Election debate moderator had dinner with Trudeau’s disgraced top advisor week before debate
Huffington Post Canada’s Ottawa bureau chief and upcoming election debate moderator Althia Raj dined with Justin Trudeau’s best friend and disgraced former principal secretary Gerald Butts Sunday evening, a week before the official leaders’ English debate.
Rumour that the two were at dinner together swirled on social media after Conservative operative and pollster Nick Kouvalis tweeted out a picture claiming a source sitting next to the pair spotted them at Ottawa’s Whalesbone on Elgin St. for buck-a-shuck oyster night.
“[Gerald Butts] is busy busy busy. I’m told this is happening, right now, at WHALES BONE with…. Someone who looks awfully like an upcoming DEBATE MODERATOR, [ALTHIA RAJ]???? Is that you?” tweeted Kouvalis.
Ottawa criminal lawyer James Bowie tweeted pictures of Whalesbone looking closed for renovations, saying, “It is across from my office, near the courthouse. It’s been closed since last week. Renovations.”
However, upon closer inspection of the sign, it says the front is undergoing renovations so customers can still be served at the back area of the restaurant.
Some online observers noted the restaurant’s outward appearance of looking shuttered would make it an ideal clandestine meeting spot in public. (Bowie promptly deleted his tweet after Kouvalis told him to look closer at the sign.)
The Post Millennial confirmed with sources that Raj and Butts were indeed at Ottawa’s Whalesbone at 7 p.m.
Raj is one of five journalists who were selected to moderate the English official leaders’ debate taking place on Monday, Oct. 7.
Butts resigned as Trudeau’s top advisor in the middle of Feb. for his role in the SNC Lavalin scandal in which he, Prime Minister Trudeau and others pressured former Attorney General Jodie Wilson-Raybould to consider a deferred prosecution—something legislatively created by Trudeau’s government after being lobbied by SNC Lavalin.
A deferred prosecution would allow for the disgraced engineering giant to not have to go to trial for allegations such as buying prostitutes for murderous dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son and bribing the Libyan dictator’s family with millions.
It was announced in July Butts had rejoined the Liberals as an election campaign pitbull without the mainstream media really questioning the relatively quick return of a disgraced top aide.
Political observers were concerned Raj and Butts may be colluding in debate prep to give Trudeau a heads up on what the questions will be or what prickly questions to throw at Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
Election debate collusion is not new, in the last U.S. presidential election cycle, CNN commentator Donna Brazile leaked questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign team.
Some journalists came to Raj’s defence, saying it’s common practice for journalists to meet with sources.
The commission responsible for selecting debate moderators came under fire when four of the five journalists they selected to moderate the debate have shown favouritism for the Liberals and Trudeau.
Debate moderator Rosemary Barton, one of four anchors on CBC’s flagging flagship news show The National, took a selfie with Trudeau shortly after he got into office—proudly posting it on Twitter—and makes partial remarks in favour of the Liberals such as how the Trudeau government’s large deficits don’t matter or that the RCMP are “just asking a few questions” about the SNC Lavalin scandal investigation. Fellow debate moderator Susan Delacourt has long been a stalwart supporter of Trudeau in her Toronto Star columns and was a Trudeau Foundation mentor in 2016, receiving a $20,000 honourarium.
Raj herself wrote an effusive biography of Trudeau—Contender: The Justin Trudeau Story—in which she repeatedly praised Butts’ intelligence. She’s also repeatedly defended Trudeau in her writing and on national television, as one of CBC’s “At Issue” panellists, for his scandals and government’s failings.
Last week Raj faced a firestorm on Twitter for greenlighting and publishing another HuffPo writer’s hit piece—on a 16-year-old allegation that Andrew Scheer tacitly supported an MP’s homophobic comments in 2003—which didn’t properly quote the response from Scheer’s spokesperson.
The debate moderators were selected by the Canadian Debate Production Partnership (CDPP), which was created by a Leaders’ Debate Commission that the Trudeau government founded in 2018.
The spokesperson for the Leaders’ Debate Commission referred The Post Millennial’s questions of debate integrity to the CDPP.
“…It’s not unusual for political journalists to meet with political sources. We remain confident in all of the debate moderators, all of whom are professional journalists who are working for their respective outlets, as well as with the CDPP production teams on the debates,” said CDPP spokesperson Leon Mar.
So far, Trudeau has skipped a Maclean’s debate and caused the Munk debate to be cancelled because he refused to attend.
Raj and the Liberal Party of Canada did not respond to requests for comment.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has accused Justin Trudeau’s former top aide and best friend Gerald Butts of conspiring with the Obama administration to have the Keystone XL pipeline project kyboshed, according to a report from Politico.
At a forum in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Kenney said he didn’t doubt Butts spoke with Obama’s people in the White House before the project was nixed 48 hours after Trudeau was sworn-in to office.
“I mean, the announcement of President Obama’s veto of Keystone XL came 48 hours after Prime Minister Trudeau was sworn into office,” said Kenney on Friday, according to Politico.
“And I have absolutely no doubt there had been back-channel conversations between his then-Principal Secretary Gerry Butts and the White House that there would be no negative reaction, and there wasn’t. It was a news release, and they walked on to the next issue.”
“All of that is absolutely correct,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who was with Kenney as part of a panel discussion.
The Politico report also stated Kenney told the crowd Trudeau Liberals failed to use any political or diplomatic leverage against the Obama administration by invoking “the spirit of NAFTA, which was about, in part, open access to the U.S. market for our energy exports.”
