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There was only one major miracle of the 2019 federal election — Justin Trudeau.
While the results were still up in the air Monday night — writing this election was like writing about a hockey game without knowing overtime was coming, least of all if there’d be a shootout and who would win — there was no question to me that it would have been amazing enough if Trudeau had merely survived.
And yet, it looked at this time of writing last night that he had done much more than that.
And one of his early re-elected cabinet ministers, Seamus O’Regan, was quick to praise Trudeau for having run a fantastic campaign. What does he give these seemingly bright men and women that they gush so?
I was part of a radio panel Friday in which a fellow commentator was summing up the campaign, and mentioned that there had been no real surprises.
"What would have fatally felled or shamed almost any other Canadian politician left Trudeau barely bruised."
No surprises, I cried? Learning that the sitting PM has worn blackface at least three times that he knows of, most recently when he was a 29-year-old teacher — that wasn’t surprising?
Does anyone doubt that if Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had been caught doing that he would have been instantly finished? And a good thing, too, he wasn’t so caught: Scheer could barely handle explaining the weird insurance career boosting it appears he engaged in on his CV. And he simply refused to explain if the Conservatives had hired Warren Kinsella and his Daisy Group to torpedo Max Bernier. The confidentiality privilege in that sort of relationship lies with the client, not the service provider.
Not unserious matters, but these were pretty small mistakes compared with wearing blackface and, in one instance, what appeared to be a banana in your pants?
What would have fatally felled or shamed almost any other Canadian politician left Trudeau barely bruised.
And the blackface stuff wasn’t even the serious stuff for Trudeau.
He was found guilty of two ethical breaches by his own ethics commissioner, the latest a slap for his conduct in the SNC-Lavalin matter, where his staff in the PMO and in the PCO and even some of his ministers and their staff engaged in a full-court press to get their attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to overrule her deputy and give SNC-Lavalin the get-out-of-jail-card the company deeply wanted.
This was a direct assault on prosecutorial independence, a sacred tenet of any vibrant democracy.
Trudeau lied in his first remarks about The Globe and Mail story, saying the allegations therein were false; ethics boss Mario Dion later unequivocally found that the allegations were true.
Then, in one of the debates, Trudeau actually repeated that spurious claim.
And throughout the campaign, he described the waiver of privilege he gave JWR as the broadest in Canadian history, but it wasn’t — and it was an easily refutable claim, and various media refuted it. It didn’t matter; Trudeau kept saying it.
He lives in a place — apparently — where truth is what he says it is.
And that doesn’t count the shabby Mark Norman affair, where Trudeau’s government threw an honourable man under the bus, suspended him for almost a year before he was charged, damaged his pristine reputation — and only gave up the ghost when Norman’s superb team of lawyers made it plain the charge would not stick.
And there was the Kokanee grope, where the champion of feminism and #MeToo decided that in this case, it was not necessary to “believe the woman,” because, as Trudeau said, it is possible “to experience” the same event differently.
Maybe he was right at that.
Where the results show most Canadians forgave Trudeau or moved on or simply didn’t much care about airy-fairy concepts like prosecutorial independence, I could hardly believe that he kept emerging unscathed, that people weren’t laughing out loud at his nose-stretchers, that the head-bobbers of his caucus kept at it so faithfully.
Clearly, I experienced the campaign and the election differently.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019