Star Liberal nomination candidate is critical of Israel in leaked audio recording

Canada Politics

Welcome to the world of gotcha politics! 

Sun News is reporting that retired Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, a star Liberal nomination candidate and adviser to Justin Trudeau, diverted from the party’s official position, last month, and criticized Israel at a roundtable event.

Sun News knows this because they were given a tape recording of the one-on-one interaction between Leslie and an unnamed woman.  

"The Palestinian people are not the enemy. Hamas, absolutely," Leslie said, according to Sun News, after being asked about what advice he would give Trudeau. 

"You’re talking to a guy who has hunted terrorists for quite some time. You gotta kill them? You gotta kill them. Hey, I’ve got no problems with that. But Palestinian women and children who are taking refuge in UN-designated compounds? Come on. ‘Oh, it was an accident.’ Sorry doesn’t matter to anyone. Shooting dumb artillery close to children is dumb."

The Sun News article with the full transcript of Leslie’s Q &  A can be seen here

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The Liberals, like the Tories, haven’t openly criticized Israel for the civilian deaths in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. 

The fact that Leslie said those things — and stands by his comments  is certainly newsworthy. 

But a subplot in all of this is how that tape recording came to be.

The Liberals have identified the woman asking the questions as a Conservative Party staffer. In essence, the Liberals are implying that she was a plant sent to this event to embarrass Leslie. 

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It would, of course, be naive to think that other parties don’t involve themselves in these sort of shenanigans. 

But this is the second time the Conservatives have been accused of this sort of thing in recent months. 

In May, Trudeau  during a press conference on Parliament Hill  declared that all future Liberal candidates would have to be pro-choice.

Just weeks later, CTV News obtained secretly-recorded audio of a conversation between pro-life Liberal MP John McKay and “someone with Conservative leanings” in which McKay asks if Trudeau had a “bozo eruption.”

According to iPolitics, Peter MacKay’s office wouldn’t comment about allegations that the conversation was recorded by someone in his office. 

"Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s office is refusing to say whether an intern working there this summer is the same person who may have participated in a surreptitious recording of Liberal MP John McKay two weeks ago," notes their article from June 5th.

"MacKay’s director of communication has rebuffed several attempts to reach her over four business days and refused to comment outright Wednesday after the Lanark Frontenac Federal Liberal Riding Association released a list of names and a photograph that appear to link the recording to [a] summer intern."

While these are only allegations,  if you’re a Liberal MP, candidate or staffer, you might want to exercise some caution before answering any questions from someone you don’t know. 

(Photo courtesy of Reuters) 

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