Friday, April 29, 2011

The 2011 Wet Tissue Election

Sadly, this is all people will be talking about over the final 3 days of the campaign:

TORONTO - Jack Layton was found laying naked on a bed by Toronto Police at a suspected Chinatown bawdy house in 1996, a retired Toronto police officer told the Toronto Sun.

The stunning revelation about the current leader of the New Democratic Party comes days before the federal election at a time when his popularity is soaring.

When the policeman and his partner walked into a second-floor room at the Toronto massage parlour, they saw an attractive 5-foot-10 Asian woman who was in her mid-20s and the married, then-Metro councillor, lying on his back in bed.

I can think of many reasons to not vote NDP, but this isn't one of them. And I think most voters will agree.

At the start of the campaign, this might have subconsciously made voters think twice. After all, the optics certainly aren't good for Layton, and it does speak to his character. But no one is going to change their mind over this now. We saw this in Toronto's mayoral campaign last year, when revelations about Rob Ford's past were just shrugged off by his supporters - and may have even made him more popular. We saw it with Bill Clinton in the 90s.

Like Clinton, Layton may also benefit from being seen as the victim. When a 15 year old story surfaces 3 days before E-Day at a time when the NDP is surging - and is broken by a media chain with a reputation as a right wing attack dog, it's going to rub a lot of people the wrong way (no pun intended). As Andrew Coyne tweeted, "I'd rather be caught naked in a massage parlour than fully clothed working for SunNews".

Layton hasn't lied, there hasn't been a coverup. In fact, being attacked on this plays right into Layton's message of rising above the "smear tactics" that plague Canadian politics.

So, yes, Layton may still get his happy ending after all on Monday.


  • Judging from the comments on the Star's article, this is already seen as the disgusting and baseless smear that it is.

    By Blogger JG, at 10:49 p.m.  

  • This story has appeared online, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it ignored in print and on television. We can expect the right-wing media outlets to have a field day, but most of their audience won't have been considering the NDP anyways.

    I think the Toronto Star put the story in a prominent place on their website because it's a local story, and because they'll be following up with an endorsement of the NDP tomorrow. Everyone else seems to have it as a footnote or linked to one of their politics sections that only appear online.

    By Blogger Denny, at 10:52 p.m.  

  • I don't know if I'd call it a baseless smear. Layton WAS in a massage parlour that was raided by the police. His wife's comment makes that clear:

    "“I knew about this appointment, as I always do,” Chow said in her statement. “No one was more surprised than my husband when the police informed him of allegations of potential wrongdoing at this establishment. He told me about the incident after it happened."

    But the fact that Olivia Chow is giving Jack the benefit of the doubt should be enough for Canadians. Not that I would care if he was with a prostitute (prostitution should be legal).

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 10:59 p.m.  


    I imagine the Sun won't be reporting when the Conservatives get in a little trouble.

    By Blogger Orange Rod, at 11:02 p.m.  

  • I wouldn't call the article "baseless" as Layton isn't denying the story, just playing himself as a victim but I agree that it won't convince many NDP voters to turn away at this stage.

    The NDP surge isn't due to social issue CPC voters switching over and a minor sex scandal and left leaning regions just don't respond to such attacks (as Calgary Grit has pointed out in the article).

    This looks more like a desperate Liberal hail mary to try and move back into opposition territory.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 p.m.  

  • This was a late night trip to a sketchy massage parlour which everyone knew was a front for a prostitution ring (hence the raid). He was found naked in a bed.

    He's obviously guilty and it's fair for Sun to leak it. I agree with CG that this won't move votes now but only because Layton is so popular. Had this been Harper, the same people saying Sun is trashy for doing this would be jumping all over the story.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 11:10 p.m.  

  • It's a baseless smear insofar as it insinuates wrongdoing - 15 years ago - whatever "everyone" might "know".

    By Blogger JG, at 11:13 p.m.  

  • Someone should look into why he was barred from the Eaton Centre in the 80's...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:18 p.m.  

