POLITICS

Liberal Video Uses (Only Some) Of Harper's Words Against Him

08/21/2015 05:30 EDT | Updated 08/22/2015 09:59 EDT

Justin Trudeau's Liberals appear to be ripping a page from the Conservative playbook with a new video released online.

On Friday, Liberals shared a short clip to Facebook and Twitter of Stephen Harper stating he is "not going to go around holding everybody else accountable for their actions."

Stephen Harper won't fire those involved in the Duffy cover-up. On October 19, it's time for Canadians to fire Stephen Harper.

Posted by Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada on Friday, August 21, 2015


While that might seem like a strange thing for the Conservative leader to say, Harper did utter those words in a press scrum the day before. But the Liberal clip leaves out what came just before that sentence.

The Tory leader was grilled by reporters on the campaign trail about his handling of the Wright-Duffy affair. Harper consistently maintained only Nigel Wright and Sen. Mike Duffy are responsible for the situation.

Evidence at Duffy's criminal trial suggests several people in the Prime Minister's Office were aware Harper's former chief of staff Wright had paid Duffy's $90,000 expense claims. Former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin testified that Ray Novak, Harper's current chief of staff and former principal secretary, was also aware of the deal.

On Thursday, Harper was asked twice by reporters if he still had confidence in Novak.

Harper eventually responded:

When people are working for me, they have my confidence. If they didn't have my confidence, they wouldn't be working for me. And in this case I have held the two people accountable who are responsible: Mr. Duffy, who did not repay his expenses, and Mr. Wright, who allowed him not to repay his expenses. These are the two people whose actions are responsible for this situation. That's why I've held them accountable and I'm not going to go around holding everybody else accountable for their actions.

The quote about "their actions" therefore seems to refer to Wright and Duffy, specifically.

Liberal spokesperson Olivier Duchesneau defended the edited clip in an email to The Huffington Post Canada.

"When Harper refers to 'everybody else', it is a direct reference to Ray Novak. This week we heard in court that Ray Novak knew about the scheme," Duchesneau said in the statement. "Harper clearly says that he is not going to hold him responsible for his action. We find this unacceptable. We have been clear that Mr. Harper should hold Mr. Novak accountable for his actions."

The clip was viewed on Facebook nearly 30,000 times in just seven hours on Friday.

Out of context

Tories have repeatedly taken Trudeau's words out of context in attack ads meant to call his judgment and character into question.

Shortly after Trudeau became leader of the Liberal party in 2013, the Tories released an ad that showed a much younger Trudeau stating on CTV's W5 that "Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada because, you know, we're Quebecers or whatever."

Trudeau was actually paraphrasing his famous father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau's views on why Quebecers don't need special rights and privileges.

Tories have also had a field day with Trudeau's statement that "the budget will balance itself."

That quote — featured in attack ads and several Harper speeches — comes from an interview Trudeau gave shortly after the release of the 2014 budget.

CPAC's Peter Van Dusen asked the Liberal leader if it would worry him to go into deficit.

"The commitment needs to be a commitment to grow the economy and the budget will balance itself," Trudeau replied.

When mocking the Liberal leader, the Tories leave out the bit about the "commitment to grow the economy."

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