Mulcair Bests Harper AND Trudeau as Senate Scandal Unfolds

Forget about Battle of the Blades,  the Amazing Race or even Survivor … the best reality show on television these days is Question Period!

What a show!  Drama! Mystery! Tragedy! And even Comedy! And all of it is Canadian content to boot … great LIVE viewing, aired Monday to Friday on the Parliamentary Channel (CPAC … Channel 123 on Shaw in Vancouver). And repeated later each day too.

We’ve all seen/hear/read  brief clips of the 45-minute daily , along with long discourse and analysis by reporters, pundits, experts and “streeters” voicing their opinions and biases.

But the best way to follow the edge-of-your-seat unfolding soap opera is to watch the ENTIRE show each day, delivered appropriately in both official languages (with translation).  After all, you wouldn’t be satisfied with just a 45 second clip of  the other Big Brother … followed by 45 minutes of others telling you what happened and who did best!

I’ve been watching: and along with the cast of hundreds … MPs, Senators and bureaucrats … there have been LOTS of  villains and so far, one shining knight, NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.

Like a skillful D’Artagnan, slicing up his opponent with his well-honed rapier, Mulcair has daily been inflicting wounds … some shallow, some deep … on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his version of events surrounding the Senate scandal involving Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrice Brazeau.

But what I’ve also been noticing …surprised no other pundits have even pointed to it … is how Mulcair has also been putting to shame Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau’s inexperience, shallowness and most of all, lack of training in pursuing information has also been laid bare … clearly a politician well short of  major league qualities.

In fact … hard to believe … Thursday he didn’t even show up for the game!

While almost all of Canada’s eyes and ears were focused on the drama unfolding in Ottawa, Question Period and the Senate, the Liberal leader was in Washington Thursday to rub shoulders with political has-beens,  former US Secretary of Sate Madeleine Albright and former Australian PM Julia Gillard, attending meetings and a panel discussion at a Centre for American Progress Conference.


But no matter … I also watched Question Period Wednesday and maybe I know why Trudeau got out of town afterwards: Mulcair outperformed and outshone the Liberal leader BY FAR.   So much so,  I got the feeling Harper was almost happy to take the Liberal leader’s jabs  … a break from the pummeling he was taking each time Mulcair came out of his corner.

And Mulcair had Harper on the ropes several times this week!

Of course, we cannot forget Mulcair is a long-time lawyer and has had an extensive political life; Trudeau was a school teacher … at a private preppy school no less.  And the differences showed.

Mulcair thrust 22  questions at Harper Wednesday and Thursday (after those accusatory speeches in the Senate by Duffy and Wallin) compared to only 3 by Trudeau. At a time when more Canadians are paying attention to Question Period than probably in the past 10 years!

And Mulcair’s demands for information on what the PM knew, who else knew and when did they know it also triumphed in quality over Trudeau’s cliché queries about whether the PM would agree to testify under oath. Did he really expect a “yes” to that from a Prime Minister … in Question Period?

Mulcair’s interrogation was much more penetrating and, I’m sure more captivating from any taxpayer’s and certainly the reporting media’s point of view:

* Did anyone in the PMO or Cabinet ever inform Senator Duffy his expenses were apparently illegal?

* Did  the PM tell Duffy it’s not about what you did, it’s about the perception of what you did, because the rules are inexplicable to the Conservative base?

* At one point in June, the PM said no one, other than Nigel Wright, knew about buying Duffy’s silence; then it was revealed by Wright as many as 13 top Conservatives also knew … why did the story change and who are these others who knew?  and,

* Did the PM order or approve the motion currently being considered in the Senate to suspend the three Senators?  Or take ANY part or play ANY role in the discussions about the motion to suspend them?

Of course, Harper did not yield a lot of new information … but he did acknowledge that OTHERS (if not 13) did also know what was going on, and he said he “supports” the Senate suspension motion, but NEVER answered directly whether he played any part in its being put forward.  VERY telling!

A poll completed earlier this week saw the federal Liberals leading with 40% public support; the Tories with 28%; and the NDP trailing with 20% support.

If Mulcair continues to go after Harper so skillfully for more about what really went on in the Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau fiasco … and continues to outshine and expose Trudeau’s lack of substance in the process … those numbers will likely change, to the NDP’s liking.

