This was the headline on the Vancouver Sun‘s web page yesterday:
The story (linked above) says that “The Liberal Party of Canada has again denied its leader Justin Trudeau ever had drinks with the controversial Faith Goldy, after another woman told the National Post she was with them at the Château Laurier in Ottawa one festive night in the winter of 2012.“
The Sun‘s Joseph Brean explains, just in case we’ve forgotten in all the excitement of the past few days, that “Before Trudeau’s brownface scandal, Goldy’s connection to both the Liberal and Conservative campaigns was becoming an improbable focal point of political smearing, as both parties tried to capitalize on her toxic image as a newly prominent figure of the far right … [and] … The Liberals first drew attention to a video Goldy made about a proposed television show with Conservative candidate Justina McCaffrey. They also raised Conservative campaign manager Hamish Marshall’s past role as a director of Rebel Media, where Goldy was an on-screen personality before being fired for appearing on a neo-Nazi podcast.” In fact, the entire Liberal campaign, it appears to me, involved only two elements: throw money at every winnable riding in an attempt to buy your vote with your own money, and mine; and try to smear Andrew Sheer in every way possible.
“In response to the Liberals’ accusations about Conservative affiliations with Goldy, last Monday in Lake Country, B.C., Scheer said: “I also look forward to Justin Trudeau’s response to allegations that he took Faith Goldy out for drinks” … [the report says, and] … He was evidently referring to a Twitter message that Goldy posted but deleted, saying, “Only one federal leader has bought me drinks at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier. Any guesses?” … [and] … Goldy previously told the National Post in April that she and two female friends had drinks with Trudeau in Ottawa … “He invited us out for drinks,” Goldy said… [but] … This claim of drinks was flatly denied twice by official Liberal outlets:
- On Sept 16, the Liberal campaign tweeted: “The Prime Minister hasn’t had drinks with Faith Goldy, but @AndrewScheer’s campaign manager gave Goldy a TV show, which Scheer happily appeared on”; and
- Kate Purchase, Chief Content Strategist for the Liberal Campaign, and a longtime senior Trudeau advisor, also tweeted that “@JustinTrudeau never had drinks with Faith Goldy”, but @AndrewScheer’s campaign manager gave her a TV show soooo”.”
But the story is not going away, and “On Wednesday, after being told that a second woman has now confirmed the story Goldy told the National Post, Liberal spokeswoman Zita Astravas repeated verbatim the comments about Scheer and Marshall, and again denied the claim. “The Prime Minister hasn’t had drinks with Faith Goldy, but if he were to talk to her he’d tell her to stop saying racist and hateful things,” she said. “We encourage Andrew Scheer to do the same.”“
“The second woman, who has since fallen out of touch with Goldy …[and whose identity is being protected “because she worried about the professional consequences and being the target of harassment” then] … told the National Post she was with her when Trudeau invited them both for several rounds of drinks over more than hour at a table in the middle of Zoe’s Lounge, the main bar of the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel, during a Liberal convention … [and] … “The Liberals are lying about this one,” she said in an interview. Told of the party’s blanket denial, she said she was shocked.“
The Vancouver Sun reports says that “Except for the date, which Goldy was uncertain about when the Post first asked her about this episode in April (she wrongly estimated it was about 2010), the two women’s accounts line up. Goldy did not reply to subsequent requests for comment …. [and] … Both women separately identified former senior Liberal Martha Hall Findlay as being present and noticing their table … [but] … When told the alleged details of the evening, Hall Findlay, who is now president of the Canada West Foundation, said on Wednesday she had no recollection of the incident.“
“It was Friday, the 13th of January, 2012,” the report says, “the last day the future prime minister wore a goatee and moustache, which were shaved off the next day at a charity event for the Judy LaMarsh Fund in support of women in politics.” The picture on the right (⇒) is a PostMedia file photo from March 2012 … the presence of the goatee seems like a pretty reliable memory marker.
The source said that “Goldy was in Ottawa with two women who were also interested in politics and had started going together to major conventions and conferences. Goldy was 22, the source was 20. Both were students at the University of Toronto, attending the Liberal biennial convention with media accreditation through a student newspaper. Goldy was gaining prominence as a young social conservative pundit, and would soon be a leading figure in Sun News Network, then a year old. Rebel Media did not yet exist, and Goldy had not yet become involved in white nationalism, militant traditional Catholicism, and the other far-right causes she now pursues … [and] … The source said she was the classical liberal of the trio, Goldy the conservative, and the third woman, who declined to be interviewed, was more left-leaning.” The source went on to explain that “The source said the three were making efforts to play it cool at the convention, to set themselves apart from the more eager Young Liberals who had a tendency to fawn over famous politicians like Trudeau. She said Trudeau approached them to chat at the Westin hotel in Ottawa, they spoke for a while, then went to a hospitality suite party that was wrapping up. He asked what they were doing after, and they said they did not know … [then she says that he said] … “Great, let’s grab a drink” … [and] … They found one lounge at the Métropolitain restaurant was packed, and it was freezing out, so they were soon inside the nearby Château Laurier at the bar. Trudeau was buying the drinks, even taking it upon himself to return the source’s mistaken order to the bar to get the correct vodka soda … [and] … The source recalled him jokingly asking them who he looked like, and getting replies such as Louis Riel, before he stood up and put his foot on a chair … [and replied] … “I’m Captain Morgan”,” in an apparent reference to his facial hair. It all sounds so very plausible to me, especially the part about Prime Minister Trudeau imagining himself in a fancy costume and striking a pose. That’s just too familiar, isn’t it? But why deny it? OK, he was, at the time, 40ish, married and the father of two small children (his third child was not born until 2014) and someone might begin to wonder what a 40ish married man was doing hanging around with some 20-something political groupies, but it was a political convention and he was trolling for support wherever he could find it and his father’s ‘Trudeaumania‘ which relied, heavily on a crowd of adoring young women, might have been in his mind.
I have no idea if there is any real truth to this story … but it’s 2019 and the Liberals have set the truth bar so low that almost anything and anyone can jump over it. It all happened in 2012, after the blackface incidents, to be sure, but before Faith Goldy was infamous. But the second woman’s story seems plausible and I assume that the Vancouver Sun did some quite rigorous fact-checking before its editor allowed “The Liberals are lying” to be used in a headline.
My guess is that “The Liberals are lying,” again. It seems to be an almost reflexive response for them. That should tell us all something: it’s not that people who want a good, honest government must vote Conservative, although that’s my choice, but I sincerely hope that more and more and more Canadians will look for any sensible alternative in their riding: Green, Independent, NDP or Other.