One of the greatest spin doctors of all time was Michael Deaver, who worked for former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
Deaver believed that whenever there was a good-news story, the "general"—i.e. the president—should be put in front of the media to talk about it.
But if there was anything negative, then the messenger should be one of the "lieutenants"—i.e. cabinet secretaries.
There was a simple reason for that.
It's far easier to replace a lieutenant than a general, so the general, i.e. Reagan, needed to be protected at all costs.
The Trudeau government is employing a similar strategy in the wake of a devastating decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to quash the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.
This came shortly before a $4.5-billion deal closed for the feds to buy the pipeline system from Kinder Morgan.
Now, the Trudeau government says it's going to proceed with a $9.3-billion expansion. This is supposedly happening even though the court has said that the regulatory review was so flawed that it shouldn't have even been put before the federal cabinet.
The decision might not even be appealable because it was unanimous and there were two strong grounds underlying the rejection of the project.
So what has Trudeau done?
He's essentially gone into hiding and sent out surrogates to explain his government's position.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been all over the news. He also appeared on CBC Radio's flagship current-affairs show, The Current, for a lengthy interview.
Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray had to mount the Liberal defence on the local CBC Radio morning current-affairs show, The Early Edition.
Trudeau will give the media sound bites about the NAFTA talks. His favourite line is that "no deal is better than a bad deal".
But when it comes to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, nada.
Michael Deaver would be impressed.