he most admires is the territories, because they don’t have political parties…. coming FROM THE LEADER OF A POLITICAL PARTY. Why doesn’t he just come out and say that he’s the proud leader of an organization that he feels harms the country?

      This guy isn’t just “fluff” as many have been saying, he’s downright stupid. Like, dangerously stupid.

      • What is dangerously stupid is people whom twist things others have said to make it say what they want it to say. Come on, even the Sun gave the full context of what Trudeau said.
        He admires the Territories because they govern by consensus…seems you missed some of the tongue in cheek about China and Harper’s envy.

        • Some? Every bit of it went right over ol’ Ricky’s head.

          • That’s because Rick’s head is always at the level of Harper’s behind.

    • Oh no! Macleans is not reporting on a different news organization’s complete distortion of an answer Justin Trudeau gave.

      FYI this is all I have to say on the subject. I shan’t be feeding the trolls.

      • What exactly did they distort? They published his full remarks and the full question. Trudeau thinks Communist China has a better system of government than Canada. He said it, and he said he liked it because they don’t have to deal with all this messy democracy stuff.

        • “You know, there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest…we need to start investing in solar.’ I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted that I find quite interesting.” [Emphasis added.]

          Looks to me that he was trying some off-the-cuff mockery of Harper’s approach to governing as a prelude t his own embracing of the territories’ way of doing things. Yes, I know he sucked at it, but there’s a difference between a joke falling flat and actually saying he wants to turn Canada into a dictatorship.

          • So using your logic. Trudeau says he admires China because Harper can only dream about having the flexibility of a dictatorship and he would like Harper to do everything he wanted.

            Or he was just joking, yeah, let`s go with that. CBC will back us up.

          • So you’re saying that at an event which people paid $250 to attend, which was billed as an opportunity “to (really) get to know” Justin Trudeau, he responded to the only serious question with an “off-the-cuff mockery of” the Prime Minister?

            Please. It’s quite obvious that he realized what he was saying was bordering on criminal stupidity. So instead of backtracking and letting it be seen just how vapid and empty he really is, he tried to spin it into a joke, and then attempt to discredit the only news organization that bothered to cover the event.

            So either he’s nuclear grade stupid, or he doesn’t have even the slightest amount of respect for Liberal voters because he can’t be bothered to answer one single substantive question at a $250 fundraiser.

            I know you’d vote for Trudeau even if he were caught on camera eating live babies, but blowing this issue of isn’t going to work with swing voters. And telling Canadians they’re too stupid to understand a terrible joke about a murderous dictatorship probably won’t help either.

        • In fact, that is not what he said.
          He admired the agility that a dictatorship allows to deal with urgent needs. He acknowledged that our current prime minister would prefer to have that kind of autonomy. He also said that he prefers our rights and freedoms.
          JT fumbled this dialog pretty badly, but it’s asinine to claim he really likes Chinese communism overall better than Canadian democracy.

          • Please. He was asked which his favorite administration in the world is, and he replied with China, because of their “basic dictatorship”. He only managed to say that he likes our rights and freedoms 12 hours later, on Twitter, after people were already pointing out how insane his comments were.

            You can go ahead and try to re-contextualize his comments, but the question/answer is available on video for all to see. And it’s quite clear that he was talking up a Chinese dictatorship.

          • “You know, there’s a level of of admiration I actually have for China…”

            “But if I were to reach out and say which…which kind of administration I most admire, I think there’s something to be said right here in Canada for the way our territories are run.”

            Please NotRick, get help for your reading. The world will start making a lot more sense when you do.

          • Yes, he realized how stupid his original answer was, so he attempted to change his answer… and still looked stupid in the process making bizarre claims about how the territories governments work. I mean, can you be Prime Minister of Canada and not know how the territories govern themselves? Cripes!

          • “…his original answer was…”

            Uh, it’s all part of his original answer, stupie.

          • *sigh* No, he attempted to answer the question twice. His first response was he liked China best. Then he tried to double back and claim that he liked the territories best. Are you that thick that you can’t see he was trying to go for a re-do mid-sentence?

          • Except for the inconvenient fact that he didn’t say that at all, he said had “a level of admiration” and saved “most admired” for the Territories. Oh darn. Well thank goodness you have your imagination to take care of that.
            But don’t you think that if what Trudeau said is really so awful, you shouldn’t have to lie about it?

    • I recommend we name the feature “Whaaaaaaaaa-t john g wishes you were paying attention to”

  6. What is Flaherty hiding? Why such a weird response? Perhaps he sees Harper’s law and order government going out the window and all this is too much for him.

    • Wow, what a stupid comment. Why do you think Flaherty is “hiding” anything? What was “weird” about hish response? Normal people get emotional when their friends have health issues, you know.

    • Maybe he was just high on something.

  7. I am off and on when it comes to Flaherty – the mortgage rules and the credit card laws were great; other policies, less so.
    But seeing this really humanized him for me. No political front, just 100% honesty.

    • Pretty sure you’re getting played by a guy who wouldn’t step either way for his “good friend”.

      • Do you really believe in your heart that everybody who isn’t a full on dictator-loving communist is pure evil? Seriously. Your comments don’t even make any sense anymore, they’re just pure hatred. You must really have a tough time waking up in the morning.

        • Ah… the irony-impared provide SUCH unintentional humour…

      • That’s what I hate about politics; the feeling that everyone is lying, or at least the public’s belief that politician are never honest on anything.

