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Don Martin: The Trudeau tipping point is within sight

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The Trudeau tipping point is within sight.

The moment when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knows he has to quit for the good of the party or the Liberals realize they can’t survive re-election with him at the helm is almost upon us.

The raging China saga has topped an annus horribilis year, which is not yet two months old, for a prime minister who now spends many days huddled in private meetings or touring the country to attend Liberal fundraisers while using ribbon-cuttings to disguise the travel tab as official government business.

The latest shrugged-off response from the prime minister’s office to growing demands for an inquiry into allegations China attempted electoral interference to help the Liberals secure another mandate is starting to look a lot like wilful blindness for partisan gain.

And Trudeau’s attempt at detonating a distraction from the ongoing controversy is transparently pathetic.

'A TITANIC-LEVEL LEAKY SHIP'

Picture this: minutes before a Monday news conference the prime minister banished the popular TikTok app from government devices due to a security risk from China, this at the precise moment when demands for him to call an inquiry into Chinese manipulations of our electoral system reached a crescendo.

It would thus appear Trudeau sees a greater security threat in an app of limited deployment on government devices than five-alarm warnings of election manipulation from inside a spy agency so frustrated by his inaction that it’s become a Titanic-level leaky ship.

The optics and the substance of China’s meddling are atrocious: an anti-democratic foreign power engages in dirty or illegal tactics to help the Liberals secure another mandate; one Liberal MP allegedly has Beijing loyalties, according to Global; and now the Globe and Mail reports China authorized a $1-million donation to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation to, among other things, erect a statue of the elder Trudeau. And, get this, the person Trudeau tagged to study the effectiveness of a panel monitoring the 2021 election for foreign threats ran that foundation.

You seriously can’t make up such a tangled web of incriminating evidence and yet Trudeau goes gunning for TikTok without producing any national security evidence that a dancing-kids app is being mined by its China developers for nefarious purposes.

Here’s a helpful hint Trudeau is taking great pains to ignore: When former spy agency leaders, the opposition parties and even friend and former top adviser Gerry Butts unite to urge some sort of probe into Chinese electoral interference, it’s either time to surrender to the notion or explain in much greater detail why it’s such a bad idea.

'THE DEAD CANARY DEMANDING A BETTER COAL MINE'

The dirty tricks outlined in Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) documents are not, as Trudeau alleges, a plot to shake Canadian confidence in our electoral system. They’re the dead canary demanding a better coal mine.

Add all this incendiary fuel to a bonfire of controversies in the last few months - be it his lousy choice of an anti-Islamophobia representative; the continuing asylum-seeker invasion at Roxham Road; ethical lapses by cabinet ministers Mary Ng and Ahmed Hussen; the McKinsey consulting mess; delays in the flawed medical assistance in dying and firearms control bills and the still-irritating passport office and airport snafus – and you’ve got to wonder how long this Liberal trainwreck can stay on track with NDP in the caboose.

Trudeau can’t continue to defer the China revelations to a parliamentary committee examining the issue.

MPs on those committees never set out to get the truth in those partisan clashes. Their aim is to shape the narrative to fit their party’s position by badgering witnesses along ridiculous lines of questioning, which may or may not have anything to do with the issue under examination.

An independent clearing of the air is essential, be it a public inquiry or a probe by a respected Canadian given access to secret documents and CSIS insiders to determine the extent, effectiveness and electoral implications of any China-driven meddling in key ridings.

If Trudeau keeps stonewalling an inquiry, desperately deploying bogus distractions, or giving grin-laced non-answers to pointed questions, he’ll soon reach the tipping point where the only tick tock he should worry about is the clock counting down his time left as prime minister.

That’s the bottom line.

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