The latest twist in the saga of Chinese communist subversion of Canadian democracy has seen Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turn into Sgt. Schultz from “Hogan’s Heroes,” the dopey clod who knew and saw nothing.
Confronted by a reporter at the Francophonie Summit in Tunisia, he intoned “I do not have any information, nor have I been briefed on any federal candidates receiving any money from China.” Which, if taken seriously, requires us to believe that in the weeks since the story broke, he hasn’t bothered inquiring, that he’s not even slightly curious.
His statement was so similar in English and French as to be clearly scripted. And you can see Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly relax when he finishes delivering his lines. But nobody else should, because if his statement is not a deliberate, guilty lie we are obliged to accept a number of horrifying propositions, alone or in combination.
First, Canada’s security agencies have no knowledge of Chinese government meddling in our elections, or did not tell our prime minister, or did but he forgot.
Second, in his famous confrontation with Xi Jinping about the matter, he was relying on media reports he had not investigated. Or even read, since he claimed he did “not have any information” rather than “any official information.”
Third, he still hasn’t checked.
It gets worse. Before insisting he knew nothing, nothing, he bloviated: “Our government has always taken very seriously the responsibility of protecting Canadians, working with the security agencies to do everything we can to keep Canadians and their institutions safe against foreign interference.” Which is just the usual soporific fog. But then he continued immediately “I have asked my officials to examine these media reports and give all possible answers, everything they can, to the parliamentary committee that’s looking into this.”
So fourth, we are meant to accept that, confronted with these scary press reports, his immediate adamant demand was not that they give him all possible answers. It was to holler get to the bottom of this and tell those legislators over there but never mind me, busy taking very seriously the responsibility for protecting Canadians, working with the security agencies who I instruct not, even now, to tell me of this massive security threat.
That boast of impenetrable incurious ignorance alone, whether true or false, renders the man unfit for office. If true, it means he culpably still hasn’t checked into the matter. And if false, he’s lying about something incriminating.
To be fair, our Emergencies Act inquiry’s glimpse into official Ottawa intelligence gathering, distribution, and analysis makes it possible the security agencies actually knew nothing. But if so, the news stories were pure, baffling invention.
It is much more plausible that they offered him a briefing he rejected. (As Whittaker Chambers’ memoir “Witness” testifies President Roosevelt did over Stalinist subversion in the late 1930s.) Or that they did brief him, and he was so bored he forgot. Or he’s just plain lying now. But all are horribly unsatisfactory.
The reporter’s actual question was, “What’s preventing your government from getting more information on who these 11 people are?” Which shows again the sloppiness of using “government” to mean “cabinet” because almost certainly our “government,” whose executive branch includes the security agencies, already has this information. So the only thing keeping Trudeau from getting more information is that, he claims, he deliberately didn’t ask. Which, again, is equally intolerable whether it’s true or false.
It might be slick false. Trudeau’s phrasing, in both languages, was suspiciously specific about information about any federal candidates receiving money from China. He did not mention anyone else, including provincial candidates or federal backroom operatives, receiving money, or federal candidates receiving other things.
It looks a bit like “plausible deniability” whose apparent disavowal of all knowledge, if parsed carefully, says no such thing. And an explicit or tacit “You Canadians don’t need to see that information” is a typical official response, if outrageously inadequate on this file. But it doesn’t really matter because “I know nothing” is such a pathetic cover story that the mere fact that he thought it satisfactory, especially on security, should have us in paroxysms of alarm about his attitude.
Official Ottawa is as careless about PR as about intelligence. And why not, since they generally get away with feeble explanations? But what they’re trying to sell us now is that the prime minister is not just totally ignorant of a foreign subversion campaign, he’s so uninterested that even after the story broke he didn’t ask to be informed.
Whether we believe it or not, this cover story is carefully concocted to make him look ignorant and irresponsible. And if we’re led by someone whose attitude toward security is that fatuous, we should definitely take it seriously. Someone has to.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.