Why is Bálint Ódor, Hungary’s ambassador to Canada, not sleeping well these days?

We’re told by confidential sources, that ever since Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, chalked up his third electoral victory in a row, on April 8, his Ambassador to Canada, Bálint Ódor, spends most of his nights tossing and turning in his bed, unable to fall asleep.

The question that keeps Mr. Ódor awake is this: how is it possible, that in spite of showering tens of millions of dollars on people that he would like to hear singing the praises of his boss in this country, the current Canadian government and the Canadian media are only pouring scorn on the newly re-elected Hungarian PM? What is the cause of his monumental Canadian PR fiasco?

Let’s start with the basics. The car that Mr. Ódor is trying to sell to Canadians is actually a lemon that is rotten to its core. According to the European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), Hungary leads the way among the EU’s 28 member states in defrauding European taxpayers of their hard earned cash. US based conservative think tank, Frontiers of Freedom wants to ban the Hungarian PM from the US as an international money launderer who is in contravention of the Global Magnitsky Act that even Canada has recently signed onto. (See: John Woods. “PM Orbán to be Banned from the United States?Daily News Hungary. March 7, 2018. . On Canada’s signing of the Global Magnitsky Act, see my own report that appeared on these pages.)

According to virtually all of the world’s conservative think tanks – The American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, Freedom House, The Carnegie Institute, The National Endowment for Democracy, Frontiers of Freedom– the Hungarian PM poses the biggest internal threat to the integrity of the Western alliance and to the civil liberties of Hungarians. Their views are echoed by Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union, The József Eötvös Group, and by the leading conservative jurists within Hungary’s Academy of Sciences. (On the latter, see: Jakab András, Urbán László, eds., Hegymenet. Budapest. Osiris Publishers. 2017 or my own forthcoming piece, „Parliamentary Sovereignty vs The Rule of Law in Hungary,” The Journal of Parliamentary Law and Politics. Carswell. 2018.) I purposefully ignored the condemnations of the European Parliament, the State Department, liberal and left-of center think tanks, all of whom are dismissed by Mr. Ódor’s boss, as agents of an 88 year old Hungarian-American Holocaust survivor, called George Soros. (The mission of the earlier cited Frontiers of Freedom is anything but Left wing or Liberal, as describe on its own home page: „Founded in 1995 by U.S. Senator Malcolm Wallop, the Frontiers of Freedom is an educational foundation whose mission is to promote the principles of individual freedom, peace through strength, limited government, free enterprise, free markets, and traditional American values as found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” For further reading, see here.)

So what’s the Canadian connection with all of this? Mr. Ódor’s boss has been doing nothing for the past 8 years, and with Mr. Ódor’s active assistance, than trample on the values that are dear to the vast majority of Canadian citizens: respect for racial, religious, and political diversity, respect for immigrants, for freedom of speech, for social justice, for the rule of law, for the ideals of sustainable economic development. There is no denying it: the newly re-elected Hungarian government is a corrupt, rule of law violating autocracy, its leader, Viktor Orbán is a man, who is today the hero to the Ku Klux Klan, and to the pro-Russian, white supremacist tide sweeping across Europe. (For a more detailed analysis of this please turn to my earlier report here. )

One should not be unfair to the sleep deprived Mr. Ódor. His challenge is a Public Relations executive’s worst nightmare. It would rattle the best and the brightest on Madison Avenue. I know, because I’ve been there. (My book on Public Relations received the following glowing recommendation when it was published by one of Canada’s top business leaders, Thomas d’Auino, who at that time was the President of Canada’s most powerful business lobby group, the formidable Business Council on National Issues. “Göllner’s book thoroughly and effectively addresses the subject. It will be widely read and praised in the business community” (See: Andrew B. Gollner. Social Change and Corporate Strategy. Stamford. IAP. 1983.) I have also worked once for Mr. Orbán. Like Sean Hannity, I never issued an invoice and never got paid. I was one of the organizers of Orbán’s first visit to Canada in 1994. I helped to introduce him to Peter Munk, to Bay Street, Canada’s financial capital. I sipped champagne with him and his right hand man, Joseph Szájer, in a stretched limo, after a performance I arranged for them in Montreal. A witness to that tete a tete is none other than the aforementioned conservative economist, László Urbán, who was Finance Minister designate in the first Orbán government in 1998. (For those who have no idea who is Mr. Szájer, here is a brief introduction. Mr. Szájer, is Orbán’s Mr. Fix-it. He is what Michael Cohen, Roy Cohn, Mitch McConnell, and Sean Hannity would be for Donald Trump, if they could all be rolled into one person. Mr. Szájer singlehandedly wrote Hungary’s latest constitution on his laptop while commuting between Budapest and Brussels in 2010-11. His wife decides who gets to be a judge in Hungary and where he or she will practice. Szájer sits in the European Parliament as Orbán’s first lieutenant, helping to ensure that his boss gets whatever he wants from Europe’s bureaucrats. The stretched limo and the chilled Dom Perignon in that silver bucket? Oh. That was provided “freely” by one of the richest businessman on Bay Street, who sold his soul to the devil.)