Harv Oberfeld

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24 Responses to Mulcair Bests Harper AND Trudeau as Senate Scandal Unfolds

  1. frosty says:

    And…Mulcair’s “How’s THAT going” comeback to Harper’s elected senate statement was a beaut! If only Tommy would lose the beard.

    (Response: I’m not put off by his beard, as much as his anti-BC policies favoring Quebec’s unfair advantages on seats in the Commons, power on the Supreme Court, proposal to abolish not improve the Senate (by having it ELECTED and EQUAL), and his anti-Western pipeline but pro-Eastern pipeline policies. But I have to hand it to him on his performance this week. h.o)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    Yes, Mulcair is no Adrian Dix and to retain the NDP’s being the official opposition posture, he is slicing and dicing Harper daily.

    For Trudeau not to show up is unforgivable, in politics, there is no quarter given or taken. Alas, I’m afraid Trudeau the younger will take us into the bland world of “comfortably numb”, if elected. Herr Harper has just proven that all government begin to stink after their “best before date”.

    Mulcair has been given a gift of a scandal and he doing, what the leader of the opposition should do, go for the jugular.

  3. OldIslander says:

    Harper is pretty crafty – he’s managed to load the Senate with the most lopsided Con majority in Canadian history. Today there are 60 Cons and 33 Libs (down from 63 before…. you know…).

    Back when Mulroney tried to ram his new GST bill thru the Senate, he was thwarted by a Lib majority of 7 seats. Not a problem; he just appointed 8 new Cons – all political ‘dead wood’ from across the country. All 8, deliriously ecstatic at having just won the ‘649’ of political patronage, swore to vote precisely as ordered by their PM master, and the GST passed.

    If legislation was passed anytime soon requiring Senators to be elected, the Con majority is so great, it might take several generations of voters before the upper chamber again reached some form of equilibrium.

    You don’t suppose this is why Harper has dragged his feet, implementing his promised elected Senate? Naaa…

    (Response: How could you even suggest that a PM, with a strong dictatorial anti-transparency, anti-privacy record would drag his feet on bringing in an elected, independent Senate! LOL! There doesn’t seem to be a shred of the old Western Canadian Reform Harper left … and I really hope (I can dream, can’t I) that enough Tory Senators will take a stand for due process and their own dignity next week. But I won’t be betting on it. h.o.)

  4. George Orr says:

    Oooo. we seriously miss The Hill, right Harv?

    (Response: Actually, it was quite funny: there I was for two days, sitting and taking copious notes during QP …something I hadn’t done in decades! And loving every minute of the exchanges. I even saw my old seat in the Press Gallery, to the right just above the Speaker. It all gave me a fun blog to write …but not a penny in revenue for all my time, effort and public service. Surely I deserve a Senate seat! LOL! h.o)

  5. Larry Bennett says:

    This is hilarious, I suspect that in very short order, the Gumbys and the Kootcoots will be telling us how awful were Harper’s attacks on their integrity! These wonderful truth-tellers, and fine workers of the Upper-House, who are being used as strawmen and cat’s paws – you know, Wallin and Duffy – by the by, why has no one talked about the Native Senator – oh well, he’s a victim of colonialism – I had forgotten.

  6. Jimson says:

    The media is more concerned about where Trudeau is spending his next family vacation.

    I’m no fan of Ezra Levant, and definitely don’t subscribe to 99.9% of his tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, but there certainly seems to be a “Media Party” pushing a certain agenda.

    Anyhow, the only way to break through the kind of media infatuation with Trudeau is word of mouth exposure.

    PLEASE be kind, watch and forward this You Tube video of Thomas Mulcair performance if you see fit. Ask yourself who would be a better Prime Minister, Mr. Silver Spoon Trudeau, or someone who actually grasps the issues that are facing Canadians?

    (Response: Anyone who searches Mulcair or Trudeau’s names on my blog will know I have been critical of them both (Harper too). I have long felt Trudeau is shallow, but thought he would at least have some pretty strong staff behind the scenes formulating his questions etc. They were so weak, so cliché …even I was surprised. And the fact he took off at the height of almost the whole nation watching QP is inexcusable,. He should have given “regrets” to the US conference instead of turning his back on Canadians when he could have made an impression. But with such shallow, detail-free questions Weds maybe he didn’t want to be there, letting Mulcair show him up. h.o)

  7. r says:

    No wonder BC libs have no fall sitting.Imagine these questions;

    When was last time BC accounting books were fully audited.?

    Are new BC care cards voluntary or manditiory replacement.?