  • "Someone should look into why he was barred from the Eaton Centre in the 80's..."

    Well he had to fight to keep his job. Subsidized housing doesn't pay for itself, you know.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 11:24 p.m.  

  • Oh, so you're going to participate in further smears?

    By Blogger JG, at 11:25 p.m.  

  • These are just the facts, I guess happy Jack has a few dark secrets.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 p.m.  

  • Ha ha ha now he'll be even more popular than ever

    So glad I laid that $50 on Jack ha ha ha ha hoo hoo hoo

    By Blogger Joseph Kerr, at 11:31 p.m.  

  • So, it is okay to drag other leaders through the mud, spread lies about them in commercials, but Jack Layton should be immune to scrutiny?? This incident speaks to his character and as a female voter, I am not impressed. Let's hear more about his past and his actions-Canadians have a right to know and each can judge for themselves.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 p.m.  

  • It's always a "smear" campaign when its happening to your guy, heh.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 p.m.  

  • This looks more like a desperate Liberal hail mary to try and move back into opposition territory.

    Oh please. Like the Sun likes the Liberals.

    By Blogger sharonapple88, at 11:44 p.m.  

  • How is it a smear? It is a fact that Jack Layton was kicked out of Eatons for distributing pamphlets (though he won the related case on free speech grounds). It is a fact that Jack Layton lived in subsidized housing, while he and Olivia Chow made over $120,000. It is a fact that Jack Layton has used private healthcare before.

    Unlike the rub and tug issue (even if it is true, many great leaders have slept around), those three issues are relevant (although they are not especially salient). The first two are instances in which Layton played fast with the rules. The last suggests some hypocrisy - if Layton wants all Canadians to exclusively use public health care, why can't he?

    Off-hand here are the cases in which I think "personal" issues are relevant:
    1. they potentially reveal policy preferences
    2. they violate the law, or involve ethical breaches that are relevant to governance
    3. they reveal incompetence, poor judgment or a serious lack of ability (and it has to be an ability related to governance)
    4. they expose serious hypocrisy on the issues
    5. they reveal associations that are suspect

    -rub 'n tug = none of these
    -subsidized housing = 4
    -private healthcare = 4
    -Ford's marijuana arrest = 2
    -Ford's temper = 3
    -Ford's anti-gay slurs = 1
    -Campbell's DUI = 2
    -Martin's offshore holdings = 4
    -Trump's business career = 3
    -Reverend Wright = 5
    -Bernier's Briefs = 3
    -Giambrone's affair = 3
    -Smitherman or Boisclair's drug use, or Klein's alcoholism = 3
    -Harper's rumoured marriage problems = none of these
    -Harper's religion = 1

    Note - while I think these are valid stories, I do not necessarily think people should have voted based on these issues.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 11:48 p.m.  

  • FYI: I meant that rub 'n tug IS a smear. The other things aren't.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 11:49 p.m.  

  • Please update your post with some quote of Olivia Chow's response. The entire framing of this is bad enough, the fair thing to do would be to include what his *wife* said.

    By Blogger canuckistani, at 11:52 p.m.  

  • Lovelife rumors never affect me. If Stephen Harper was secretly with Baird, if Obama was doing cheerleaders, if Merkel was sleeping with the Pope, who cares.

    But, I bet this means he does even better in close ridings. I bet he'll do even better in Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal now, and maybe Gatineau etc. Who knows, maybe his numbers will rise all over Quebec. (Bit of a stud, no?)

    Whether people view it as "dirty CPC" or "dirty LPC" or "dirty media" or "poor guy doesn't deserve that", I say this completes his transformation into rockstar.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 11:54 p.m.  

  • Honest question - would it have been illegal had Layton been caught in the act?

    Presumably the police were raiding the place due to illegal activities, right?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:03 a.m.  

  • How is it a smear? It is a fact that Jack Layton was kicked out of Eatons for distributing pamphlets (though he won the related case on free speech grounds). It is a fact that Jack Layton lived in subsidized housing, while he and Olivia Chow made over $120,000. It is a fact that Jack Layton has used private healthcare before.

    No, he lived in a subsidized housing co-op designed for mixed-incomes. That you repeat this as some sort of scandal speaks more to your own lack of integrity than anything else.

    James Bow said it well:

    Except that it’s not true. I remember when the accusations surfaced for the first time, in 1990, back when Jack Layton was still a city councillor (my city councillor, point of fact). Dr. Dawg does a very good job debunking this trope. First of all, Layton and Chow did live within a community that contained subsidized housing. They themselves never received subsidy for their housing. Not only did they also pay market rates for their home, they topped their rent, covering the subsidy of some of their neighbours on behalf of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

    As for "private healthcare", it's true that the Shouldice Clinic is a private not-for-profit facility. Just like a family physician's office practice, however, it bills OHIP directly for services provided. The smear is to suggest that this represents some sort of untoward use of "elite" private care implying that Layton is hypocritical. Suggesting that anything about this is notable in the slightest is disingenuous.

    By Blogger JG, at 12:03 a.m.  

  • Alternatively, are you simply so ignorant about the health care system as to be unaware that private delivery of publicly-insured services has been considerable and present for decades?

    By Blogger JG, at 12:08 a.m.  

  • I've seen a few people make comments relating to "that late at night" but none of the articles seem to cite a time. Does anyone have a reliable source for the supposed time of night?

    As for the claim about using private healthcare Layton has been very open about that. He went to the clinic that he was refereed to by his doctor, and used his provincial health insurance card to pay. Yes it was a private facility but it was one that was open prior to medicare coming in and was allowed to continue operating and billed the province for all procedures - like how most doctors work in private offices and then just bill the province. If we're going to consider what Jack did as using private healthcare then I would say that almost every Canadian has used private healthcare.

    By Blogger Denny, at 12:45 a.m.  

  • This news is an insult to voters everywhere in Canada. Even taking this from a straight non-partisan fashion, this is something that shouldn't even be mentioned anymore based on the fact that:
    - It happened 15 years ago.
    - Layton wasn't accused of anything, or even arrested.
    - This comes out three days before the vote.

    I hope that whoever decided to do this stupid leak will suffer the consequences.

    By Anonymous Doctacosa, at 12:53 a.m.  

  • I love how it's alright to go after Rahim Jaffer or Maxime Bernier for their misdeeds but Jack Layton is off limits.

    No one can say anything even remotely critical about the man without getting jumped all over.

    By Anonymous CJS, at 12:58 a.m.  

  • A few points, Josh.

    Firstly, you conveniently leave out that Layton lived in Hazelton for five years before starting to pay additional rates (just before his 1991 mayoral race). Indeed, if Jack Layton thought there was nothing wrong about living in subsidized housing, why did he start making additional payments?

    Secondly, I am aware that a large proportion of Canadian healthcare delivery is private. I am also aware that Layton has repeatedly campaigned against the spread of private health clinics.

    Is Shouldice a non-profit? Well, its profits are capped at 6.5% of the original investment. I'm not sure if my math is right, but 6.5 is higher than zero, right ( )?

    I might also note that only medical and surgical fees are covered by OHIP at Shouldice. Other fees must be paid in cash, debit or credit - with the option of a less expensive room, or a semi-private room (which costs extra).

    These fees appear to be mandatory as well, because according to the FAQ "You should plan to stay at Shouldice for about 3 nights after surgery to take part in this program." When Joe Clark was questioned on his stay at Shouldice he answered that he had opted there for lower waiting times. Since referrals are not needed to go to Shouldice, it is pretty clear that it is mandatory fees - from which Shouldice earns profits - that keep it that way (otherwise, why would Canadians wait in line at public hospitals).

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 1:16 a.m.  

  • No CJS - no one is able to make unsubstantiated silly comments about the man without being jumped all over.

    But that whole equating it to Bernier and Jaffer was a real nice try.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 1:53 a.m.  

  • Meanwhile, this is one headline.

    "NDP surge puts Conservative majority at risk as Liberals collapse: poll

    By Andrew Mayeda, Postmedia News"

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:14 a.m.  

  • Hahaha, nice concern trolling CG.

    I honestly never thought I would see the day when Calgary Grit would stoop to the level of linking and quoting from this smear.

    But I guess this is what happens when any animal, close to death, is backed into a corner. They lash out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:54 a.m.  

  • I wrote this on another blog:

    It could all be settled if the "regestered massage therapist" came forward and said it was a legatimate massage. I am sure a "professional" would have his name on record, address, time, date, area of treatment, number of visits etc.... and a business licance in building regestered in city hall.

    There; now it is up to Jack to get that information public as soon as possable. If he can not, then let the press have its way. He might become "religious" right now, "praying" that she come forward and tell what happened. I am quite sure the police have her name on record in the same police report.

    These are the questions that must be answered - yet the MSM will not ask one of these questions - except perhaps Sun TV.

    By Anonymous Clown Party, at 6:45 a.m.  

  • Hey Creepy Lefties:

    1) Having an affair and paying a human-trafficked sex slave to jerk you off are two very different things. You are not a "stud" for the later, even in Quebec.

    2) Being naked in a rub-n-tug joint that uses human-trafficked sex slaves is damning. LAyton needs to answer why he was naked. Do you get naked when you get lefitimate massages?

    3) This issue will hurt the NDP with a boat load of women. Why? Because despite what lefty men seem to think, human trafficked sex slaves doing sexual acts for small amounts of money is cruel, not cool.

    By Anonymous You are all fairly creepy people, at 7:04 a.m.  

  • Lighten up.

    Those chicks dig jerking us off. They come to Canada to do precisely that. And they make good money too.

    I knew a rub-n-tugger who paid her way through college just yankin' on old guy chains. Talk about a learning passport!

    More power to chicks who'll choke your chicken for a good price.

    By Anonymous Dipper Nation, at 7:36 a.m.  

  • Except in the title, the place was described as a SUSPECTED bawdy house. I assume then than it was not confirmed as an ACTUAL bawdy house. So if police suspicions were not confirmed, what's the story here?

    By Anonymous Jeff, at 8:54 a.m.  

  • Secondly, I am aware that a large proportion of Canadian healthcare delivery is private. I am also aware that Layton has repeatedly campaigned against the spread of private health clinics.

    It only became an issue in 2006 because Layton said he would never go to one.

    Funny thing is that I've got to thank Layton on this because it's because of this story that I found out about the Shouldice, and I recently recommended it to a friend who had a family member who needed surgery for a hernia.

    (On the issue of private medical clinics, another thing to consider is that some abortion clinic,s like Henry Morgentaler's, are private.)

    By Blogger sharonapple88, at 8:56 a.m.  

  • We are not creepy. We are Liberals and damned proud of it.

    I don't think it is the least bit strange to get naked in a health clinic. I get naked regularly for my physiotherapy and massage. It helps me relax. Sure, they recommend that I leave my underwear on, but after I explain to them how much happier I would be to be stark naked, everyone nods and accepts me naked.

    I am proud to see Jack Layton fight back this smear. Those of us who prefer our health and wellness treatment to occur in the nude should be defended from you gutter-minded folks who think that just because we strip down naked for a message, we expect to be man-handled by some young thing just arrived from China.

    Go Liberal. Go Layton.

    By Anonymous Blood Orange Liberal, at 9:37 a.m.  

  • I think we are all be way too hard on SUN TV. This is clearly a Conservative Party attempt to discredit them as the worst kind of sleazy, yellow, tabloid journalists. They are the victims here.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 9:54 a.m.  

  • "This is clearly a Conservative Party attempt"

    man, would it ever be the end of the Liberals if that turned out to be wrong...

    By Anonymous Maybe we slung the mud?, at 10:02 a.m.  

  • That was joke about Peladeau's editorial accusing the Conservative Party of trying to discredit the chain by pushing a story about Ignatieff being central to planning the Iraq war (complete with low res image of "Ignatieff" decked out in Kuwait with combat fatigues and a rifle).

    I have no idea who fed the Sun this story. So don't read anything more into my comment beyond a satirical critique of the Sun. That said, NDP partisans are outraged; Liberal partisans seem agreed that this was a politically motivated smear done without taste; and, Conservative partisans are thrilled while reiterating a collection of remarkably similar talking points. Even if the Liberals were behind this instead of the Conservatives, it seems obvious that Tories are the ones who, by and large, see it as an acceptable line of attack in the dieing days of the campaign. That still means something.

    By Anonymous Robin, at 10:16 a.m.  

  • I love how lefty feminists will suddenly forgive a little "indiscretion" when it's their guy partaking in the exploitation of prostitutes. I wonder what the Rabble crowd would say if it was a Conservative? Well, actually, I don't have to wonder 'cause those classy leftists are chuckling over one of their regular's speculation on Baird and Kenney have medical records for anal gonorrhea. I guess being gay or using prostitutes is all Ok if you spout the correct group-think.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 11:06 a.m.  

  • I regularly go for therapeutic massages from Registered Massage Therapists - and it is the NORM to take off all your clothes. This dog won't hunt.

    By Blogger DL, at 11:14 a.m.  

  • Haha. Layton is stupid.

    By Anonymous Growling Tiger, at 11:26 a.m.  

  • I have no problem with Harper, in general he represents the country decently, the countries economy is going along very well compared to the remainder of the world and our taxes are at an acceptable level.
    I will be voting Conservative and expect to see the real Blue wave again cover the country. I hope we get a majority so we end up with a stable governing period.

    That would give Jack more time for his bawdy house with the young Asian girls.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 a.m.  

  • DL I too get therapeutic massages and I too take off my clothes. Whereupon I cover myself with a sheet as I lay down on the massage TABLE. The only massage I ever get on a bed my dear wife gives me.

    By Anonymous Joe, at 1:01 p.m.  

  • Ditto on therpeutic massages. If a masseuse isn't comfortable looking at my penis, then I don't do business with her. That's my policy.

    Just because I am naked with my penis in plain view doesn't mean I don't want to be taken seriously.

    I was leaning Liberal, but now I will be voting NDP in the next election. Hopefully, we'll have saner laws regarding full body therapeutic massages in this country once Jack is PM.

    By Anonymous My Penis Matters, at 1:27 p.m.  

  • Sounds like someone got that Tory trolling job posted on Craigslist back when. Hope he's getting paid by the post.

    Anon 2:54 am, calling this "concern trolling" is grossly unfair. Dan has been entirely clear that he has issues with Layton and the NDP - my party, just to be clear about my own perspective here. He doesn't drape his blog in a claim of objectivity. As a result, like the reviews of websites and television commercials I find here, I have more faith in this blog's judgement and fairness than I do in some of the MSM who pretends to full-time objectivity until they don't (see Mike Duffy).

    By Blogger Don, at 2:01 p.m.  

  • That's so funny, I thought you were talking about Liberals crying.

    This issue BTW, is not about sex, it's about Asian gangs, human trafficking and sex slavery.

    It's shows more than a lack of judgment from a man who knew exactly what these places were and who ran them, when he went there.

    It shows a disregard for the suffering of sex slaves and a support for organized crime.

    It is news and it should be. People are ready to vote for the NDP because they think Jack is such a great guy, and that's the only reason. So maybe not, which is what makes it a legit story.

    If people were voting on his record or his platform, it wouldn't matter as much.

    No one likes Harper. I don't like Harper, but I still voted Conservative. If you told me he eats kittens, I'd be like oh he eats kittens, figures, the bastard. And I'd still vote conservative.

    NDP votes however, are all about liking Jack at this point.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:13 p.m.  

  • This is a win for Layton. He looks like the victim.