Butts responded to the accusations from Kenney by tweeting out a report in which Trudeau said he was in support of Keystone XL back in 2013 when Liberal leader while in opposition.
“It was a position I publicly and privately promoted and defended without exception while I worked with him from 2012 to 2019,” Butts said to Politico in an email.
“It’s a position I still support. The premiers’ speculative allegation to the contrary is baseless.”
Before Butts became Trudeau’s top adviser, he was the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, in which he repeatedly made public statements saying he was opposed to increased oil production. He also served as a top adviser for former Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, where he was called the “policy guru” during the time the green energy plan was rolled out in the province.
When Kenney was asked if he would retract his accusation against Butts, he responded to Politico journalists by saying, “The Obama administration chose not to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline until just after the Trudeau government took office.”
“The Trudeau government did nothing to object to this attack on Canada’s clear economic interests by the U.S. government. No one familiar with the issue believes the timing of the veto was a coincidence,” he went on. “Having said that, we appreciate that the government of Canada now supports the Keystone XL Project under the current presidential permit, and we look forward to working together to get this done for the benefit of both Canadians and Americans.”
A new poll has shown that more than 50 percent of Canadians think that 2019 was a bad year for Canada, according to Global News.
The poll captured the opinions of Canadians on a wide range of subjects, including climate change and the economy, along with other minor issues. The most pressing issues, however, were subjects like climate change and wealth inequality, which Canadians are particularly pessimistic about.
on top of this, a significant amount of Canadians (29 percent) said that they were lonely “most of the time.” Another cause for concern was global warming, where 75 percent of Canadians expected global temperatures to increase.
Despite these results, the Vice President of Ipsos still thinks Canadians are feeling positive about life in Canada: “You know, while some things that Canadians are worried about have met these negative predictions … I do think that on the whole, they are feeling positive.”
This accompanies the sentiment of positivity that Canadians feel about 2020. Over three-quarters of Canadians feel that the new year will produce better results than the last year.
Nevertheless, the majority of Canadians feel that under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the economy will get worse in 2020. This negativity pales in comparison to other countries, who have expressed a far more negative outlook.
Senator André Pratte formally announced his resignation from the senate while election results are being broadcasted.
He made his announcement public in a letter published to Twitter.
In his letter, Pratte says that he specifically chose this time to resign, rather than earlier, because he did not want his resignation to impact the election in anyway and so that he did not distract from the campaign
He also says that his 3 ½ years on Senate have shown him that he lacks both the skills and motivation to follow through with the task Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau had given him when he was appointed in 2016.
He says that it is saddening to betray the trust Trudeau had in him, but that it would be a greater betrayal to continue on in a position for which he is unfit.
Andre Pratte is announcing his resignation from the Senate as the federal election results are rolling in.
The Independent senator from Quebec posted his resignation letter on Twitter to explain his decision.
“In any professional journey, there can come a time when we realize that we simply do not have the skills and motivation required to accomplish the task we have been entrusted with,” writes Pratte. “After three and a half years in the Senate of Canada, I have come to this conclusion.
“It saddens me to betray the trust that you [the Right Honourable Julie Payette] and the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, had placed in me. But it would be even more of a betrayal to continue performing a task that I cannot accomplish to the level of excellence expected.”
It’s been nearly 100 years since a party that lost a federal election formed the government.
Since then, the clear political norm in Canada has been that the party with the most seats forms the government. And in most cases, when a leader of a party who was Prime Minister loses power, that leader resigns.
While minority governments often don’t last long, once again the convention has been that the party with the most seats remains in government until they lose a confidence vote, at which case there is a new federal election.
For nearly 100 years, that’s how we’ve done things here in Canada.
But now, the Trudeau Liberals and their media enablers are laying the groundwork for the destruction of those democratic norms, in a bid to remain in power even if they lose.
Let me say this as clear as possible: If the Liberals win fewer seats than the Conservatives, it would be insane, unacceptable, and anti-democratic for the Liberals to remain in power.
Just think about it:
The Liberals went into the election with a majority government. If they not only lose their majority but also lose so many seats that the Conservatives surpass them, then it will be an unmistakable message from the Canadian People that they want Trudeau gone.
For Trudeau to remain in power despite such a rejection from the Canadian People would be a disgrace, and would devastate any remaining faith Canadians have in our national democracy. After all, people would think “what difference does a vote make if you can defeat a government, and then that government stays in power anyway?”
Clearly, there is something very disturbing going on here as the results approach. As pointed out by J.J. McCullough on Twitter, the attempt to normalize the potential of Trudeau’s violation of Canada’s norms is crazy:
“These journalists are all “it’s normal, it’s normal!!” It is absolutely NOT normal. In 150 years of Canadian history, exactly ONE prime minister tried pulling this stunt (in 1925)—and it caused one of the single biggest democratic crises in Canadian political history.”
“I’m sorry—the media’s reporting on this idea that Trudeau doesn’t have to give up power if Scheer wins a minority has been pure propaganda. They never mention what a radical break with 94 years of precedent it would be. They just try to spin something deeply abnormal as normal.”
McCullough is 100 percent correct here. It is not at all normal for Trudeau (or any PM) to try and stay in power after being defeated.
If Trudeau loses and tries to stay in power, it will be anti-democratic, anti-Canadian, and all of us must speak out against it.