Don Martin: Liberal budget was dead on arrival in wake of Delhi debacle
Published Thursday, March 1, 2018 5:54PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 1, 2018 6:06PM EST
The day after a federal budget is usually filled with gloating by government MPs flushed with voter goodies galore.
This week’s budget was particularly bulletproof from opposition attack, being an NDP budget with a warm and fuzzy gender theme even the Conservatives had trouble trashing lest they appear anti-women.
But to scan the Liberal lapdogs behind the prime minister was to see MPs glumly surveying their tormentors across the aisle, knowing their budget was dead on arrival as a political relations exercise.
Camera sweeps of Opposition benches revealed grinning critics hot on the blood trail of a Justin Trudeau hemorrhaging credibility.
All it took to turn off the budget glow was Trudeau answering his very first question on the New Delhi debacle.
He scrambled two theories about how the now-infamous would-be assassin of an Indian cabinet minister came to be on Canada’s official guest list at a New Delhi reception.
He defiantly clung to his national security adviser’s implication of India forces behind the plot. And Trudeau angrily drove the bus over one of his own MPs as the politically brainless agent who had extended the invite.
These compatible inexplicable excuses unleashed a rare display of oratorical fire in Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
And things only got better when a Conservative MP and former cop rose to describe the horror of Jaspal Atwal’s murder attempt as a first responder on the scene.
You can’t buy that caliber of political ammunition, particularly with India joining the backlash with a stern objection to Trudeau’s comments.
Blessed with a two-week break from the Commons, Trudeau will undoubtedly recover in the rapture of adoring crowds.
But some of this goo will stick, tarnishing his rock star image as a leader not ready to play in the international sandbox.
The Opposition is already reloading their guns, aiming to keep shooting when the House returns.
For example, they’ve filed an official demand for the cost to taxpayers for all those traditional outfits the Trudeau family was sporting during their India tour.
Now because the Trudeau communications army seems to have trouble unleashing basic damage control, some free advice.
If there is a budget which covers dressing the prime minister, his wife and kids in so much local attire as to offend the hosts, ignore it.
Unless Trudeau wants to continue reigniting the Delhi debacle, the only acceptable answer to that question is zero dollars.
That’s the Last Word.