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Bruce Dowbiggin

You Had An Option, Canada. And You Settled For This?


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John Turner: “I had no option.”

Brian Mulroney: ”You had an option, sir, to say ‘no’ and you chose to say ‘yes’ to the old attitudes and the old stories of the Liberal party.” Federal Leaders Debate 1984

It is Weasel Time in the urban salons of the 416/ 514/ 613/ 604. With the growing realization that everyone outside Canada—and more specifically Eastern Canada— sees Justin Trudeau as a punch line the guilty who repeatedly voted for him are suddenly trying to cover their tracks.

“I didn’t want to vote for him,” they explain. “But I had no option.”

Let’s pause to consider that. Since he was elected in 2015 which Justin Trudeau did you miss? RCMP Obstructor? Captain Blackface? The Kielburger Kid? Ethics Offender? Be My Teddy Bear? “She Perceived It Differently”? Mr. Dressup? The Chinese Vaccine Swindler? Race Baiter? Cucumber Pants? Bollywood Justin? The Wizard of Winnipeg Labs? I’ve Got Your Credit Rating?

Now let’s consider CPC leader Erin O’Toole. Okay, there wasn’t a lot there. But there wasn’t a moral deficiency a mile wide that embarrassed the nation as when Skippy goes swanning about the G7 or G20.

The ethics commissioner wasn’t repeatedly finding him guilty for taking free stuff. His policies could charitably called Liberal Lite. He was trying hard to make the 416/ 514/ 613 like him by abandoning conservative policies. The worst thing his enemies could throw at O’Toole was his wife serving him a beer after he had a jog.

So please, Trudeau deniers, you had an option. Don’t put the blame for prolonging this long national embarrassment on anyone but yourself. And the NDP.

But if you still need a reason to think JTPM is the worst prime minister of the post-war era— perhaps ever— consider his execrable performance during the Truckers Convoy. Convinced only Nazis could disagree with his godlike status, Trudeau— and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland— insisted that the only way the convoy could have quickly raised nearly $10 million on two crowdfunding platforms was if nefarious foreign actors were funding the protest.

Taking their leader’s cue, clueless Liberal jackanapes promoted the same libel of foreign funding interference in the debate over emergency measures. Adding to the chorus were the PM’s poodles at CBC who doubled down on the myth of foreign interference, reporting that thousands of suspicious donations came from foreigners. The CBC lap dogs added, “The donations identified by CBC News are likely only a fraction of all the donations made by people outside of Canada.” (CBC has now withdrawn the story.)

Trudeau used the scare to justify freezing the finances of people he disagreed with, jeopardizing their livelihoods and threatening them with criminal charges. “If you’ve joined the protest because you’re tired of COVID, you now need to understand you are breaking laws,” he said, conflating mischief with treason. “The consequences are becoming more and more severe”.

In a move criticized by many Western democracies Trudeau suspended Canada’s cherished traditions of free speech and dissent to silence his blue-collar critics. And invented a coup by people who had no weapons, never interrupted the running of government, never kidnapped a politician and never even darkened the door of the House of Commons. But honked horns a lot.

It was all bullshit, as we learned last week with the visit to Parliament by FINTRAC official Barry MacKillop. McKillop said there was not a hint of foreign threat to Canada’s democracy in the donations.  “It was their own money. It wasn’t cash that funded terrorism or was in any way money laundering,” he told a Parliamentary committee. “I believe they just wanted to support the cause.”

This supported an earlier report from the funding platforms that also contradicted the PM’s paranoid ranting. The truckers weren’t feeding at the trough of outside actors. They were just “fed up”. But Skippy attacked them with all the weapons in a PM’s arsenal. According to Department of Finance officials, as little as $20 in donations was enough to trigger a bank account freeze and an investigation under the act.”

So, to recap for our friends who thought there was no better option than Trudeau. The PM hid from protesters, slandered them as Nazis and women haters. When that didn’t work he fabricated a story that evil outsiders were helping the people in the Bouncy Castles to mount a coup against his government. Using CBC (and other accommodating media) he created a national panic to suspend civil liberties in Canada. One hapless Corp bingo caller suggested they were Putin stooges.

When the enormity of this disgrace emerged, Trudeau fired up the public-owned jet, took his deputy PM, foreign affairs minister and a battery of cameras with him for a Cook’s Tour of war-torn Ukraine. The only danger he faced was overexposure as he lined up photo ops with embarrassed soldiers and politicians.

Trudeau took his glazed smile and stuck it into the lens so Canadians could see him rally NATO for Ukraine. Well, rally is a little strong. Trudeau is a go-cart while the other G-& leaders are F1 cars. The only person Trudeau rallied was his pilot.

The closest he or his coterie got to real fire was from a lonely CBC reporter who was under the impression his job was to ask questions to which Canadians wanted answers. Finance minister Freeland, grand-daughter of a Ukrainian Nazi sympathizer (she also bossed the financial freeze of the truckers and their donors), harrumphed, “No one is asking why we are here!” Oh yes there are, replied the intrepid reporter.

