Dissecting Justin Trudeau's apology - Macleans.ca

Dissecting Justin Trudeau’s apology

Politics on TV: Talking with premiers Dexter, Clark and Wall, and talking all about Trudeau’s apology

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Justin Trudeau apologizes, November 23, 2012. (Richard Lam/The Canadian Press)

Message of the day

“It’s always better to have the Prime Minister at the table.”

Hot Topics

  1. The First Minister’s meeting in Halifax
  2. Justin Trudeau’s apology
  3. The gender bias problems of the RCMP

Questions not answered

  • Will Trudeau and McGuinty’s comments really influence the Calgary Centre by-election?

First Ministers’ Meeting:

Power & Politics spoke with Nova Scotia Premier Darrel Dexter, who said that the premiers agreed to a framework for collaborating between provinces and the federal government, particularly around skills training and workforce development. Dexter said that it would have been different if they could have dealt with issues like skills development with federal government if they had attended. Dexter said that while he always appreciates the time individual premiers get to meet with the prime minister, it’s always better if he has an opportunity to meet with all of them.

On Power Play, Dexter added that the agenda was set back in July, which allowed them to be focused during the meeting, and that premiers Redford and Marois put together a working group on the technical aspects of an energy deal going forward. Dexter added that Marois struck the right notes on her first time out as premier.

Hannah Thibedeau spoke with BC Premier Christy Clark, who said that Mark Carney told the premiers that the best thing they can do to attract investment is to have fiscal discipline, and to that end, she will be tabling a tough but balanced budget for BC in the spring. Clark said that the premiers have agreed to fight for more control over immigration, because it’s a shared jurisdiction, and that the federal government currently has a special deal with Quebec, which other provinces would also like to have. She added that she has not yet had another conversation with premier Redford about the Northern Gateway, but her position hasn’t changed.

Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall was on Power Play, where he said that the bi-lateral relationship with Harper works, and that he is actively engaging Harper on the immigration file. In particular, there was a refugee in Saskatchewan in need of chemotherapy who was turned down by doctors because of his status, which the province will be covering instead. Wall said that while government has made good moves on immigration, the decision around refugee healthcare is one they don’t agree with.

Trudeau’s apology:

Power & Politics had an MP panel of Michelle Rempel, Linda Duncan and John McCallum to discuss Justin Trudeau’s apology about his comments about Alberta. Rempel said that the apology amounted to “oops, I got caught,” that he needs to resign his critic portfolio, and that it is indicative of comments about Alberta from the Liberals that go back to the NEP. McCallum reiterated that Trudeau apologised for the shorthand of referring to Harper’s Conservatives as Albertans writ-large, and that he has shown by his actions of reaching out and denouncing his father’s NEP that he doesn’t hate Alberta. Duncan suggested that Trudeau was an “amateur” politician instead of critic for amateur sport, but didn’t call for his resignation.

On Power Play, pollster Bruce Cameron of Return on Insight said that the comments have the possibility of giving Joan Crockatt a way of getting her voters out by appealing to divisive politics, or to rally some of the Conservative troops in the last 72 hours.

Power Play’s strategists panel of Tim Murphy, Anne McGrath, and Gerry Nicholls weighed in, where Murphy said that Trudeau generates attention, enthusiasm and money for the party, and if he’s being attacked then he must be doing something right. Nicholls said that Trudeau’s weakness is a lack of political savvy, while McGrath said it looked like he waited to gauge reaction before apologizing.

On P&P’s Power Panel, Kelly Cryderman said that Trudeau’s comments felt personal because they were directed to Alberta as a whole and that may stick, but there is also a lack of surprise from Albertans. Marie Vastel noted that Conservatives and the Reform Party made similar attacks about Quebec, so it was hypocritical for them to make a fuss out of it when they refused to address their former comments. Rob Russo said that these types of incidents may suppress the Liberal vote in the by-election, or bring out Conservative voters who were planning on staying home.

Gender bias in the RCMP:

Power & Politics spoke with Candace Bergen and Randall Garrison about the strongly worded letter that Vic Toews sent to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson in the wake of the gender-based analysis of the Force. Bergen said that the time for study is over and that it’s time for an action plan with benchmarks, and added that Bill C-42 provides the foundation to move forward. Garrison wondered why it took a year for Toews to ask for a plan, and he questioned Toews’ depth of commitment as the word “harassment” doesn’t appear in the letter or in C-42, and their attempts to add it in amendments were voted down.

On Power Play’s journalists panel with Bill Curry and Laura Stone, Stone said that it’s possible that Vic Toews didn’t appreciate Paulson expressing frustration publicly in the past couple of weeks, but perhaps he really does want action taken on this issue. Curry noted a similar strategy with cyber-security several weeks ago where Toews demanded action in advance of an AG report, just as he did here with the gender-based analysis.

Worth Noting:

  • CBC’s Alison Dempster said that the Calgary Centre by-election still has the Liberals polling close to the Conservatives, but the consensus is that it is still Joan Crockatt’s to lose.
  • Immigration lawyer Chantal Desloges described an immigration case where the court has ordered the IRB to re-examine the case of a Libyan family that was deported after the court found actual bias from the visa officer, that he based the decision on an erroneous set of facts, and that the court ordered costs against the government because the family never had a chance.
  • Canadian Press bureau chief Rob Russo said that people are expecting holds in the Victoria and Durham by-elections.
  • Former UN ambassador Paul Heinbecker said that the language in the Isreal-Hamas ceasefire is very unclear, and despite one incident, the fact that it’s otherwise holding is a testament to the commitment on both parties to see it hold.
  • Senator Larry Smith, four-time Grey Cup winner and former CFL commissioner, spoke about the 100th Anniversary of the Grey Cup.
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