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For Trudeau, not being Harper isn’t good enough anymore

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Justin Trudeau apparently believes he can win the upcoming October election the same way he won the past one, by not being Stephen Harper.

After Jody Wilson-Raybould spent several hours Wednesday outlining in detail the hounding she received from the highest people in the Trudeau government to put aside her principles and rescue SNC-Lavalin from a corruption trial, Trudeau emerged to offer a response.

Wilson-Raybould was clear, credible, straightforward and eminently convincing. Anyone outside a hardened partisan would have to conclude this was a strong woman who held firm beliefs and had stood by them under extreme duress from powerful men.

Trudeau was something else. “Sincere” wouldn’t be it. Smarmy is a word that seems to cling to him. He placed a big bet on the power of his personal stature. His position amounted to the old Marx Brothers line: Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

The prime minister said his recollection of events did not match his former minister’s. Absolutely nothing improper took place in his view. There was no “consistent and sustained effort … to seek to politically interfere” in her refusal to mount a rescue mission. No veiled threats. No ignoring her entreaties to back off. Sure there was some talk about the jobs that would be lost if Lavalin closed up shop in Montreal, but that’s just natural — it’s part of his job to worry about such things.

But, he insisted, “I … completely disagree with the former attorney general’s characterization of events.”

He accompanied his denial with references to Harper, the man brought down by voter disappointment and a scandal he couldn’t explain away. If he recognized the similarities he didn’t let on. He’d delivered the same line in question period that afternoon, over and over, no matter how opposition members phrased their questions. He would never apologize for “protecting Canadian jobs.” A Liberal government was about jobs, jobs, jobs. And, hey … I’m not........

© National Post