The pressure has been building for months. What did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know about intelligence reports on foreign interference in Canada’s elections, and when did he know it? Why is CSIS leaking like a sieve? Why won’t the PM call a public inquiry? And so on, and so on.
Then, 24 hours before Trudeau was to welcome United States President Joe Biden on his first state visit to Ottawa, another bombshell. Global News reported that Liberal MP Han Dong allegedly advised the Chinese consulate to recommend delaying China’s release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from prison in 2021, so as not to “benefit the Conservatives.”
After the news broke on Wednesday, Dong admitted that a conversation took place but denied the alleged content. He tearfully resigned from the Liberal caucus, and the next day announced a lawsuit against Global News. It further emerged that the PMO was briefed on his consular conversation on March 3, 2023, but determined there was no “actionable evidence” and did nothing further – despite the fact that they had apparently been in the dark about this for two years.
What’s next? It’s as if someone is pulling all the knives out of the drawer, one by one, and is throwing them at Trudeau’s head. Some cut deep, others just nick the skin. But taken together, they will eventually weaken their target, possibly fatally. Already, the Prime Minister has a disapproval rating of 49%, according to the latest Abacus poll.
To be fair, there have been other victims in the ongoing China crisis. Dong and Ontario MPP Vincent Ke have both quit their respective caucuses. The Vancouver mayoral election of Ken Sim lies under a cloud of suspicion. There are concerns this affair will spawn a wave of anti-Asian racism.
But the person who loses the most, consistently and with every fresh revelation, is Justin Trudeau.
This begs several questions: Why him? Why now? What is the end game? And who is playing it?