    BC is balloning to 70 Billion dollars debt .Any comments.?

    With millions of dollars donated (corporate)to BC libs, by resource sector, what have they gotten in return.?Or were they just feeling generous.?

    If BC coal prices are up 400% since 2001, why haven’t gov’t royalty revenues increased dramatically?

    Any BC carbon tax on coal etc (hydrocarbon)exports,or are they exempt.?

    Why so many trips to China.?

    Why such a low royalty for bottled water.?

    (Response: I’d bet Harper is wishing he could pull a “Christy” and cancel the Fall session. Maybe even EVERY session! h.o)

  8. kootcoot says:

    ” by the by, why has no one talked about the Native Senator – oh well, he’s a victim of colonialism”

    Actually Larry if you read a little more widely and not just watch Sun Snooze and your favorite reich wing rant sewers, you would notice that some folks, including Mr. Brazeau himself have been mentioning his case.

    His monetary dips into the Senate trough are less than Wallin’s and the Duffster’s, and he actually declined taking advantage of one expense scam he was advised by his Conservative bosses to use. The victim of Trudeau Jr’s haymaker left also has bigger legal problems outside of the Red Chamber, some actual domestic type charges pending – so he may be disqualified from the Senate anyway, unless felons are allowed in the Senate too, as well as the PMO. (Bruce Carson anyone, or how about Steve’s appointee to be the overseer of CSIS who is currently fighting extradition from Panama IIRC).

    However the general public is used to paying attention the Miss Wadena and Mr. Andy of Green Gables because after all they’ve been watching them on TeeVee for years and have gained the trust (not necessarily deserved) of the public who is for the most part treated like mushrooms.

    I don’t recall that other victim of Colonialism (Peter P.) receiving particularly good treatment from the public either, although as far as Steve was concerned, if he had won his bye-bye-election in NF-Labrador, he would have been considered pure as the driven snow, in spite of being found guilty of electoral illegal funding/reporting/spending.

    Of course Steve his glorious self denied any wrong-doing in the “in and out” chicanery until he could no longer do so, at which time he and his party of hypocritical fraudsters quietly pleaded guilty – paid a fine (easily done with they war chest of corporate bribes) and moved on to heavy duty denial of the next and bigger basket of electoral chicanery.

    Lies only cover up so long, too bad he can’t resurrect Mr. Milhaus Nixon who proved even if you get away with the crime, the cover-up just may climb up your leg and bite you in the butt!

    I agree with your main premise Harvey, Mulcair is truly doing his job like an adult, Justin is AWOL – even when he is in the house and Stevie is flailing more each day!

    (Response: When I wrote months ago that Trudeau the Younger seemed to me to be shallow … I expected that with time, coaching and behind the scenes researchers and writers, they’d make him look good. They have clearly failed …very badly. Definitely not ready for prime time. h.o)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    This is the best t.v. in years, bar none. Not only is the question period in the House amazing, the senate speaches, which have no active t.v. are great. Can’t believe I actually sat and “listened” to the Senate debate, on t.v. it just doesn’t get any better.

    Mulcair looks great, beard and all. Harper hasn’t really answered the questions. It shows. The two blondes behind him, must be his cheerleaders. What is interesting is Jim Flaherty’s face during all of this. Most of the time he just starts straight ahead. Quess he is hoping a door will open that he can exit through.

    Due process has not been afforded these 3 senators. What they may or may not have done isn’t even the question anymore, at least in my mind. It is the absolute lack of due process that bothers me. Harper has turned things into a lovely dictatorship. We might want to watch if any of the old Progressive Conservative senators grow a set and ignore Harper and his gang.

    Harper rode to power on a sales caimpaign of “clean|” government and improving the economy. The last time I checked costs were still going up but not wages. The deficiet was still growing, but not much to show for it. We have had a number of scandals. So much for false advertising.

    (Response: You’re very right about due process. I don’t care how sleazy anyone is, but we operate .. or at least we used to operate …under a very basic principle that EVERYONE is innocent until their day in court and being found guilty. This should NOT be a partisan issue: the world is full of regimes where people are found guilty and punished without trial: hard to believe that even a control freak like Harper would want Canada to become like that. It’s scary and dangerous. h.o)

  10. Gilbert says:

    If PM Harper manages to make progess on senate reform, it will be a great accomplishment.

