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On Peter Mansbridge’s SiriusXM show on Friday, Chantal Hebert and Mansbridge got into a respectable spat about whether what Han Dong is alleged to have done is actually treason or not. It’s an interesting discussion, but it made me think of something – whether you think he would have actually betrayed our country by doing what is alleged or not, Han Dong would have betrayed someone by doing what he did.
If Han Dong did what is alleged, he betrayed his Party Leader and his Prime Minister, he extended a political problem that the Liberal Party desperately wanted gone for political reasons and the PM wanted gone for governance ones, and he would have made that harder for the government. I don’t claim to be great at Trudeau world/PMO Kremlinology, but I do have enough of a sense of how Trudeau and Telford and co work to know that these people hold grudges. We know they do, for good or for ill, from how they handled Jane Philpott for the airquotes “crime” of supporting her friend.
The idea that Han Dong told the Chinese consular general to delay the release of the Two Michaels rests on many suppositions, but on two key ones – that the top levels of CSIS protected him from the time of the phone call until now, and that when the PMO found out about it from the Globe, the Government sat on it and decided to protect him.
If Dong did what he’s accused of doing, Justin Trudeau would be protecting someone who stabbed him in the back.
I’m sorry, but that ain’t fucking happening. Ain’t no fucking way.
The timeline of this is super important – the PMO found out about this on March 3rd, asked CSIS for a transcript, and then went back to the Globe and said they found nothing actionable. The Globe, being unable to get the transcript, declines to publish, and then Global publishes without the transcript. Basically, Global published the story with the same level of sourcing that the Globe declined to run it with, except that’s not quite true.
Nowhere in Global’s story does the fact that the PMO reviewed the transcript and found nothing actionable appear. A statement from the PMO does appear – a version of the same one given to the Globe that Fife quotes in, saying in effect the PMO didn’t know about this until media questions were raised and that Dong was never a backchannel.
What the Globe reported, but Global didn’t, is the last bit – the senior government source saying the PMO reviewed the transcript and found nothing actionable. Why didn’t Global report that? Did they ask if the PM/the PMO had reviewed any transcripts and the Liberals not tell them? Did the Liberals tell them the same thing they told Fife, that there was nothing actionable? Or did Global not bother asking a fairly basic question?
Does Global know whether or not the wiretap – or, sorry, what we’re assuming is a wiretap since Global didn’t actually tell us whether it was a phone call or an in person meeting – was originated to spy on the Chinese consular general or Han Dong? If they do, why didn’t they report it? It’s clear their disregard for state secrets or for compromising security information knows no bounds, so why is there ambiguity?
If they don’t know, why would they run a story with so many clear and obvious follow up questions unanswered? What happened, for instance, when the story was briefed up to CSIS headquarters in 2021, as Global said? Why did Global run a story whose supposed logic – that Dong claimed releasing the Two Michaels would help the Conservatives – has been contradicted by everyone from reporters covering the 2021 campaign to fucking Dimitri Soudas, who is not exactly favourable to or a fan of Justin Trudeau?
Why did the RCMP do nothing with this information if this was a serious issue – if the security services had evidence of an MP conspiring to keep Canadians in a hostile foreign prison, why is he a free man? And more importantly, did anyone at Global stop to think about this for more than two seconds at any step of this process?
What Global has alleged requires a mass conspiracy of the PMO, CSIS, and the RCMP to hold up. It requires this transcript – which, again, Global hasn’t seen – to implicate Dong and for everyone to have collectively shrugged. It requires the Liberals to have so much hubris – a trait they’re in good supply of, but not this much, I’d say – that they have Bob Fife calling them, find out he’s correct, and to bald face lie about it. Oh, and to do so to protect an MP who betrayed you.
The Liberals might be arrogant bastards who take too long to get to the answer that everyone’s known they’ll get to this whole time, but they’re not this arrogant to think that Bob Fife would just let them off the hook because they said so. No way.
The people with the most information right now are the PMO, which is why they’re calm. We know what rattled Trudeau looks like – it looks like the guy who got baited into saying that Jody’s spot in cabinet “[spoke] for itself”, not the guy who batted away the question at the bilateral presser yesterday.
The answer to all of this is actually quite simple – Bob Fife would have run this story is there was actually something there. Fife had more information than Cooper – the fact that the PMO reviewed the transcript and said there was nothing actionable – and the Globe didn’t run it. The people with the least information ran it, and are now trying to convince us that the clear and obvious gaps in their reporting aren’t there. It’s obvious what this is, but polite company doesn’t say it. Given Coop’s finally blocked me, I will.
Sam Cooper has decided that he knows the answer, which is a grand conspiracy of Chinese money and influence causing broad amounts of the Canadian government and the broader political system to be, in effect, compromised. He knows the answer, and so, in wanting to be the first to break what would be this political generation’s AdScam, has cut corners and abandoned good journalistic practice in the name of news.
Nobody in their right minds should have run this story on this lazy a pretext or with this weak of sources. Nobody in their right minds should have run a story whose basic logic is so fundamentally flawed. But more importantly, if your conspiracy depends on Justin Trudeau defending and protecting a man who (in your version of events) he just found out betrayed him, find a better fucking story, because this has one hell of a tragic flaw to it.