Justin Trudeau gaffe disappoints most of all

Warren Kinsella

By Warren Kinsella, Special to QMI Agency

Justin Trudeau. (Chris Wattie/REUTERS)

Justin Trudeau. (Chris Wattie/REUTERS)

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Leaders say dumb things. But do their Taliban-esque followers always have to cheer every idiocy? Apparently.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper insisted in June that his former chief of staff “acted alone” in giving $90,000 to Sen. Mike Duffy for improper expenses. What happened was “not communicated to me or to members of my office.”

Then, last month, Harper abruptly admitted a “few people” in PMO were aware. When asked about the reversal, Harper deferred to his parliamentary secretary, MP Paul Calandra, who said: “The prime minister has answered these questions very clearly.”

Um, no.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair gets offered an envelope full of cash in 1994. In 2011,Mulcair finally gets around to telling police about the declined bribe. Asked about the resulting mess, NDP MP Charlie Angus said: “Our leader had nothing to do with secret cash payments.”

Um, no.

And then, of course, there was last week. Justin Trudeau held a puerile fundraiser in Toronto — one that looked like it had been conceived by Barbie, as one commentator put it, with the assistance of Teen Beat — and, when there, he said he admired the “basic dictatorship” that rules China.

Not the Chinese people, or even China’s culture. The Chinese “dictatorship.”

Asked later about the event, organizer Amanda Alvaro said it was “an impressive night of engagement.”

Um, no.

Got all that? The NDP leader gets offered a bribe, says nothing about it for almost two decades — and his clique defend him without hesitation.

The Conservative leader does a whiplash-inducing about-face on the biggest scandal his government has faced — and his acolytes support him without qualification.

The Liberal leader disappoints by seemingly saying at a fundraiser that he admires one of one of the world’s worst dictatorships — and his followers call the event “impressive.”

As someone with Liberal inclinations, that last one disappointed the most. Amnesty International, which Trudeau cannot dismiss as a branch of Sun News, has said “serious human rights violations” continue to happen in China, including “torture, execution, excessive use of force in public order policing, repression of dissent and forced repatriation of asylum seekers without recourse to a refugee determination procedure.”

And yet Justin Trudeau, the guy I (still) want to see elected prime minister one day, says he admires that “basic dictatorship.” The action was bad enough.

But the reaction of his fan club made it worse.

Some Liberals (and some New Democrats) have adopted the worst tendency of the Harper era: Never apologize, never admit a mistake, and attack every critic. Even when they know the critics are right.

Case in point: My partner Lisa Kirbie goes on Sun News weekly to defend all things Liberal. On the single occasion she voices concern — before and after Trudeau’s “basic dictatorship” gaffe — she is derided by other Liberals.

A repellant former Michael Ignatieff speechwriter said critics are “NDP shills.”

Another Liberal warned Kirbie that she needed to get “on board” because “ (Trudeau’s) the leader.” And so on.

Here’s a tip, Liberals and New Democrats: Canadians know that our leaders aren’t perfect. When you pretend they are, you turn voters off, in droves.

And, by the by, it’s another reason why fewer and fewer Canadians vote because all the parties look pretty bad, these days.

From top to bottom.

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