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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

It seems Justin Trudeau staggered over a very low bar by appointing an election-meddling rapporteur who is not an overt Liberal partisan. But at the risk of seeming persnickety, David Johnson does still have to figure out whether the Chinese Communists made a determined effort to subvert our democracy and, if so, whether senior members of the Executive Branch including the Prime Minister knew about it.

Not choosing a minion to do an obvious whitewash does not rise to the level of statesmanship. It barely qualifies as competent PR. But Trudeau chose a former senior aide to a Liberal PM, John Turner, to inquire into the invocation of the Emergency Act, and got back a report that essentially said people experience situations differently and the Prime Minister can do what he likes. And Trudeau got away with it so he was probably tempted.

As for David Johnson, there are reasons to approve of his appointment including a long and distinguished career in the Canadian public sector. But there are also reasons to worry, including that he’s an old family friend of… the Trudeaus. And a booster of the now-infamous WE charity that was very chummy with… the Trudeaus. And Commissioner of the Federal Leaders’ Debates Commission, which lost two lawsuits over excluding journalists from right-wing outlets, and to whose advisory board Johnson appointed… Craig Kielburger. Oh, and Johnson is a “member” of… the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation who helps choose its board of directors.

As the last in particular illustrates, a long distinguished career in the Canadian public sector is potentially a very worrying quality here given how permeated the Canadian Establishment is with ideological and even venal sympathy for the CCP, as Terry Glavin in particular has tirelessly exposed. Plus, the National Post’s Chris Selley rightly warned, “What Johnston is best at is not rocking boats.” Which is a great way to have a long and distinguished career in the Canadian public sector but a terrible way to get to the bottom of, say, a huge scandal in the Canadian public sector.

It’s also a potential issue that Johnson’s about to turn 82 and may not have the requisite stamina for what, we are meant to believe, will be a rigorous and wide-ranging look at the health of our electoral system. Which brings me to a much bigger worry, about the mandate not the man.

I’m all for a vigorous old age and a vigorous inquiry. But we need focus here. Which seems to be exactly what Trudeau is determined to avoid, blathering that “Mr. Johnston will have a wide mandate to look into foreign interference in the last two general elections and make expert recommendations on how to further protect our democracy”.

Never mind the “further protect,” the PM’s usual slippery use of “continue” or some equivalent from the thesaurus of political obscurantism when discussing some obviously important duty he’s flippantly neglecting. It’s the “wide mandate” that deserves narrow scrutiny.

The issue here isn’t the overall integrity of our electoral system, important as it is. It’s the very specific allegation that one enemy regime has working to undermine it in very specific ways, that by now include naming names, that the PMO was informed of it and that they ignored the warning and lied about it. It’s that allegation Johnson needs to investigate. Or someone, because he’s not an investigator, he’s a rapporteur, a title the National Post’s “Posted” skewered by renamed themselves “reporteurs” and “editeurs”.

As a commentateur I need to stress that Trudeau obviously hopes to rag the puck so long that the clock expires. “We will ask the independent special rapporteur as one of the first tasks of their mandate to provide the government with a recommendation as to what the appropriate next steps should be, whether it be an inquiry, an investigation or a judicial review,” he said.

So it’s an inquiry into an inquiry about whether to hold an inquiry. As if it were not actually obvious that the appropriate next step is an “inquiry”, an “investigation” and a “judicial review”, whatever distinction Trudeau thinks exists between them or hopes will confuse us.

Even when the mandate is not deliberately obscure, such inquiries have a way of losing their way. Remember the hapless Starr investigation into Whitewater, at the end of which nobody knew what had happened or even what had been alleged even though he nailed Clinton for perjury. Can Johnson push onward through the fog and get to the heart of the matter? Namely were Trudeau or his close aides given credible evidence that the CCP, through the United Front Work Department or some other tentacle, meddled in the 2019, 2021 or both Canadian federal elections? And if so what did they do about it?

During the U.S. Senate hearings into Watergate, it was a Republican senator who, putting country ahead of party, asked the lethal question “What did the President know and when did he know it?” And here, all filibustering aside, it’s “what did the Prime Minister know” or, if his aides had a sinister policy of deliberately not telling him things to preserve “plausible deniability”, then “what did Katie Telford know” and “why are Trudeau’s lackeys so determined not to let anyone find out?”