Reminded that U.S. president Joe Biden was running America’s Ukraine effort from the White House while they were ignoring Canada’s soaring gas prices and inflation numbers, minister Joly said the plebes could never understand the intricate minds of luminaries such as her. Later Joly showed her grasp on Canada’ history: “ “Canada is not a nuclear power, it is not a military power, we’re a middle-size power”. Canada is “good at convening” she said. When tone deafness is an Olympic sport this crew will win the gold medal hands-down.

So when you hear the GTA chorus retreating from its Liberal crush, remember, “You had an option” last fall. Just ask the late John Turner.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster ( The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

The Cooler: Harper Attempts To Pacify CPC Over Poilievre

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As demons go, Stephen Harper always left something to be desired. While the media and his political opponents painted a picture of a diabolical schemer bent of hoarding power, Harper mostly bored ordinary Canadians. For all the strenuous efforts of newsrooms and chat rooms tapping him as Trump, The Harp lacked a certain je ne sais quoi when it came to ruthless maniacs.

So the sudden re-appearance last month of Canada’s previous PM to throw his support to Pierre Poilievre in the Conservative Party leadership race took on a sinister tone with the usual suspects. Harper’s brand of lukewarm western populism was taken out for another thrashing. CBC typically quoted a Dutch political scientist Hans Mudde as saying, ”Populism presents a Manichean outlook, in which there are only friends and foes.” Etc.

In truth it is likely Harper emerged from the business of making money to bless Poilievre’s massive lead in the CPC leadership for several reasons. The most obvious is that he recognizes the inevitability of Poilievre’s win and wishes to deny the media an electoral horse race orgy till September.

But mostly it is to signify that despite the Toronto Star and CBC’s histrionic protests, Poilievre will be a populist more in Harper’s own image than that of Donald Trump. He only appears radical to the pearl clutchers of urban Toronto.

You can understand why the Family Compact is agitated by Poilievre. With their Golden Boy Justin Trudeau imploding and Poilievre talking about removing the Bank Of Canada governor and stripping CBC of funding, this threatens to get out of their control. Not even the RCMP can bail out Justin now. Harper’s benediction is meant to still that radicalism in the mind of Tory voters.

But as we wrote on May 22, 2022, Poilievre himself is unafraid to thrash about in the Trumpian waters. He’s rejecting further debates, walling himself off from the Trudeau-funded media. “Poilievre has channelled the voters’ disgust with Trudeau and the Ottawa status quo epitomized by the Trucker Convoy. That disgust includes the grandees of his own party who foisted Scheer and O’Toole on the nation .

Their 2022 candidate is the well-worn place holder Jean Charest, failed Conservative and tainted Liberal premier of Québec from 2003 to 2012. Charest’s policy chest sounds like a throwback to the days when language battles and Québec sovereignty were the burning issues. He’s pro-choice, and he knocks PP for supporting the Truckers.

In the (first) debate, Poilievre did not spare Charest. “Now, Mr. Charest learned about the trucker convoy on CBC like other Liberals… He believes I should be cancelled from this leadership race, and disqualified, his words, because I don’t share his Liberal viewpoint.”

“That is the kind of cancel culture and censorship that you would expect from Justin Trudeau, but instead we’re getting it from this liberal on this stage.” He then slammed Charest on his Quebec Liberal party’s alleged acceptance of illegal donations during his time as Québec premier. And his ties to Huawei. “The average trucker has more integrity in his pinky finger than you had in your entire scandal-plagued Liberal cabinet,”

It was red meat for frustrated Conservatives who finally see a champion in the manner of  Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a tiger who won’t back up in the face of Andrew Coyne huffing and puffing about nasty truckers. It resounds with Conservatives who refuse to accommodate themselves to a Liberal reality.

Naturally this brought out the Conservatives version of Charlie the Tuna. They want Tories with good taste, not Tories who taste good. They’re appropriating all the Donald Trump derangement beloved by Canadian pack Media. 

“Yesterday’s debate was embarrassing for our party,” said CPC leadership candidate Scott Aitchison. “The fighting, yelling and screaming. The partisan cheap shots at fellow Conservatives. We will never win another election if this is how we talk to each other and Canadians.”

Yeah. Because all the “fighting, yelling and screaming” is why Canadians refused to vote for Scheer and O’Toole. Erstwhile Ontario leader Patrick Brown, who took a powder in the debate, also played the Stop Shouting card. “After watching the debate, I can’t help but wonder: how can any of these candidates expect to unite our party and expand our Conservative coalition if they’re already adopting a scorched-earth approach?” 

Reform Party founder Preston Manning also demurred. “Stay away from the personal attacks that only poison the party well and reinforce the public’s negative perception of party politics.”

Have these people noticed that, while the CPC plays rock/paper/scissors,  the Liberals are waging drone war on them? Like Republicans— who talk tough and then support Democrats sending g $40 B in untraceable money to Ukraine— the CPC has a credibility problem.

They want to win the government. To do so they need to penetrate southern Ontario and urban areas of Montreal and the Lower Mainland B.C. The leaders of the party— prompted by the Hill press corps— insist that you can beat Trudeau by using a feather duster on him.

