Anti-petroleum, Justin Trudeau, Louis Riel, and First Quest for the Northwest

Feb 20th, 2015 | By | Category: In Brief

Tesla Motors electric car store at Yorkdale mall in Toronto. Is this part of the anti-petroleum movement in Canada? Will it be raided by the RCMP?

You know you are living in strange times when you read headlines like “‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say.”

Really? Our lives and property are at risk from an “anti-petroleum” movement? Is Franz Kafka working for the RCMP now? Will we soon have crimes like anti-petroleum activities? Will purchasing a Tesla qualify? The list goes on … and on …

It is enough to make you think that the historic Canadian party of principle just might be doing a good thing. As in “Tom Mulcair says NDP will oppose anti-terrorism bill C-51 … NDP leader says Conservatives are playing politics with Canada’s freedoms.”

Brackley Point, PEI ... here’s what 80 cm of snow looks like!

But then you hear “New poll finds Harper’s anti-terror bill is a political juggernaut …  More than four in five Canadians — 82 per cent — back the new legislation to expand the powers of intelligence agencies and police.” And you think, mmm …  maybe Justin Trudeau really has been smarter, with the only vaguely hedged Liberal support of the bill, for the time being.

Whatever, we here are altogether convinced that he did the right thing with his “Statement by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau on Louis Riel Day” this past Monday. The younger Mr. Trudeau was, he told us, “delighted to join with the Métis Nation, Manitobans, and Canadians across the country today to commemorate the iconic Louis Riel.”

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, November 30, 2011, not quite a year and a half before he became leader – the Louis Riel Days? Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS.

This past Monday, some may remember, was in fact a holiday known as Louis Riel Day in Manitoba. A few veteran honoured visitors to this site may even remember that we have a long failed history of urging that this holiday should be known as Louis Riel Day in all provinces and territories of the modern confederation.

See : “It should be Louis Riel Day in Ontario too” (2008) ; “Happy Louis Riel Day 2010 .. that’s what it should be called everywhere in Canada, coast to coast to coast” ; “Not everyone agrees with Happy Louis Riel Day 2011 across Canada, but“ ; “Happy Louis Riel Day 2012 .. on a Moody Manitoba Morning.”

Before leaving the subject of Justin Trudeau, we should note as well that a while back now, at one of the monthly Cross Canada Focus Group sessions, at Popper’s Bar & Grill, the excellent question of just who are the people around Justin Trudeau was raised. We editors subsequently assigned one of the office staff here to dig into this. She came up with what we think is a pretty plausible quick and dirty report, which has fallen through the programming cracks. We are now making it available to anyone who has the energy to click on “Read the rest of this page” and/or scroll below for SOME KEY PEOPLE AROUND JUSTIN TRUDEAU.

Meanwhile, all this has finally reminded us that it’s time for yet another installment of Randall White’s Children of the Global Village book project – on our Long Journey to a Canadian Republic page.

If you go to the page, on the bar at the top above (or just CLICK HERE), you will find a brief account of the project, along with the “Prologue : too much geography” – followed by links to Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 of PART I : THE DEEP CANADIAN PAST, 1497—1763.

La Vérendrye exploring Western Canada, 1732. John Innes.

You will now find as well a link to Chapter 4 of PART I : “First Quest for the Northwest in Canada, 1615—1760. This includes such subjects as La Salle and La Vérendrye, Canada and Louisiana, Richard White’s Middle Ground, The Janus-faced alliance between the Algonquians and Onontio, Many Tender Fur Trade Ties : the Métis peoples of Canada, and Black Voyageurs and the first multiculturalism.

In an interview at the Gruff restaurant Dr. White, in the midst of a healthy salad and fries, told us that “this chapter only touches a few surfaces on some altogether fascinating strands of Canadian history before 1763. And  I think there is a connection with Louis Riel. What this chapter 4 tries to do very quickly is sketch the deeper 17th and 18th century background to Louis Riel in the 19th century. It seems to me that we also have more in common with this background than we usually think today, in the early 21st century.”


Asselin, Robert. Position: Strategist and policy adviser ; Past job: Senior official in the offices of former prime minister Paul Martin and various Liberal ministers ; Tasks: Debate preparation, policy development, conducts daily media briefings and writes French-language speeches

Broadhurst, Jeremy. National director of the Liberal Party … “We’ve joked about opening up a daycare here. I have a two-year-old daughter, [campaign co-chair] Katie Telford’s got a two-year-old son. Half the leader’s office has kids or kids on the way.” Broadhurst, a key part of the circle, was chief of staff to former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.

Bronfman, Stephen. Chief fundraiser . A scion of the Bronfman (Seagram’s liquor) family and head of a private investment firm, Stephen Bronfman is credited with the Liberals’ fundraising success. In 2013, the Liberal Party raised $11.6 million, up 42 per cent from the previous year. The Conservatives are still the leaders at $18.2 million, but increased their numbers by only five per cent. The Bronfman and Trudeau families have been friends for years.

Gerald Butts and Justin Trudeau as students at McGill in the 1990s.

Butts, Gerald. Position: Senior strategist ; Past job: Former principal secretary to ex-Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, former president of WWF-Canada ; Tasks: Develops policy, prepares debates and speeches, oversees daily briefings …  Gerald Butts has been friends with Trudeau since their McGill University days, and is said to be so close to him that he had a hand writing the eulogy Trudeau famously delivered at the funeral of his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The son of a Glace Bay, Cape Breton, coal miner, Butts was principal secretary to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and is the former president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada.

