A bloody disgrace

This story, by veteran journalists Stephen Chase and Robert Fife in the Globe and Mail, is very disturbing.

david-mulroneyDavid Mulroney, who I have cited often in these pages, is a distinguished Canadian scholar and public servant who has served at the very highest levels in the Privy Council Office and as Canada’s ambassador to China. Now, from his scholarly perch at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, he comments on Canadian foreign policy, especially towards China. Few people would argue that he is not highly qualified to speak on both.

trudeauchicago-e1518051554787Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 12.30.09Well, it seems that Justin Trudeau would … he doesn’t like what Mr Mulroney says because, I suppose, it makes him look like the inept bungler that he is (as is his blundering foreign minister Chrystia Freeland). Therefore, Messers Chase and Fife report, “The Prime Minister’s Office asked former Canadian diplomat David Mulroney to check with the foreign affairs ministry before he makes future public statements on Ottawa’s China policy, citing the “election environment,” … [and] … Mr. Mulroney, who was ambassador to Beijing between 2009 and 2012, said he received a call from Paul Thoppil, assistant deputy minister for Asia-Pacific at Global Affairs, who informed him he was passing on the request from the Prime Minister’s Office.” Mr Mulroney says he was troubled by the ‘request’ and will not comply.

I could almost understand an informal request, from the upper (civil service) levels of Global Affairs or from the Privy Council Office, to “ask us for an update before you comment on anything about, say, the Canadians being detained in China” because, sometimes, as we have seen with John McCallum, ill-considered outside commentary can have consequences. But I suspect that any such a request would be made in private, over a drink in the UofT Faculty Club. This was not done that way because, I suspect, the senior official making the call was not speaking on behalf of the Mandarins, Mr Mulroney’s former colleagues, but rather he was, probably reluctantly, passing on direction from some political operative in the Prime Minister’s Office.

I am 100% certain that:

  • Beijing reads Mr Mulroney’s comments with care ~ probably with greater care than they accord to McCallum’s, Freeland’s or Trudeau’s comments;
  • Mr Mulroney considers the impact of each (beyond doubt well informed) word before he presses ⏎ on his keyboard.

So, why this request?

Simple: the BroadhurstButtsTeford-Trudeau team cannot tolerate criticism. They are on track to be beaten in October 2019 and, possibly, being able to retain power only by being beholden to the Greens, the NDP and possibly even the Québec separatists. Mostly, in modern Canadian history, when a party wins a majority in one general election they win the next one, too ~ as often as not with another majority. Justin Trudeau has failed so badly because he’s an inept, intellectually vacuous bumbler, that he is likely to finish second to (the almost unknown) Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives in just under 90 days.

Mr Mulroney told the Good Grey Globe‘s reporters that Assistant Deputy Minister Paul Thoppil told him last week that “it was important for Canada to speak with one voice these days, because of frayed relations with Beijing, but also the October federal election … [and] … “In this time, he said, of high tension and in an election environment, we all need to be very, very careful,” Mr. Mulroney recounted. “He said … ‘I’ve been asked by PMO: before you comment on aspects of China policy, it would be good if you called in and got the latest from us on what we’re doing’” … [then] … Mr. Mulroney said the request made him very uncomfortable and he refused to comply. He said he felt that implicit in what Ottawa was asking was the premise he would revise or temper his comments after running them by the ministry.” This amounts to being asked told to accept pre-censorship because of partisan political considerations. In fact, David Mulroney said that “any effort to discourage Canadians with expertise in foreign relations from speaking freely is “fundamentally an undemocratic idea.”” Indeed it is, but this is the Trudeau era and democracy takes second place to winning.

