Expect some Trudeaumania tonight in East Vancouver as Tamara Taggart gets nominated as a Liberal candidate

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      Federal Liberals from across the Lower Mainland will converge on a community centre in East Vancouver tonight to see two high-wattage celebrities on-stage together.

      Justin Trudeau is in town for the nomination of former CTV News at Six anchor Tamara Taggart as the Liberal candidate in Vancouver Kingsway.

      Whenever Trudeau makes a public appearance in Vancouver, the Liberal faithful go a little ga-ga. So there will likely be some old-fashioned Trudeaumania tonight if enough of his young Liberal acolytes show up to give the event a rock-concert vibe.

      The Liberals held this seat from 1997 to 2006, first with Sophia Leung and later with David Emerson, who crossed the floor to join Stephen Harper's Conservative cabinet.

      Since 2008, the NDP's Don Davies has held the seat, cruising to victory in three straight elections.

      But he's never faced an opponent with as much fame as Taggart, a cancer survivor, Order of B.C. recipient, and long-time advocate for children with Down syndrome.

      In an interview last year with the Straight, Taggart said that she cares about the environment, gender equity, livability, and affordability.

      But her nomination comes as Trudeau still finds himself mired in news stories about Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin—six weeks after the story broke in the Globe and Mail.

      There was an outbreak of Trudeaumania in Nelson Park this summer when the prime minister met with supporters before the Vancouver Pride parade.
      Charlie Smith

      Media won't let SNC-Lavalin story rest

      On February 7, the paper revealed that Trudeau's staff pressured Vancouver Granville Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould—when she was justice minister and attorney general—about granting a deferred prosecution agreement to the engineering and construction-services giant.

      These entreaties continued even after SNC-Lavalin had launched legal action against the director of public prosecutions' decision not to grant a DPA on bribery charges.

      More recently, Wilson-Raybould and former treasury board president Jane Philpott quit the cabinet, with Philpott specifically citing the government's handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair in her resignation letter.

      Things came to a head last week when Finance Minister Bill Morneau tried to deliver his budget in Parliament.

      Conservative MPs drowned him out with cries of "let her speak" and "cover-up". This was in reference to Trudeau refusing to grant Wilson-Raybould a waiver from cabinet confidentiality to reveal what occurred after she lost the justice portfolio and was serving as minister of veterans affairs.

      Liberal MPs have claimed that Wilson-Raybould and Philpott have parliamentary privilege and can issue statements in the house.

      This is regardless of oaths they've taken to uphold cabinet confidentiality or, in the case of Wilson-Raybould, to maintain her professional obligation to respect solicitor-client privilege with respect to legal advice she's provided the government.

      But not everyone agrees with that analysis.

      Writing on this site, Martyn Brown suggested that Wilson-Raybould could be disbarred for doing this.

      "It would also fly in the face of the advice rendered years ago by the Senate committee that explored that question during the Pearson Airport fiasco," Brown noted. "Tread softly and very carefully it said, whenever relying upon parliamentary privilege to trump cabinet confidence or solicitor-client privilege. Preferably upon the considered requests of parliamentary committees."

      Trudeau has characterized the debate over SNC-Lavalin as a "pretty serious difference of opinion".

      And because this story never ends, don't be surprised if reporters bring it up again if Trudeau decides to answer questions from the media at the Taggart nomination.