If we find that our electoral system is riddled with vulnerabilities exploited by a wide range of bad actors for all sorts of motives, obviously we need a wide-ranging investigation of how the situation arose, why it wasn’t detected sooner, what misdeeds were carried out and how to fix it. And it’s unclear who could conduct such an investigation if all the people charged with preventing it were obviously unfit for purpose. But if it turns out they did notice, and warned the Prime Minister, the cabinet or the PMO, who in turn sat on the information out of incompetence, disloyalty or malevolent partisanship, we need to know about it, punish the guilty, then devise mechanisms to ensure that next time the warnings cannot be hidden from law enforcement, elected officials and of course citizens.

So here’s what Johnson should do, and can do, to dispel all doubts about his appointment. Instead of dragging and spreading it out, issue an immediate public statement reading, in full, “We need an investigation by a commission with full power to subpoena and indict into (i) whether the Chinese Communist Party tried to interfere in the last two federal elections, and if so (ii) how and with what success, and (iii) whether senior public servants or Executive Branch officials were informed of the attempt, and if they were, (iv) what they did with that information and why.”

There. Had I been chosen as “rapporteur” despite my lack of cozy Establishment ties, I’d already have done my job. If Johnson does not do so because of his, and instead languidly recommends an inquiry so broad it lets Trudeau off the hook before there even is one, shame on us if we let him. And on Parliament, which can cut through all the evasions even if Liberal MPs have sold their souls for a mess of partisanship, provided the NDP is not contemptuous of democracy and honour.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

You can’t be serious. I know, I know, people can believe all manner of strange stuff even after hearing my sensible opinion. But “you” in this case is Prime Minister Trudeau, and the thing he can’t be serious about is a suspiciously-timed report clearing him on Chinese election meddling written by… the guy who was head of the Trudeau Foundation when it got highly suspicious Chinese money. Does our PM really no longer permit anybody to enter his august presence who is not such an obsequious lackey that they could not warn him against such a frivolously insulting response?

It may, of course, all be perfectly innocent. The mysterious flood of money pouring from Beijing toward Justin Trudeau just as he became politically important could be sheer coincidence. Morris Rosenberg’s apparently conflict of interest may not have blinded his eyes or twisted his words. The Communist meddling might have been sufficiently inept as to be funny, or our democracy could be a sham not worth preserving. And the CBC might report the whole business po-faced despite its vast government grant not because of it. It still does not mean there is nothing to see here.

It does not because what there is to see here is flagrant contempt even for the appearance of propriety. It’s a finger in the eye from the Prime Minister to everyone who believes in integrity in public life. Deliberate, sharp and right at you. What are you going to do about it, he taunts us with that trademark smirk. Well? What are we?

I presume you know that Rosenberg was head of the Trudeau Foundation when it suddenly got a big chunk of a $1 million grant from a Chinese businessman named Zhang Bin, $200,000 with $750k going to the University of Montreal’s law faculty in honour of Pierre Trudeau and $50k to a statue of him on that campus (oddly there is apparently no statue but hey, they got the money so it’s OK, right?). And that Zhang was apparently recorded speaking to a Chinese diplomat who told him to make the grant and the Politburo would make it up to him.

I presume you also know that under Chinese law, all firms are obliged to cooperate with espionage efforts. And that under Chinese lack of law, you do what the Party says not what the legislation says or you vanish into their version of the Gulag. So the odds that Zhang’s sudden burst of generosity was private and spontaneous are impossibly long.

Moreover, as Brian Lilley wrote, the report Rosenberg delivered is as suspicious in its contents as in its timing. Including in saying there was interference but “not enough to have met the threshold of impacting electoral integrity”, and that the panel on whose behalf Rosenberg wrote it didn’t know where that threshold was. So if it was crossed, luckily nobody saw either the crossing or the thing it crossed. However it does seem that if it merely caused a few ridings to elect pro-Beijing candidates or dump anti-Communist ones, well, it’s fine. Especially if, you know, the losers were not Liberal and the winners were.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service begs to differ. But Trudeau’s buddies inside and outside the bureaucracy and the state media don’t care. What sort of banana (or bok choy) republic are we living in?

Well, we’re going to find out. And very possibly it will be bad news for Trudeau. The tenor of commentary at the moment is very pointed and his and his friends’ responses are looking feebly desperate. I know, I know, he’s ridden out scandals before, and the bar on his conduct is shockingly low, and if Clinton could survive his lies and misconduct (and Trump can remain popular with a vast chunk of the American electorate, I should add for balance), Trudeau might well get away with it. But I think not, and here’s why: This attempt to brush it aside is so contemptuously unconvincing.

If the Prime Minister had anything vaguely resembling self-awareness, or permitted people near him who could tell him when he was looking bad, he would never, ever have let this thing happen. Especially not after the initial attempts to smear those raising questions as MAGA bigots.