Many people have characterized Justin Trudeau’s attempts to “support” the Canadian media as an attempt to buy it, for his own partisan purposes. Others have suggested that his government is trying to suppress anti-Liberal dissent on social media. Now, I understand that this new (since the early 1990s) “information age” has shattered the business model which has served the print media for centuries and the electronic media (radio and TV) from their birth, in the early 20th century, and I also agree that modern social media is a cesspool in which out and out lies, told by partisans from all parts of the political spectrum, threaten to swamp the facts that people should want to know, but I do not know how best to address the problem of fake news lies without, quite fundamentally, damaging freedom of expression.

But this attack on David Mulroney goes beyond trying to influence the media. It is a bald-faced attempt to silence a critic just because he is a critic ~ a highly credible and erudite one, at that. Justin Trudeau has messed up Canada’s foreign policy, largely because he is totally unqualified for the job he holds and his lack of insights led him to appoint a toady LeslieAndrew_Libto his top foreign policy post rather than an expert ~ and he had some in his cabinet, including, just as an example, Andrew Leslie, who would have been, in every conceivable way, superior to Chrytstia Freeland in almost any post in any government. Mr Mulroney has called the Trudeau regime to account for bad policy decisions … now they want to shut him up. That’s an assault on freedom of speech and it is an assault on democracy.

The article says that “Ms. Freeland’s office and the Prime Minister’s Office distanced themselves” from Mr Mulroney’s version of events, but they did not deny that Mr Thoppil called Mr Mulroney and asked him to submit to pre-censorship. Their (Freeland’s and Trudeau’s) spokespersons said things like ““Our office would not have directed the public service to say those things to a former ambassador” … [and] … “Neither the Prime Minister’s office nor the Foreign Minister’s office would ever attempt to prevent any former Canadian diplomat from speaking freely and publicly”,” but that’s all a load of bull roar. The fact is that Mr Thoppil did call Mr Mulroney and he did try to silence him and I suspect that Mr Thoppil did not lie when he told Mr Mulroney that he was calling at the behest of the Trudeau PMO … therefore I accuse Chrystia Freeland’s and Justin Trudeau’s press agents of lying and trying to cover up the fact that the Trudeau PMO, aided by Chrystia Freeland, wants to fix the October election by silencing free speech in Canada.

Mr Mulroney said that Assistant Deputy Minister Thoppil “did not appear to relish acting for the PMO, and repeated several times that he had been instructed to convey the request to run statements past Global Affairs. “He seemed very embarrassed at having to deliver this message to me.”” I’m not surprised, remember Daniel Jean, who was the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister from 2016 until May 2018? He resigned shortly after being sent, by the Trudeau PMO, to the back of the aeroplane, on the return trip from India, to tell another bald-faced lie ~ this time that some unnamed Indian groups had conspired to sabotage Justin Trudeau’s trip to India by inviting an Indo-Canadain fellow (who had been convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian diplomat) to a Canadian reception in New Dehli. It was, of course, rubbish and M Jean, very correctly, resigned, but one wonders what has happened to the Canadian public service when men like M Jean and Mr Thoppil, senior officials, feel it is necessary to do the partisan political bidding of the kids who surround the prime minister.

To make matters worse the Globe and Mail also reports that “A second former Guy_Saint_JacquesCanadian ambassador to Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, says he too received a call from the foreign ministry that delivered a message from the Prime Minister’s Office about the need to avoid contradictory public messaging regarding China … [and] … Mr. Saint-Jacques, who served as Canada’s envoy to China between 2012 and 2016, said he found this directive to be particularly odd given it concerned China, an authoritarian state. “Especially having served in China and how they try to control messaging there” … [and, he added] … “It was a bit of a strange conversation.” M Saint-Jacques said that “the PMO’s decision to send this caution in the manner they did [was] “a bit clumsy.”

Anyway, what Messers Mulroney and Sait-Jacques report ~ and I believe every word of what they say, just as I believe that Freeland’s and Trudeau’s spokespeople are lying ~ is a bloody disgrace and it affirms that trending hashtag: #TrudeauMustGo. Justin Trudeau is trying to subvert our basic rights as Canadians; he’s unfit to hold elected office.

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