Let’s turn to the actual coverage of Mr. Ódor’s boss by the Canadian media. After all, it’s not the product, but what the „boys in the media” are saying about the product, that matters to the clients of most Public Relations executives like Mr. Ódor. (For a proof of this truism please turn to: Michel Gratton. So, What Are the Boys Saying: An Inside Look at Brian Mulroney in Power. Toronto. McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 1987.) Canada’s leading national TV and Radio networks (CBC, CTV, Global, Rogers) the biggest dailies (The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, La Presse), the national weekly (Maclean’s) have one constant theme: The Hungarian PM is a crook, who is engaged not only in the demonization of colored, non-Christian immigrants, but in the destruction of Hungary’s hard won and fragile democratic structures. They add, that such destructiveness is not localized but in fact poses a peril to our way of life here in Canada. They tell us, and rightly so, that the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone. They tell us, in short, that the destruction of the rule of law in Hungary will have a profound, and negative consequences for ordinary Canadians.

The only person who lent a voice of support to Orbán, by way of an offshore Tweet, is Canada’s ex-PM, Stephen Harper, who is far away from power, and who, himself has earned as much scorn and criticism from the Canadian Press for his embrace of the Hungarian autocrat as the Hungarian PM himself. It is this heavy, and overwhelming criticism that explains why Hungary’s young, uppity Foreign Minister, Péter Szíjjártó, (over whose head, the corruption clouds are as dark and as thick as those above Orbán) reacted finally with such fury to the messages from our shores. (See here.)

Sometimes insults are inadvertently added to injuries. Our sources tell us, that Mr. Ódor also feels deeply insulted by new evidence which shows that a handful of Hungarian-Canadian democrats, without any financing, and simply by the sheer power of their intellect and smarts, have managed to capture a far greater share of the media attention in Canada than he has, with a multi- million dollar budget at his disposal. The voice of the Ambassador is nowhere to be heard in Canada since April 8, but the voices of Christopher Adam, or myself, and of the Hungarian Free Press were loudly heard by millions on one of America’s biggest TV Channels, HBO, as well as in Canada’s largest French language daily, La Presse, and then on the largest cross country Radio program owned by Bell Media. The HFP’s electoral coverage, and our voices have reached hundreds of thousands, inside and outside of Hungary.

Bálint Ódor

As I write these words, in the background I’m listening to yet another country-wide CBC radio program, The Current, listened to by hundreds of thousands of Canadians on their way to work. Two well informed guests are being questioned about the destruction of Hungary’s democracy by Mr. Ódor’s boss. The interviewer, Laura Lynch discloses, that she had tried to secure an interview or at least a statement from Hungary’s embassy in Ottawa, but unlike my friend Christopher Adam or myself, or the guests on her program, the Hungarian Ambassador was just not ready to comment. I suggested in a Tweet, that Mr. Ódor had just fallen back to sleep this morning, after another night of sleepless tossing and turning in his bed. It seems, nobody on his staff wanted to waken the good man from his well-deserved slumber, when the media came calling. I hope Mr. Ódor will get the message after reading my post, quickly shaves and showers, and then gets a grip of himself.

When it rains Canada, it tends to pour, especially in April, at the tail end of the winter of our annual discontent. The challenge faced by Mr. Ódor in Canada does not stem exclusively from his Prime Minister’s insistence on putting his foot in his mouth in front of Canadian audiences. Mr. Ódor’s problems in Canada are exacerbated by his own peculiar insistence on turning himself into a pretzel every chance he gets. One day he is speaking in front of an audience of Holocaust survivors, telling them how he loves them, next day he is drinking schnapps with the last of the elderly Hungarian Nazi officers who fought “heroically” (sic) to hold up the liberation of Auschwitz by the Allies. This behavior is definitely not kosher in Canada, a country that lost tens of thousands of its best to help Europe get rid of her Nazis. (For evidence of Mr. Ódor’s duplicitous, unappetizing conduct in Canada, please turn to my exposé, Orbán and the Jews: A Case Study in Affinity Fraud. )

I do not wish to leave my readers thinking, that we at the Hungarian Free Press are happy about Mr. Ódor’s inability to get his nightly beauty rest. Indeed, we have always been ready to lend him a helping hand, to overcome his problems in Canada. We gave him the recipe years ago in writing. (See here.) but he did not even acknowledge, reply, let alone say thank you for our attempt to reach out to him. We told him, that the only way to sleep well is by following the age old rules of diplomacy. An Ambassador is not a foreign representative of one of the political parties in his homeland, but of all the participants in the democratic arena of his country. Canada’s ambassador to Hungary is not the representative of Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party, but of all democratic parties in Canada, every single one of the more than 100 first nations of this great country along with her diverse immigrant communities, regardless of race, colour or creed. We told Mr. Ódor as soon as he arrived to take up his posting, that he will only sleep well, if he comes clean, and respects diversity, which is the hallmark of Canada’s political culture. We warned him of the perils of engaging in affinity fraud, of fencing stolen goods in this country, of talking out of both side of his mouth at once. We told him that if he wants to sleep well, he has to fish or cut bait. He chose not to listen. This is why all the little white sheep that he’s counting all night in order to help himself to fall asleep, are coming towards him in wolves clothing.

András B. Göllner

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