    (Response: I agree. In fact, I would not be surprised if next year, as part of the lead up to the 2015 election, he introduces legislation to have an elected Senate … maybe even an equal one …to try and make that an election issue instead of all the scandals and his disrespect for transparency which seems to be getting worse with time. h.o)

  11. kootcoot says:

    ” In fact, I would not be surprised if next year, as part of the lead up to the 2015 election, he introduces legislation to have an elected Senate … maybe even an equal one …”

    It remains to be seen if Stevie can do much at all about the Senate without opening up the Charter. Mulroney had no luck with that, and he had a much bigger majority in reality than the Harper bare majority dictatorship.

    One ruling has already come down from Quebec Superior Court, but the one that matters will be forthcoming from the SCofC. Hopefully the SCofC hasn’t been totally infested by Scurrilous Scalia types and Uncle Tom yasser types like the Supreme Court to the South of us which is going ahead full bore at turning the US Constitution and Bill of Rights into the “toilet”
    paper that Augustus Dubya Dumbass suggested it was. Process is becoming very late and undone rather than due down there as Obama weekly checks off his “kill list” corporations replace people as the holder of rights.

    Just electing senators won’t fix the problems, unless it is based on something other than popular vote – ie regional representation. If it is based on population like the House of Parliament it will merely strengthen the current majority equals four years of one man rule.

    One would assume that Atlantic Canada as well as Quebec would be loathe to allow Senate change that reduced their representation in Parliament. If I’m not mistaken the Senate itself was a non-negotiable item for the Maritimes and part of the price for Confederation as was the RR for BC.

    I still shake my head at the idea of Lyin’ Brian simply adding deadwood senators to push his GST through. In the failing nation to the south that kind of move would have brought out the many guns.

  12. Norm says:

    You’re right Harvey, Mulcair is finally acting like a leader of the opposition.
    Does anyone have a definitive explanation of exactly is the residence requirements to be a senator was prior to February 28 and what it is and now. The best I can find is a candidate has to have a $4000 house in the province he/she represents. There is no time limit to be resident in that house. That apparently is all that’s in the Constitution and the Senate up until recently had no further rules. Of course that’s not reasonable nor what any of us would expect and would lead to sanctioned fraud.

  13. 13 says:

    Great post Harvey. My only dispute might be that you insinuated that some of Trudeaus ineptness might be courtesy of a private prep school. I think that Justines problems are caused by DNA from bad doners.

    (Response: Ahhh! I was talking effect…you were talking cause. h.o)

  14. RS says:

    Harper and Christy: “Jobs and the economy. Jobs and the economy. Jobs and the economy. Jobs and…”

    When you’re seriously in trouble don’t stray from speaking notes, then run away!

  15. morry says:

    Mulcair has fine tuned butcher’s knives and he is skillfully using them to crave up The Harper …

  16. Scotty on Denman says:

    Trudeau has star-power, yes, but he’s still merely the leader of one of the “other parties” and, like his dad said, fifty feet off the Hill, he’s a nobody—at least as far parliamentary procedure goes, which allows the only two parties that really count, the Conservative majority and the NDP, Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, the lion’s share of speaking time, rebuttals and follow-up statements lesser parties can only dream of. I’m pretty sure Justin would be happy to let his voice be heard in the House of Commons—if only the rues allowed it.

    But there’s another good reason for Trudeau’s absence: if the stink of impropriety taints Conservatives in the Senate, it does as well for the preponderance of Liberals who have sat in the Upper Chamber for a long while, too. For Harper to pick on Justin would appear evasive and he’s already defending himself against that charge; however, it would instantly become tolerable if it was Trudeau who threw the first stone. We all know what Harper’s response would be: “Let he who is without sin, etc.,…” When it comes to the Senate, the Liberals ain’t no saints, either.

    Mulcair is indeed looking good because, in part, he’s doing exactly what the Leader of the Opposition is supposed to do: hold the government’s feet to the fire. While he’s obviously enjoying his Schadenfreude, Mulcair exploits a bonus by also advertising NDP’s Senate-abolition policy in the most opportune light—while we’re coincidentally nattering on about Senate abuses. It happens to be the only clear and concise policy amongst the lot. Why, my goodness! Mulcair’s smirk positively beams through his beard, so brightly many aren’t noticing that the likelihood of abolishing the Senate is about the same as achieving any other Constitutional Amendment, that is, not very.

