Martyn Brown: Booting Puglaas and Philpott out of the Liberal caucus is batshit crazy

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      Websters defines “ludicrous” as “meriting derisive laughter or scorn as absurdly inept, false, or foolish”.

      Liberal-ludicrous” goes one step further in meriting laughter and scorn as absurdly inept, false, and foolish—all at the same time, as a group of adjectives that are all equally integral to its enterprise.

      Nothing demonstrates Liberal-ludicrous better than Justin Trudeau’s provocation, escalation, and justification of his SNC-Lavalin scandal.

      It will forever stand as the ultimate testament to the more vulgar phrase that best describes his party’s collective conduct in that matter.

      Namely, “batshit crazy.”

      The etymology of that term is unclear. More about that in a bit.

      What is clear is that Trudeau seems determined to make his party the ultimate poster child for both descriptors by booting Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott out of the Liberal caucus at its meeting on Wednesday (April 3).  

      I have seen a number of elected members kicked out of caucus in my time. Usually for acts of wrongdoing.

      But never have I witnessed someone turfed from their own party for doing the right thing and for refusing to do something patently wrong.

      This might be a first in the Commonwealth: two MPs being ejected from a governing party caucus for refusing to do or support activities that might even turn out to be criminal in their inappropriate application and/or means of execution.

      Turfing Canada’s first Indigenous attorney general from her office—she believes, for defending the tenet of prosecutorial independence from the prime minister’s relentless assaults—was nuts enough.

      But forcing Puglaas and Philpott (P&P) to leave the Liberal caucus suggests a whole new level of batshit crazy. 

      One designed to give LavScam that “extra push over the cliff” by raising its volume to “11”, as it were—just like Nigel Tufnel’s amp in Spinal Tap.

      Nigel Tufnel explains why his amp goes up to 11.

      For weeks now, the lead advocate of that “retributive justice” for the sake of Liberal “unity” has been the loopy Sheila Copps, who has been pushing for that punishment on Twitter. 

      Her addled advice ascended to new feverish heights in the wake of JWR’s damning new evidence and recording, as the Hill Times reported. Multiple Liberals have piled on.

      Punish the “truth teller” and her “bestie”, Jane Philpott, for having the temerity to put the Liberals’ avowed principles ahead of the prime minister’s pressure to show both women “who’s boss”.

      It’s all too reminiscent of that lyric from the disgusting old Arthur Godrey nugget, “Slap ‘er down, agin, paw”.

      “We don't want our neighbors talkin' 'bout our kin—slap her down again, pa”. 

      Only in the sorry LavScam song, the two women that the Liberal “family” is urging its patriarchal patron to punish are the only truly virtuous ones because of how they have stayed true to oaths.

      Because of how they have refused to go silently into the night about all the dirty deeds that have gone on behind closed doors in the PMO, including the rough justice meted out on JWR at Trudeau’s hand.

      It’s rather ironic that the person now leading the charge to put P&P in their place is Copps. Not so long ago, she of “I’m nobody’s baby fame” put then justice minister and attorney general, Conservative MP John Crosbie, in his place for trying to make her clam up.

      Video: Sheila Copps declares that she's nobody's baby.

      What we are witnessing, Canada, is the very definition of taking Liberal-ludicrous to batshit crazy.

      Kick your party’s most beloved women and its leading champion for reconciliation once again in the teeth, with new malignant intent that no one could misinterpret.

      Do that, moreover, on the eve of a crucial by-election in Nanaimo-Ladysmith where the NDP is fielding the vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, Chief Bob Chamberlin, as its candidate.

      Do it only a few days after 500 supporters turned up at a feast in the KwinWatsi Big House to honour and celebrate the courage and conviction demonstrated by Puglaas.

      Who has only shown all Canadians why she is so worthy of her Indigenous name, as a woman of noble heritage and a truth-teller by nature, who is now suddenly despised by those who want to banish her from their den of liars.

      Do it only a week after the prime minister was forced to apologize for mocking members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation.

      Whose members are suffering from mercury poisoning and whose repeated protests over the years have mostly fallen on deaf ears. 