Poilievre— a bilingual Alberta product who represents an Ottawa riding—  dares to disagree. (He says he would fire the Bank of Canada governor if elected prime minister). He’s willing to go over the heads of the CBC chattering class and Liberals pollsters who offer unwanted advice such as: “Conservatives must ask themselves if they are falling victim to the ease of stoking and selling the politics of anger,” says pollster Tim Powers.

The outcome of a Poilievre leadership may be another schism between Reform elements and establishment Ottawa TV panel figures. But Poilievre’s attitude in the face of Trump phobia will remain much like the irascible John Diefenbaker who blew out of the West in 1957, defying the status quo, to win the PMO twice. In the face of blowback from those quivering at Liberal omnipotency Dief opined, “You can’t stand up for Canada with a banana for a backbone.”

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster ( A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft YearsIn NHL History, , his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book of by . His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best, and is available via


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Bruce Dowbiggin

See No Evil, Hear No Evil: We’ve Been Here Before

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The news from the Hockey Canada sexual scandals keeps getting uglier. Sponsors are abandoning an organization thought beyond reproach just a year ago. Politicians are roasting HC executives. The IIHF is to determine whether it should withdraw tournaments from Canada till the mess is cleaned up. And the NHL is fretting that it houses sexual assault suspects— some big stars— from as far back as 2003.

The current parliamentary hearings over the 2018 WJHC champions have made HC toxic— its women’s team is expressing disgust with the organization. that represents them. The story is hampered by the fact that nothing has been proven or even alleged by police. The process has existed in a world of non-disclosure agreements and allegations and media distortions of the facts. (We’re told there are videos of the incident yet no one in the Ottawa hearings seemed to mention them.)

Faced with the uncertainties and player refusals to cooperate Hockey Canada threw up its hands and paid off the complainant.  The public is baffled. Who are the players involved? Who is innocent? Who is guilty? What is the evidence? Why did this stay hidden? How did Hockey Canada miss so badly?

So far the picture is opaque. Can we ever believe in the sports body again? Currently hockey is being used as a metaphor by all sorts of political actors to push narratives about male privilege and social inequality. What has been consistent is the excellent reporting (again) of TSN’s Rick Westhead and Katie Strang in The Athletic. Their dogged research and courage in exposing these stories is exceptional.

What’s also consistent is the tardy response of the mainstream hockey press that is now finally coming around to this story. There are hundreds of reporters and media outlets that seem to cover everything that moves in the sport. Yet a story that implicates the names of the current Conn Smythe winner and other young NHL stars— without vindicating them— is festering.

It’s not the first time in recent memory. In June of 2021— when sexual assault allegations on the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks emerged— we asked, “Most damning is where were the dozens of hockey “insiders” in the media during this time? The people we are told have their ear to the ground on all things happening in the league? Why did it take till 2021 for Rick Westhead (TSN) and Katie Strang (The Athletic) to unearth the poorly hidden story during the NHL’s postseason semifinals. 

Isn’t this the same media that swore it would never ignore this sort of story— no matters how much it hurt friends and sponsors—  when the Graham James and Dave Frost stories emerged? Aren’t these the same networks that went wall-to-wall on the earlier stories when they surfaced, trying to make up for their negligence about sexual abuse in hockey during the past? 

Sadly, the hockey media culture is the same one we encountered in the 1990s when, along with Carl Brewer, Sue Foster and Russ Conway, we exposed the corruption between the league and NHL Players Association director Alan Eagleson on a range of subjects from player pensions to collective bargaining to Canada Cup fraud. 

That story had lain dormant for a generation despite the repeated calls by Brewer for investigations into the cozy relationship between the league and Eagleson. Media with NHL sponsorships or broadcast deals would rather have eaten glass than reported what they saw.

Thanks to the digging of Conway, Foster and CBC Toronto the truth emerged in the mid 1990s. Eagleson was convicted of fraud and NHL president John Ziegler was replaced by Gary Bettman. A familiar pattern then ensued. When the facts (about James or Frost) became too hard to deny the negligent media put on the hair shirt, condemning corruption and vowing to never allow its negligence to happen again. 

Later, they grew even tighter with the people they covered, inking enormous broadcast deals or sponsorship contracts that have drawn them ever closer to hockey power centres. 

The NHL (went) into omertà mode when asked how it countenanced the alleged behaviour of Chicago team management in ignoring a sexual predator and then giving him a letter of recommendation. Stan Bowman, the son of NHL Hall of Fame member Scotty Bowman, is not answering questions yet. But as general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey program for 2022 he will have to offer some explanations if he’s to keep the post. [he’s since been removed from both posts.]

Former Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, who was a Chicago player at the time, says, “I was not part of any meeting & I was not part of any decision & I was not aware of what was going on at the time. You can go on the record with that.” Done.

One would like to take the league and their snoozing media at their word that they will do better in covering these abuse stories in the past. Sadly, there is little reason to believe this contrition after so many false starts in the past.”

As we are seeing, the false starts continue.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster ( A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft YearsIn NHL History, , his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book of by . His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best, and is available via

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