Calling Chinese Canadians racists for objecting to Communism is gutter politics of a distinctly non-sunny sort. But it’s not that the effort was surprising, or that it hadn’t worked before. It was that it was so tone-deaf here, so obviously cynical, formulaic and scornful.

Those politicians who ride out scandals are, for the most part, very in tune with public opinion or at least the sections of it that matter to them. Sometimes it’s incomprehensible to me, or to you, how it can be. It certainly was for me with Clinton. (And yes, Trump.) And politics has had its share of bafflingly “lovable” rogues from time immemorial, including ones like Edwin Edwards in Louisiana.

In case he is obscure to you, Edwards was a four-time state governor in the late 20th century who early in his career brushed aside acknowledged receipt of illegal campaign contributions with the immortal line “It was illegal for them to give, but not for me to receive.” But eventually, after several crashes and rebounds, he went to jail, I’m glad to say, and then lost an election.

What then of Trudeau? Has he not given us enough, from the Aga Khan to blackface and the Kokanee Grope, to conclude that he is a self-absorbed fake? And from budgets balancing themselves to SNC Lavalin Chinese election meddling to conclude that he is a menace to good government?

Evidently he doesn’t think so. He appointed a long-time Liberal activist to write a report clearing him of invoking the Emergencies Act frivolously in the wake of a string of government bungles at every level from the municipal to the PMO and apparently got away with it. The usual suspects gnashed their teeth but official Ottawa and enough of the public gave him a pass.

Certainly the insider mentality in Ottawa is strong, among the chattering classes as well as bureaucrats and Liberals. And now he is testing its outer limits, to borrow a line from Hamlet, by attempting to pluck our beards out and blow them in our faces. Is there no way to catch his conscience? Has he got one? Is he kidding us?

It’s as though Nixon had commissioned G. Gordon Liddy to write a report on Watergate, which not even Tricky Dick in a dark moment would have contemplated. Is our PM by now so surrounded by sycophants that none dared tell him so? And are we so demoralized that it won’t matter?

I don’t think so. Not this time. This scandal is so bad, and his response so much worse, that I think he’s about to go off to his post-political reward. Beijing will no doubt see to it. They look after their friends. Something in the promotion of trade line, with minimal work, lavish travel and generous stipends. And the sooner the better.

Surely by now we know what he is, and what he thinks of us.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

This content is restricted to subscribers

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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Dear Chairman Xi,

Or should I say “President for Life” or “the Great”? And congratulations on your promotion to the ranks of the materialist immortals and theoretical geniuses. I see on Amazon that “If one doesn’t understand The Thoughts of Xi Jinping, he cannot understand the future of China and the world.” But I wonder if I could ask you to hold off on doing anything rash for, say, 15 years. Or maybe 25.

It’s not entirely evident that you place great store by the Thoughts of Canada or even those of Little Potato. Perhaps once we truly understand the thoughts of Xi Jinping we’ll grasps that we wretched foreigners are to kowtow good and hard if we don’t want something to… happen to our businesspersons, our economy or who knows, our airspace as well. Oh, and our cybernetworks to which our power plants are linked. But here’s the thing.

We are a moral superpower. If you do mean nasty ugly things we will disapprove of you in ways that would wilt a hundred flowers. Eventually. Oh wait. Your lovely regime already did so, and pronto. But never mind. The point about our “eventually” is that we are building some submarines so if you do something nasty like attack Taiwan, or Japan, or Australia, or Europe, or North America, we can sink your battleship. Or aircraft carrier. Or immense fleet of same. It’s only fair.

OK. Not building. Thinking of maybe building. But if we ever get to it they will be very cool submarines. Not as cool as the Australian ones with nuclear power. But a whole lot better than the second-rate junk we got from Britain in 1998 after Pakistan said “No thanks”. Yes, the Victoria class that caught fire, fell over and sank into the sea. See, we were just kidding back then, confident that the mighty U.S. navy would protect us while we pranced around denouncing American imperialism.

We’re not so sure today. The decline of the American empire that our chattering classes longed for and gloated over appears to be arriving and product is not quite as advertised. So we’re going to retire those Victorian beauties in about two decades. After all, the Germans nearly won the Battle of the Atlantic in 1941 with subs launched in 1891 and the pace of technological change has obviously slowed since. And when we do, we’re going to build some first-rate submarines. Or second-rate. Nuclear power is just so yucky, don’t you think?

Oh wait. You don’t. You’re engaging in a massive buildup of your nuclear arsenal, nuclear-powered navy, hypersonic missiles, cyberwarfare and all that stuff with which you will finally restore the Mandate of Heaven or whatever it is that means you get to tell everyone what to do and kill them if they don’t. You think political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, not a flower. What a mean man. Still, in case you have a point, we need some subs.