      Only batshit-crazy Liberals would think that that will advance the cause of reconciliation, which the prime minister has proved over and over again is just so much lip service in his broader b.s. game of identity politics.

      Only they would think that the way to reverse their party’s flagging fortunes with women voters is to show Dr. Philpott and JWR the back of their hand for refusing to be cowed by the one man who really deserves to be shown the door.

      Then again, absolutely nothing about how the Liberals have responded to this scandal so far has made the slightest sense.

      Their ludicrous efforts to shut down the never-ending story they have perpetuated in the process only betray their unbridled penchant for self-flagellation.

      It all seems like so much self-inflicted pain for pain’s sake.

      Only those Liberals who are so blinded by the suffering they have invited would want to vilify the two individuals who most Canadians now view as the heroines in a Shakespearean drama that is also a national tragedy in its own right.

      A tragedy of seriously damaging consequence to the rule of law. As well as to public confidence in Canada’s highest elected official and his office.

      A bizarre tragedy born of partisan concerns that surely now makes many Canadians wonder: what spell or special power in God’s name might SNC-Lavalin have over the prime minister that made him so completely lose his marbles?

      Not that I am suggesting there is anything nefarious in that respect, which I certainly don’t mean to imply.

      I am just baffled by what is so special about that one company and/or its people that would drive Trudeau to throw all caution to the wind as he did.

      I am at a loss to divine what could possibly motivate his appalling effort to land that firm a special deal to avoid a trial for bribery and corruption. To so recklessly lean on his AG to intervene in a criminal prosecution, in a way that had never been done before.

      I simply can’t fathom why he would go out on such a legally brittle and politically precarious limb for SNC-Lavalin.

      Why would he so pressure his top legal adviser into overruling the independent director of public prosecutions and offering that company a deferred prosecution agreement, which both of them had deemed inappropriate?

      What would cause Trudeau to go as far as he did to bend his attorney general to his will?

      To risk a scandal of the type and magnitude that she repeatedly tried to prevent and warned against, all for naught?

      I can’t imagine that it was any concern about the loss of future political donations from that company, which had illegally contributed over $100,000 to the Liberals.

      After all, that particular self-described Canadian “Crown jewel” has cleaned up its act under its new management. 

      It evidently holds no financial sway whatsoever over Trudeau or his party, as it might have had in that dark era of yesteryear, back when it allegedly used cash in inappropriate and potentially criminal ways to advance its corporate interests.

      What would so consume Trudeau with such irrational intent as to ignore JWR’s pleas and warnings to just stop his political interference—if only for his own sake?

      That is, apart from the fear of losing votes in his own riding and also losing seats in Quebec.

      Were the threats of Canadian job losses and its head office closure ever as real as he might have imagined and has repeatedly suggested?

      Certainly not, according to the company’s president and CEO.

      Neil Bruce flatly denies that he and his agents ever said or did anything to put those false threats in the prime minister’s perfectly quaffed head, and I believe him.

      Was Trudeau so smitten by the arguments advanced by SNC lobbyists that he was afraid to let justice takes its own independently administered course?

      Or is there yet more to this story than meets the eye that we may yet learn from the ethics commissioner, from perhaps the RCMP, or from new evidence offered by P&P in Parliament? In the event they get the boot and decide to do even more to “put up” rather than “shut up”. 

      What more than we have been so far told about SNC-Lavalin’s situation did the prime minister find so compelling that he felt obliged to personally intervene in that company’s criminal prosecution? When every rational and ethical fiber in him should have screamed, “CRA-ZY. Don’t do it!”

      Raw charm, perhaps?

      The magnetic presence of Neil Bruce? Or the irresistible allures of the multiple overtures made by him or his agents and/or legal representatives?

      Do tell. I mean, to make sense of the insane.

      Because it is the absence of rationality that defies comprehension as it also serves to breed suspicions.

      It raises so many doubts and suspicions about personal connections and political ties that might go a long way toward explaining the incomprehensible pressure exerted on JWR by all the prime minister’s men. 