    (Response: Unfortunately for Mulcair, star power works in this TV day and age. Mulcair has indeed been effective in QP, but most voters choosing a PM don’t vote for someone who makes a good “prosecutor”. I still predict those voters in the middle, tired of Harper’s dictatorial style and coldness will go for Trudeau’s “popular” style over Mulcair’s dour persona. h.o)

  17. Gini says:

    I think that predictions for the next federal election are somewhat premature, unless by some sort of miracle the GG grows a pair, decides enough is enough and dissolves parliament over the lies Harper continues to tell during the Senate scandal.

    Mulcair’s persona, IMHO, is far from ‘dour’, in fact his sense of humour has shone through many times over his ‘cross-examination’ of Harper this week.

    And why wouldn’t voters go for a good prosecutor as their leader, rather than the ‘style over substance’ of Trudeau? I think people are ready for a no-nonsense, tell it like it is PM. I, for one, am tired of the aloofness, the ‘father knows best, don’t bother me with any questions’ type of Harper dictatorship.

    And Trudeau, as pretty as he is, just isn’t even close to being the tough, shrewd politician that his father was. I’m not sure he ever will be. He made a big mistake traipsing off to Washington DC to push the Keystone XL pipeline instead of staying to rake Harper over the coals, IMO. Voters don’t forget stuff like that.

  18. r says:

    minority parl on the way.?

  19. 13 says:

    News flash . If you go back to May of 2013 you might have a memory jog. Just because people on a blog are slamming an incumbent does not mean they face imminent defeat. I think that the current senate debacle is an embarasment to the tories but it will not be enough to convince the majority of voters (not bloggers) to dump Harper for the hairdoo or take a flyer on an NDP federal government.

    (Response: I think you could be quite correct…but I do believe there’s now a better chance of a minority government next time around: Tory or Liberal. h.o)

  20. kootcoot says:

    ” I think that the current senate debacle is an embarasment to the tories but it will not be enough to convince the majority of voters (not bloggers) to dump Harper for the hairdoo or take a flyer on an NDP federal government.”

    What are you smoking 13? Harper has NEVER had a majority of the voters, and even less than that of the eligible voters. Maybe you should brush up on your math. The combined vote of the Libs (even with the Iggy one) and NDP were a majority of the votes, but Slime Man has convinced the low information Canadian voters (and non-participants) that co-alitions are illegal coups and Mulcair and young Trudeau are both too egotistical to share as each are jealous of the Harp and want to be king.

    The main fact is though that Harper has never represented a majority of Canadians or won a majority of the votes, thus illustrating a real flaw in the first past the post system, especially in a bamboozled country where barely half of the eligible voters bother to participate.

  21. chuckstraight says:

    Harper has never had a majority, and the Senate is not a democratic insitution.

    (Response: Like it or not …he DOES have a MAJORITY OF SEATS … and in terms of LEGAL power that’s all that counts. h.o)

  22. Disallusioned says:

    Quick question: “If the senate is eliminated how will a dictatorial megalomaniac (Harper for example) be contained?”.

    (Response: Perfect question! I just wish some of the working press and pundits would ask it!!! I find it very frustrating when I hear radio pundits reflecting and even inciting the “hang em” mob mentality to abolish the Senate …without ANY knowledge of the cases I have pointed out on here of how the Senate stepped in to protect BC and the West and stop right-wing excessive anti-union legislation or without pondering the more important issue you raise. Any majority government PM has dictatorial powers and ONLY an elected …therefore legitimate … second body would be able to stand in his or her way. These ignorant, uninformed radio pundits are doing Canada a great disservice in just rallying abolition supporters and giving NDP and Bloc types lots of “soft” air time to almost unquestionably promote the abolition move, which would give THEM dangerous power to impose their will when there are minority governments. h.o)

  23. Get Smart says:

    This begs the question of whether the PM might call the one Quebec riding on a different timetable from the other three ridings. He can call Bourassa as late as November 30 for an Election Day on or after Monday, January 6. But pushing the Manitoba by-election dates much past the end of November increases the difficulty of conducting winter balloting in prairie ridings, an extra impediment the Conservatives will hardly want introduced into the already-complicated situation for them in Brandon-Souris.

  24. With respect to the member’s question, Nigel Wright has identified in an affidavit the persons he brought into his confidence on this matter, but the issue, of course, is that Senator Duffy and these senators accepted payments to which they were not entitled, and those payments need to be repaid.

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