Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

It's been a while but Conservatives can finally smell blood. They've got the Grits on the run. Back-to-back come Justin Trudeau's cash-for-access imbroglio and his Fidel follies.

The latter even clanged alarm bells outside the country. In the United States nothing brings the paleos snorting from the undergrowth quite like nice words about a Communist dictator. On hearing the Prime Minister's wrongheaded testimonial, little Marco Rubio was apoplectic. Ted Cruz almost had a seizure.

Here the so-called public outcry was an 80 per cent right-wing outcry. That eases concerns for the governing party. As for the careful-who-ya-schmooze-with brouhaha, it has a ways to go (and could get there) before making it beyond the realm of scandalette.

Story continues below advertisement

Related: Trudeau defends Liberal fundraising event attended by marijuana lobbyists

Read more (for subscribers): The potential pitfalls of Trudeau's pipeline politics

Globe editorial: Trudeau on Castro: Get us rewrite, pronto

But Liberals thinking their blunders amount only to paper cuts might well end up with deep lacerations. For more than a year, Conservatives have had to watch as Justin Trudeau performed beyond expectations. But there are signs the public mood is shifting. The Liberals dropped a few notches in an Ekos poll last week and the bad new tidings could move the Tories within striking range. In Ottawa circles, the belief has been that the Conservatives need to play the long game, that unless Mr. Trudeau is hit by a meteor, he is virtually guaranteed a second term. It's fiction.

There's an inevitability to the rhythms of politics. You can only stay up for so long. In the modern era, all our newly elected majority governments have hit the skids at some point during their first term and become very vulnerable. John Diefenbaker's majority crashed and barely survived. Same with Pierre Trudeau's. Brian Mulroney was on the ropes after winning a gigantic majority. Stephen Harper won his first majority in 2011 and frittered it away. Mr. Trudeau could be defeated as well.

Media feeding frenzies take their toll. Mr. Trudeau got it wrong on Mr. Castro with his first commentary. He got it right on day two when in answer to a question on whether Mr. Castro was a dictator, he said "yes." The problem was that the do-over didn't make it into many of the media commentaries. To say "oh by the way, he did describe him as a dictator" would have seriously subtracted from the floggings.

It's of some interest to recall that Canadians didn't seem to mind too much when Jean Chrétien and Pierre Trudeau gave Mr. Castro comparatively mild treatment. The press wasn't in high dudgeon like today. But as I have noted before, our media was more liberal in those times. There was no giant conservative chain like Postmedia, which is the preponderant print voice in many of the country's big cities and which fields conservative commentators in greater number than progressives. Today the right side has the balance of power in the print media and has gained ground at the CBC where a conservative has been appointed to head up its new on-line commentary service.

Story continues below advertisement

The other rhubarb, the cash-for-access story, is one that stings because although it's an age-old political practice it contravenes the clearly worded pledge Mr. Trudeau made before coming to power. To wit: "There should be no preferential access or appearance of preferential access accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties."

There is as yet no direct evidence of kickbacks or quid pro quos in what the PM and his ministers have done. On the question of openness and integrity, this government has shown more of it than their predecessors, who last we looked were embroiled in a cover-up scandal on Senate expenses that saw them trying to falsify a Senate report, misleading the House of Commons and offering testimony at the trial of Mike Duffy that was risible.

That said, the cash-for-access story could have legs, lots of them. Examples keep popping up. Liberals' heads keep popping down. The Conservatives have them on the defensive and with Mr. Trudeau facing difficult decisions on upcoming nettlesome files, they are likely to keep them there.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies