March 25, 9:19PM: Huffington Post hackette Althia Raj and Justine Trudeau mousse-carrier Gerald Butts are spotted enjoying a quiet dinner for two at Oz Kafé, the Elgin Street pseudery.
9:24PM Frank receives a cellphone snap that does indeed seem to show Trudeau’s viceroy enjoying glass of wine with what could very well be Althia’s nose – and hey, who wouldn’t?
Only in schoolgirl-gossipy Ottawa could a journo’s meeting with a favoured source be an occasion for fevered calls to the satirical press. (Both appear to be engrossed in their phones, ferchrissakes!)
But the usual unreliable sources on the Hill have been putting it about for months that the telegenic Raj and the quite-married father of two are more than just professional symbiotes.
Most of the tattle can be put down to simple jealousy, of Buttsie’s proximity to the Fabulous Mr. T, or of the long list of Justin-related “scoops” Althia has scored -– Trudeau’s original admission that he smoked reefer, for example. Then there’s The Contender, Althia’s slim e-volume on the dauphin, with shocking, never-before-heard tales of his test scores:
“In a candid moment, shuffling between campaign events in British Columbia, Trudeau acknowledges that many Canadians probably don’t think he’s very intelligent. ‘Most people wouldn’t think that I also got 98 percentile on my LSATs,’ Trudeau says somewhat jokingly while staring out the window of the white SUV.
“Butts, his principal adviser, wants the quote omitted. Justin would never have said that if he thought he would be quoted, Butts says. ‘We are not in a position where we need to prove to people through some sort of standardized test how smart he is.’”
Raj, a pro after all, left the unvarnished truth in, publish and be damned. Take that, Trudeau image machine!
More Raj Butts-kissing:
— “Trudeau was a good speaker but it was Butts who earned the accolades, twice winning the Canadian National Debating Championship…Justin looked up to Butts and respected his advice.”
— “Trudeau says he has surrounded himself with ‘extremely smart, extremely wise’ people. Butts, McGuinty’s former principal secretary who left his post as head of the World Wildlife Fund in Canada to join Trudeau’s campaign, is routinely described as brilliant.”
And on it goes. But it’s a long way from a little stroking of Althia’s key point of access into Camp Trudeau to, er — (that’s enough baseless innuendo!!—ed.)