Cowan, Suzanne. Daughter of Senator James Cowan from Nova Scotia, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Suzanne Cowan worked on Trudeau’s leadership team handling social media and focus groups. Cowan is a former manager at the Ontario Energy Board and chose not to come to Ottawa to be in Trudeau’s office, but is likely to stay involved.

Gagnier, Dan. National co-chair of 2015 election campaign. One of the few older members of Trudeau’s team. Dan Gagnier was chief of staff to former Quebec premier Jean Charest, and is also a veteran of the Privy Council Office and Foreign Affairs. He’s described as having “30 to 40 years of experience.”

Anna Gainey, daughter of NHL legend Bob Gainey and longtime friend of Justin Trudeau, was elected president of the Liberal Party of Canada at the 2014 convention in Montreal.

Gainey, Anna. President of the Liberal Party of Canada. A close friend of Trudeau’s, Anna Gainey is the daughter of former Montreal Canadiens hockey star and former manager Bob Gainey, and sister of Laura Gainey, who was killed when she was swept overboard from the deck of a tall ship in 2006. Gainey runs a foundation that funds environment and arts grants for youth in her sister’s name. Gainey’s husband, Tom Pitfield, was Trudeau’s digital director during the leadership campaign, and is the son of former Canadian senator Michael Pitfield.

Lanthier, Alex. Alex Lanthier is described as someone who’s been with Justin Trudeau since Day 1. He campaigned for Trudeau in his Papineau riding for months without pay when Trudeau first ran as an MP.

Lapointe,  Marie-Laurence. “Justin Trudeau is in a black Mercedes compact SUV, on the road between a seniors’ residence in Victoriaville, Que., and a food court in Sherbrooke. At the wheel is a young organizer named Marie-Laurence Lapointe, whose dad was a major fundraiser for Mr. Trudeau’s own father.”

LeBlanc, Dominic. Liberal MP for Beauséjour in New Brunswick. The son of Pierre Trudeau-era cabinet minister and former governor general Romeo LeBlanc and a lifelong friend of Trudeau’s, Dominic LeBlanc is the caucus member closest to the leader. Some say he has just as much influence as Butts, if not more. He is the Liberal House leader and sits beside Trudeau in the House of Commons.

McNair, Mike. Position: Policy adviser ;  Past job: Senior adviser to former Liberal leaders Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff ; Tasks: Policy adviser, conducts daily briefings with an emphasis on English-language media …  Mike McNair worked with Dion, helping to write his “Green Shift” policy, and also worked for Dion’s successor as Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff. He’s described as someone who has a strong policy mind and who has Trudeau’s ear.

Monfette,  Kate. “Robert Asselin, and his press secretary Kate Monfette.”

Reporter, Cyrus. Chief of staff. Cyrus Reporter once worked for former Liberal cabinet minister Alan Rock, and for a while he was an Ottawa transit commissioner. Reporter was also a member of Paul Martin’s election campaign “war room” in 2005. One observer said Reporter’s “been around, but not made too many enemies.”

Katie Telford chairs the National Election Readiness Committee Meeting during the 2014 convention in Montreal.

Telford, Katie. Position: Campaign manager ; Past job: Senior official in the offices of former Ontario minister Gerard Kennedy and former federal Liberal leader Stéphane Dion ; Tasks: Oversees the entire campaign organization, including schedules, tours and volunteers … Katie Telford, national election campaign co-chair : Katie Telford, who co-chaired Trudeau’s leadership campaign, can be seen in action in a video pitched to potential volunteers. With flawless delivery, Telford speaks of working online at home with a phone list, a model Obama first used in 2008 … The volunteers can work “sometimes at 1 a.m., sometimes at 10 a.m.,” she says, leaving little doubt about the demographic group she’s seeking … Sounding like a pragmatic technocrat, she describes the Excel spreadsheet she views as soon as she gets up and her fondness for graphs and pie-charts. “I love the numbers because they don’t lie.” Telford was deputy chief of staff in the opposition leader’s office under former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and served as chief of staff to the Ontario minister of education.


CO-CHAIRS : Scott Brison, Nova Scotia MP ; Chrystia Freeland, Toronto MP

Miles Corak, University of Ottawa economist [specialist in measuring economic inequality].

George Gosbee, Chief executive of Calgary-based AltaCorp Capital Inc.

Frank McKenna, Deputy chair of TD Bank Group, and former Liberal premier of New Brunswick

Kevin Milligan, University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics.

Mike Moffatt, Professor at Western University’s Ivey Business School.

Bill Morneau, the former head of a Toronto-based human resources services and consulting company, who is nominated to run for the Liberals in a downtown Toronto riding in the fall election.


2012 Tesla Model S electric car – the ultimate anti-petroleum conspiracy?

* Official Team Trudeau 2015 website

* John Geddes, “The inner circle: Inside Trudeau’s economic advisory team,” Maclean’s, January 18, 2015.

* “Team Trudeau: the Toronto rainmakers orchestrating Justin’s rise,”  Toronto Life,  December 2014.

* Lee Berthiaume, “Meet Justin Trudeau’s most trusted adviser,” Ottawa Citizen, May 15, 2014.

* Leslie MacKinnon, “Justin Trudeau’s inner circle a reflection of the leader,” CBC News,  February 19, 2014.

* Daniel Leblanc, “Inside Justin Trudeau’s war room,” The Globe and Mail, March 1, 2013.

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