I see Raymond Chan hasn’t lost his flair for the oracular.
The 63-year-old former Liberal MP and bagman extraordinaire in the BC Chinese Community has been dancing frantically around (and even outright fleeing) press inquiries about his friendship with party donor Michael Ching (AKA Cheng Muyang), who’s wanted on an Interpol Red Notice on corruption charges back in China.
All a terrible misunderstanding, of course, and the allegations are no doubt politically motivated, but still uncomfortable given the inadequate degrees of separation between Chan, Ching and Justin Trudeau.
Ching’s daughter, Linda Ching, acclaimed and recently deep-sixed co-chair of the BC Young Liberals, also helped organize fundraisers as suprema of Tru-Youths, a teenage fan club for the dauphin operating out of Daddy’s office.
Chan’s delightful wifey numero dos, Wang Ting Ting, Trudeau’s special advisor on the Chinese community, happened to be a director of Tru-Youths, but Liberal spokesthingies emphasize there were no formal ties with the organization and the Real Change PartyTM. So that’s all right, then!
The Globe and Minion’s Craig Offman was the latest to attempt parsing the elder statesman’s various answers to the rather simple question of how long he’d known Ching — and whether he knew Ching was also the wanted fugitive Cheng.
“When The Globe first asked Mr. Chan about his relationship to Mr. Ching, he said he had known him since 1969, which suggests that Mr. Chan had known him since infancy – and thus his real identity – all along.
“Responding to a list of questions, Mr. Chan said he misspoke to The Globe, that he had only known Mr. Ching since 1996.”
So, er, there you have it.
Poor Offman is far from the first to try finding a coherent narrative in the shifting fogs of Chan’s circumlocutions.
Back in the 90s, as Jean Crouton’s Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, these same verbal gifts helped him prevail in a sexual harassment suit brought against him by former assistant Maria Trinh (Franks passim).
Another complete misunderstanding, bien sur. As the Chanman told the court “Maria Trinh’s allegation is totally false and it’s a complete character assassination of mine.”
A few highlights of the ultimately futile questioning of Chan by Trinh’s legalists:
Q: Do you ever lie?
Q: Never lied in your life?
Q: About anything?
Q: Did you give that answer under oath?
Q: Is that answer true?
A: Well, I made a mistake there.
Q: So when I examined you on discovery, you did actually know that [your staffer] Fenella Sung was working for [Grit candidate] Doug Symons? Right?
Q: Why did you answer “I don’t know?”
A: Because it must have passed my mind.
Q: You just forgot?
Q: You talk about patting [Trinh] on the head; you remember that?
Q: And your explanation was that you were going for her back and you ended up on her head because she is a short person?
A: I want to clarify something, your honour. When he talks about the back, I never touch people’s back at the waist. I touch people’s back around the shoulder part, and for counsel to suggest that is incorrect.
Q: You never touch people on the lower back; is that what you’re saying?
A: Because you don’t encourage people by touching the lower back. It’s not my style.
Q; Just for the record, sir, how tall are you?
After countless hours of rope-a-dope, the judge sided with Chan, the Board of International Economy generously stuck taxpayers with the tab for his legal bills (shurely not $500,000?!—ed.) and subtle-tongued Chan survived to again and again baffle the bejeezus out of all interlocutors.