How Faith Goldy became the most dangerous woman not on the campaign trail

Much of the political chatter Monday was preoccupied with the question of how much air time ought to be given to this one scandalous figure

Former journalist and far-right activist Faith Goldy appears in a selfie in front of the White House in 2017. Faith Goldy/Instagram

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The Liberal Party of Canada on Monday issued a statement denying that leader Justin Trudeau ever had drinks with Faith Goldy, a former journalist and far-right activist whose politically toxic image has dominated the tit-for-tat historical scandal mongering of the election’s early days.

Just a few days before, Conservative candidate Justina McCaffrey hurried from a CBC reporter and her driver sped out of a parking lot to avoid answering questions about her professed friendship with Goldy, who was famously fired from Rebel Media for appearing on a white nationalist podcast during the 2017 Charlottesville riots.

It was the Liberals who promoted evidence of McCaffrey’s association, when candidate Maryam Monsef released a video McCaffrey posted with Goldy in 2013.

Much of the political chatter Monday was already preoccupied with the question of how much air time ought to be given to this one scandalous figure that everyone always seems to talk about. She was already the subject of Liberal messaging critical of Scheer for appearing this summer at the final rally in Ottawa for United We Roll, a cross-country protest convoy, at which Goldy also appeared.

Goldy’s new prominence as a campaign boogeywoman might now be backfiring on their own leader.

“Only one federal party leader has bought me drinks at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier,” Goldy tweeted Monday, then deleted. “Any guesses?” Attached was a 2014 image of her beside Trudeau as she asked him questions for Sun Media, which Trudeau was then boycotting because of crude comments about his family broadcasted by Ezra Levant. That image in turn had been tweeted by political consultant Warren Kinsella, captioned: “Apparently some other politicians have ’shared a platform’ with Faith Goldy. Awkward.”

“Fact check this one for us,” the Conservative Party tweeted Monday, linking to Goldy’s own veiled claim that Trudeau once bought her drinks.

Scheer, who had been on the backfoot and forced to explain his own decision to remove one candidate who was revealed to have posted controversial comments on social media, but to forgive another, also raised the issue.

“If we’re going to talk about candidates, let’s talk about the Liberal candidate in Papineau (Trudeau’s Montreal riding), who broke ethics laws twice, who brought a convicted terrorist along to an official state function, who is now interfering and blocking an RCMP investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair. I also look forward to Justin Trudeau’s response to allegations that he took Faith Goldy out for drinks,” Scheer said at a campaign event Monday in Lake Country, B.C.

Once upon a time I was part of polite society

This prompted the Liberal party to tweet its denial: “The Prime Minister hasn’t had drinks with Faith Goldy, but @AndrewScheer’s campaign manager gave Goldy a TV show, which Scheer happily appeared on.”

That is in reference to Scheer’s appearance on Goldy’s former Rebel Media show, On the Hunt.

In the last few years, Goldy has built a large online following with her image as a militant traditional Catholic and her promotion of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories including the claim that immigration is causing “white genocide.”

She has an uncanny knack for attracting attention during election campaigns, as for example when she brought a lawsuit against Bell Media for refusing to run her ads as a candidate for Toronto’s mayor. That action failed, and ended with a $43,117.90 costs order against her, but it brought attention from news outlets that, until then, had steadfastly ignored her candidacy.

Fringe candidate Faith Goldy crashes a Toronto mayoral debate in Sept. 2018. Jack Boland/Postmedia/File

Then is quickly escorted from the stage. Jack Boland/Postmedia/File

Goldy did not respond to invitations to comment on Monday. In an earlier interview with the National Post in April 2019, however, she described having drinks with Trudeau and two of her female friends in Ottawa in about 2010.

She could not recall a specific date, but said it was at a biennial convention when Michael Ignatieff was the leader and Trudeau widely known to be a contender.

After Trudeau tried and failed to get them all into a suite party, the four went instead to Zoe’s Lounge, at Trudeau’s invitation, Goldy said.

“He invited us out for drinks,” Goldy said.

One of her friends was a Liberal supporter. Goldy herself was not yet notorious as a white nationalist. At the time, she was a University of Toronto political science student and what she described as the token young person on Sun TV, but she was at the conference as media from a school journal she edited.

“Once upon a time I was part of polite society,” Goldy said. She described how the conversation over drinks turned to abortion, and that her friend expressed a pro-choice view, which Trudeau strongly and vociferously agreed with, even rising to stand with one foot on a winged chair in a pose she compared to the Captain Morgan rum logo.

The National Post was unable to independently verify this account. One former senior Liberal who Goldy said was present in the lounge at the time declined to comment. Efforts to reach her friends were unsuccessful.

• Email: jbrean@nationalpost.com | Twitter: josephbrean

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