    He'll say "if you're tired of negative politics that pry into your personal lives, it's time to vote for change, vote for NDP - I'll stay focused on what really matters to Canadians." And it plays right into why he's surging.

    The only question is whether people will actually vote, or whether it's just something they say because it sounds cool and hip to vote for the NDP.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 2:18 p.m.  

  • Whether this benefits Layton, or somebody else, it should be clear that this story doesn't benefit Harper. First, he is the most likely to get blamed for releasing it.

    Secondly, here are the second choice preferences of NDP voters, according to Ekos:

    CPC: 13.5%
    LPC: 37.7%
    Green: 19%
    BQ: 10.9%
    Nobody: 17.4%

    Just as we give should give Layton the benefit of the doubt on this one, we shouldn't jump to conclusions about who started the story, either.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 3:00 p.m.  

  • This is a huge win for Layton.

    First: human trafficked sex slaves don't vote! They don't even have real passports let alone learning passports. So if a few sex slaves are upset, who cares!

    Second: the NDP are weak with men but this is the kind of news that makes men think, "wow, cool." Jack Layton is just like the rest of us: biking around town late at night looking for a quickie massage.

    Has Iggy ever been to a rub-and-tug? Doubt it. That's why Jack will be PM and Iggy will be his Minister of Pontification.

    By Anonymous DIpper Nation, at 3:09 p.m.  

  • btw Jack did lie. Do you suppose he is stupid enough to mistake a massage parlour for a massage therapy clinic??? Really?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:27 p.m.  

  • As a Toronto City Councillor at the time, I'm surprised that Jack is now claiming to have been so severely uninformed about what was going on in his part of the City. I do not find it credible that he was unaware of the reputation of various "massage" parlours around there, or that he thought that this was a session with a Registered Massage Therapist.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 p.m.  

  • I don't live in Toronto, so can't speak for the location of the massage clinic, but good grief, it's not like massage "plus" clinics advertise "happy endings" on a sign on the door.

    Allow me to speak from experience. In 1993, I was looking for a job to help pay for university. Advertised in the Help Wanted classifieds was a massage job. While not trained as a massage *therapist* I am a pretty good masseuse and in demand by friends and family. So I went down to apply. Place looked totally legitimate: clean waiting room, receptionist, decent part of town, etc. Got into the interview and here this lady is asking me if I was comfortable with "massage plus". I did not clue in. I was all "massage plus what". (Look it's not everyday someone asks you if you want to be a sex worker, ok? I thought maybe massage plus reception or something.) So she explained: you give massages to people and some people will use a code word and then you give them a hand job. I, understandably, went beet red and fled.

    Anyway, my point is, an establishment can appear to be perfectly legitimate. It may be a cover for something else, but the average person has no way of knowing.

    By Anonymous anon this time, at 8:00 p.m.  


    "Meanwhile, on a day when the Sun newspaper chain ran a story about Mr. Layton visiting a Toronto massage parlour 16 years ago, Mr. Nanos said the NDP leader’s personal leadership scores significantly improved and surpassed those of Mr. Harper.

    Mr. Layton climbed 17 points, to 97, on the Nanos Leadership Index, which measures perceptions of the leaders’ trustworthiness, competence and vision for Canada.

    That compared to 88 for Mr. Harper and 39 points for Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

    “The one-day polling completed on the same day that the massage-parlour story broke showed that Jack Layton’s score improved, including perceptions related to trust,” said Mr. Nanos."

    Huh. So how about that?

    By Blogger Chris, at 9:20 a.m.  

  • @Anon this time: we aren't talking about some naif here. We're talking about a City Councillor who knows a thing or two about what goes on in the city.

    And the consensus among those I've spoken with is that knowing that neighbourhood, nobody thought that "Velvet Touch Massage" was a clinic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 a.m.  

  • "Community Clinic"=lying trout

    By Blogger Jay Currie, at 12:56 p.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 10:25 p.m.  

  • By Blogger 5689, at 9:38 p.m.  

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