Unfortunately it turns out we’re not very good at defence procurement. Probably you knew already. I suspect some grim people on your staff and in your gigantic private army including PLA Unit 61398 are probing with bayonets, so to speak, and finding us sort of mushy just now. But look, we’re Canada and nothing bad can happen to us, so back off now or we’ll send a protest note. A stern one. Not exactly wolf warrior diplomacy. More agitated house cat.

You laugh? You ask how either world war would have gone if we’d had the kind of complacent incompetence about defence procurement then that we have now? Well ha ha to you Mr. Great because we did. We entered World War One with coal-burning ships firing black powder shells. Admittedly only two. But one was called “Rainbow” so see how progressive we were even then? (The other ran aground but we got it off the shoal again.) And we started World War Two with only six tanks but it was OK because they were obsolete anyway. And our troops trained by pointing sticks and shouting bang which was very good for their lungs.

If you can spare a moment from being great and all, you might reflect that once provoked we rapidly armed ourselves, played a major role in both World Wars which our side did win, along with the Cold War. Despite, not because of, not having a “Great” ruler since Alfred of Wessex. We do the active self-reliant citizen thing not the insane grandiose dictator. But we do seem to have developed a bit of a paunch lately and need to work out for a bit.

So as noted, have fun being great but please don’t attack for at least 20 years.

Yours sincerely Canada the Moral Superpower.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

Will anyone in government go to jail?

Because someone in government perhaps should.

The revelation, when it came, actually wasn’t much of one. The CBC’s Fifth Estate, no less, revealed the sordid, appalling truth, which my colleague Brian Lilley and others at the Toronto Sun had long suspected.

Namely, the Trudeau government’s failed vaccine deal with China’s dictatorship had profound consequences – most notably, Canada’s acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines being delayed by many, many months.

Which, one can reasonably conclude, led to too many unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths in Canada.

“The federal government’s failed collaboration with a vaccine manufacturing company in China early in the pandemic has led to a delay of nearly two years in efforts to create a made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine,” wrote the CBC.

“Government documents obtained by The Fifth Estate show that Canadian officials wasted months waiting for a proposed vaccine to arrive from China for further testing and spent millions upgrading a production facility that never made a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Lilley, and this writer, believed that the Chinese vaccine fiasco caused a critical delay of months. The CBC (amazingly) says it was two years. But let’s give the Trudeau government the benefit of the doubt, and say that the collapse of the CanSino deal (in March 2020) and the Trudeau Liberals’ belated acknowledgement of that (in August 2020) – and the commencement of a meagre amount of vaccinations in Canada (in December 2020) – meant a delay of only ten months.

So: how many Canadians were killed by Covid in ten months in 2020?

More than fifteen thousand. That’s 1,500 deaths every month.

There are all kinds of variables, here. Was a death directly attributable to the coronavirus? Didn’t nations with vaccines experience greater mortality rates? Is there a direct causal link between the failed China deal and the deaths of Canadians?

That last question is the one that lawyers – and police, and coroners – will perhaps need to consider: did the Trudeau government’s vaccine failure lead to the death of Canadian citizens?

The CBC’s report, and common sense, strongly suggest that the answer is “yes.” And, sure, the Trudeau regime’s negligence may not have led to thousands of needless deaths.

But it inarguably led to some deaths. And that, then, should have legal consequences.

In the United States, they have greater experience with governmental failures that lead to wrongful deaths.

Most notoriously, and most recently, there have been successful prosecutions of police officers – as in the murder of George Floyd – for causing death while acting in their “official” capacity.

Other examples: the former Michigan governor, and others, charged with perjury and manslaughter for their role in the lead poisoning of water in Flint, Michigan. And there have been many, many instances of what is called “public health malpractice” in the U.S., leading to prosecutions of government officials at all levels.

In Canada, too, we have seen government officials prosecuted for failing to do their job properly. In 2000 in Walkerton, Ont., most notoriously, six people died – and about 2,000 became seriously ill – when E. Coli contaminated the local water supply.

In that case, Walkerton officials Stan Koebel was jailed for a year – and sentenced to house arrest, in Frank Koebel’s case – for their role in the contamination.

So, it’s a fair question: does the Trudeau government’s vaccine failure – and the sickness and death that needlessly resulted from that failure – rise to the level of a crime? Should someone be facing manslaughter charges?

Following this week’s revelations, it’s not an unfair question.  It needs to be examined.

Will it?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.