        I don’t know what his motives are, but I hope they’re genuine?

        • GFMD’s sophisticated thought process:
          1. Jim Flaherty is a Conservative.
          2. All Conservatives are Evil.
          3. Ergo, you can only have bad things to say about Jim Flaherty, no matter what the facts, and no matter what the context is.

          • You’re one to talk seeing as conservatives support crack heads and criminals so long as they’re conservative crack heads and criminals.

  8. It was a rare and human moment and it was touching. NTL, the entire family needs treatment and if only Rob goes to get it he should really drag his sister along. A Twofer.

  9. He may as well have stood there and said “I know and like the guy and i feel bad for him, but damned if I’m going to let it touch MY career. That guy’s toxic.”

    • Please, share with us what YOU would have said in Flaherty’s shoes. I’m guessing it would have been something like “Die conservative scum”! Am I wrong?

      • To give you more attention than he deserves, I will assume he knows teh family well and knows the truth of what is going on. if he is a full-blown addict no longer in control of his actions, i would have said that and said “I publicly urge him to seek help as soon as possible, and those near him to pressure him to do the same instead of continuing the enabling silence from many of my peers.”

        if he’s not an addict I would have said “he likes to get drunk a lot leave him alone”. i don’t know how a CPC guy would talk about crack use without sounding like a hypocrite or saying Rob Ford should be in jail, so you have me there.

        I like to think I would not burst into tears mumble some crap to distance myself then run away. This guy has to manage a G8 economy, for chrissakes. Imagine if he starts bawling every time unemployment dips or we go intod ebt because of reckless tax cuts.

        • That is such a lame post. Fact is, you hate all conservatives, and it doesn’t matter what they do or say, you’ll spin it negatively.

          • The fact is this. Rob Ford has a Alcohol & Addiction problem to other substances. He needs serious help with those and his weight problems. Otherwise I am almost certain that we are going to be reading one day of his tragic unfortunate demise.

            Look no matter how anyone feels about the man he needs help to straighten out his life. That should be the job of his loved ones and close friends. Denying that he has any problems is really sad to see and read.

          • Exactly; as John Stewart said (& I’m paraphrasing here), he’s more fun to satirize than eulogize. And if he doesn’t get his act together soon, it will probably be the latter we’ll be reading / hearing from public figures and journalists.
            I’m far from being a Ford fan and don’t think he should be mayor for a whole host of reasons. But I do genuinely want to see him get help, for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics.

          • I don’t think Flaherty denied that Ford had problems, did he?

          • No but my quote above was of him saying that his family is helping him. How are they helping him by being in denial of their brother/sons addiction problems.

            Flaherty isn’t helping by not saying what he really wants to say but won’t because of his close friendship with the Fords. I am sure Flaherity would prefer to have said that I think Rob Ford should , for his own health and well being, seek help.

  10. watching flaherty in QP, i have to wonder if he mentally knows where he is most times. It appears to me that his illness has depleted his mental capacity …..

  11. How ironic that previous Ford and other Conservative statements re tough on crime seems to have disappeared when applied to themselves.
    When is Harper and Flaherty going to get tough on Tory crime?

  12. Quote from above : . “Certainly, his family is helping him and wishing him well. That’s all I can say,”

    Really!His family is helping him! In what way are they helping? By denying that the man has an obvious Alcohol problem Binge drinking is a definite sign of Alcoholism. That the mayor has other addiction problems? His sister of all people should not be in denial of that herself. My God , what is wrong with that family?

  13. Flaherty can slash millions of dollars from women’s and children’s programs without batting an eyelash, and here he is tearing up over some drunken “friend”.

    • Yes, if a finance minister makes decisions that you don’t like, then he is 100% evil and doesn’t even rank as a human being, really. I suppose the same went for Paul Martin, right? He slashed many many millions of dollars from such programs too. I guess he’s not human either. I think Jack Layton even called him a murderer or something like that.

      • Of course, that is not what she said, but then why let that get in your way? It never has before.

  14. He’s probably upset because he lost his crack hookup as well.

  15. I don’t want a doctor or lawyer who’s a drunk or a drug user and I don’t want a mayor who admits he is both. He can be human but on his own personal time not Toronto’s time when he has the responsibility of being Mayor of the 4th largest city in North America. He will get my sympathy when he relinquishes his duties as a public servant and Mayor of Toronto. Until then he is not sympathetic, he’s a petty despot clinging to power

    • So presumably you won’t be voting for Justin Trudeau then? I’d assume if being on drugs and being a Mayor is too much for you to stomach, it’d be even worse having a drug using Prime Minister.

      • We already have a drug usingPM.

        • *sigh* more lies. Keep them coming. Nobodies buying your crap.

          • Ah, it’s a fake photo, like the whole Rob Ford crack thing.
            Someone should tell the Winnipeg Free Press.

      • “..being on drugs and being a Mayor is too much for you to stomach..”

        that’s the stupidest whitewash of Ford’s hard drug use I’ve ever read

        • Okay, if you’re going to differentiate between “hard” drugs and “soft” drugs, can you provide a list of drugs you find acceptable for politicians to be using? Is snorting cocaine acceptable, while smoking it is not? How about ecstasy use?

          • What a stupid question. I can’t provide advice on that topic I suggest you check with the local police or RCMP.

  16. Yet where is this sympathy for addicts when they try to shutdown safe injection sites which save people’s lives? Hypocrites.

  17. Big deal. Crocodile tears from a true conservative—i.e., hypocritical pig.