The first message is the one the counts: the Grits in Ottawa dawdled too long. The narrative has already been set.

When war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, I was a teenager who stumbled upon a publication geared toward those in the intelligence community called Intelligence Digest, which is still around today.

There had been a book by a French journalist named Jacques Merlino who had interviewed a PR flak who had crowed how his firm set the narrative of that war, and said something I would test and confirm myself: that the first narrative is the one that counts. Retractions have no effect.

And the latest slap fight between the Prime Minister and his former Justice Minister is an interesting proof of it.

Even though journalists covering it and their quoted “experts” aren’t savvy enough to see it.

Take this silly article from the Hill Times:

Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould appears to be holding the “fate” of the government in her hands, which gives her leverage over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says a former top government official, while others say the primes minister needs to offer an “alternative narrative,” backed up by clear facts and details; otherwise, Canadians will draw their own conclusions which won’t be helpful for the Liberals.

Sorry, kids, that ship has sailed. The proxies on Team Wilson-Raybould have already set the narrative weeks ago. She didn’t have to say a word. The PR machine did it for her. The Prime Minister should have gotten ahead, and anticipated it. That’s what cunning strategists do. What he did was take a gamble, and lost the “narrative.”

Because if the Grits had one, they would have put it out immediately. They dawdled, and kept trying to parse their words, and in the meantime, countless meme posters flooded the Internet, enforcing that first narrative. It’s done.

Add that the Grits now want to move the goalposts for misbehaving companies, has confirmed that original narrative. The end.

And considering what an attention addict the PM is — the fact that he did not jump in front of the cameras with a power seflie to prove his innocence is the clincher. He would have been strutting and voguing on the cover of Maclean’s and on The National, flexing his Angelic, But Still Manly Arms of Innocence, and telling the little people Everything Is Just Fine!

He’s been dawdling and dithering for the entire length of this scandal. His dad would have told the press to go fuck themselves, give them the finger, and said something cutting, but brilliant, to put the haters in their place.

But Canada was still not a Zero-Risk nation back in those days, and that’s why everything is unravelling as fast as it is…

The Chaser Solution: Chapter Two: This is a Picture Book, not it doesn't belong to the devil, but the Alchemist.

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That newsletter is significant for many reasons.

I tracked it down when I was a university student. 60 Minutes tried, and couldn’t, but I managed to get it after speaking with the editor Joseph de Courcy, and I bet most of you have no idea about him or his family’s amazing history. I had the honour of talking to him, and in all that rotten business during the Civil War in Yugoslavia, that conversation was a welcome high point that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I still have that newsletter. I learned there were publications — small quiet ones, with a tiny, but critical audience, that brokered in real information. As in, stuff spies, diplomats, and other powerful and intrepid people read.

That was one of the countless sources that I used in my last book. A source used by the likes of the CIA and MI6.

And I could track it down before veteran reporters. It wasn’t a lucky break or a case of beginner’s luck.

When this venture relaunches, I am saying right now for the record, this is not going to be fake news or propaganda for sheeple.

It will be simple and elegant and balance opposites: it will have the latent flourishes of Art Nouveau, but with a Minimalist sensibility.

This isn’t going to be telling you about good news or happy news.

It will give you facts. Turn those cards around to navigate through the world. Take something bad and, like the alchemist, turn it into something golden.

Chaser will be a picture book of sorts, but not the Devil’s Picture Book. You will get your reading of the cards, but divination here is not divine. It is reality. It is truth.

It is…

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