      All to obtain a benefit for SNC-Lavalin that Neil Bruce swears he never requested as being warranted on economic grounds—that outlawed “national economic interest” rationale for granting a DPA—which Trudeau’s apologists tried so hard to reframe as a “public interest” argument. 

      We may never know. But Liberal-ludicrous loves to keep us guessing.

      He's not waving goodbye to Canadians—at least not yet!

      Now the Liberal caucus seems poised to amp its own crazy up a notch by casting into exile the ones who blew the whistle on Trudeau’s recondite reasoning and calamitous conduct into exile.

      They stand to do that for a leader who most Canadians now disapprove of, largely because of how he has bullied and shot the messengers for their efforts to speak truth to his power.

      Which brings me back to the etymology of “batshit crazy.”

      Urban Dictionary explains it this way:

      “A person who is batshit crazy is certifiably nuts. The phrase has origins in the old-fashioned term 'bats in the belfry'. Old churches had a structure at the top called a belfry, which housed the bells. Bats are extremely sensitive to sound and would never inhabit a belfry of an active church where the bell was rung frequently. Occasionally, when a church was abandoned and many years passed without the bell being rung, bats would eventually come and inhabit the belfry.

      “So, when somebody said that an individual had 'bats in the belfry' it meant that there was 'nothing going on upstairs' (as in that person's brain). To be BATSHIT CRAZY is to take this even a step further. A person who is batshit crazy is so nuts that not only is their belfry full of bats, but so many bats have been there for so long that the belfry is coated in batshit. Hence, the craziest of crazy people are BATSHIT CRAZY.”

      Idiot Idioms offers another historic source for the term.

      It relates to a guy from the late 19th century who tried to get attention for his previously successful company by spreading rumours that it actually bottled bat feces and sold it as face cream.

      Its owner, Kip Billington, “devised a Barnumesque stunt in which, under the pseudonym of a fake public health organization—False Advertising of Cosmetics Initiative Against Lying (FACIAL)—he would reveal to the press that his skin cream contained large amounts of bat shit, obtained dirt cheap from the underside of a bridge in Texas, and that for 20 years he’d been falsely advertising this product, concealing its main ingredient, and that his valued customers had indeed, for years, been liberally massaging bat poop into their skin pores.

      “Then, at the opportune moment, at the height of scandal, when the very presses that printed the bold type faced letters of his name were burning with scorn, he would reveal the hoax, that he himself had fabricated FACIAL, had slandered himself and damaged his own public image for the express purpose of igniting the crucible of public opinion against the entire skin cream industry, thus purifying it of all lies and falsities of advertising. He did it in the name of Truth and Honesty.”

      Turned out, he actually did put the substance in his product and people were aghast.

      His “batshit crazy” hoax predictably backfired. “The public deemed Billington an idiot, a monster, and everyone agreed that he should ‘die in burning hell’ for what he did.”

      I am still waiting for Trudeau to tell us this whole LavScam thing was all his twisted idea of a hoax gone wrong.

      I am waiting for him to tell us that he only so politically slandered himself and his party to ignite the crucible of public opinion against all politicians.

      That he did it to purify Canadian politics of all lies and falsities of advertising by leaders who purport to be the ethical breath of fresh air that in their hearts they know they are not.

      At least that would make some sense. For he has done a great job of convincing all voters not to trust him or any sitting Liberal not named Puglaas or Philpott ever again.

      Urban Dictionary or Idiot Idioms?

      You decide which account of the term is most plausible.

      After Wednesday’s caucus meeting, if things go as they now appear to be headed, there will be a picture of its remaining members beside the urban slang definition of both “Liberal-ludicrous” and “batshit crazy”.

      Well done, prime minister, well done. At last you stand for something.

      Martyn Brown was former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell’s long-serving chief of staff, the top strategic adviser to three provincial party leaders, and a former deputy minister of tourism, trade, and investment. He also served as the B.C. Liberals' public campaign director in 2001, 2005, and 2009, and in addition to his other extensive campaign experience, he was the principal author of four election platforms. Contact him via email at