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Bruce Yaccato: Jim Coutts was the most powerful Liberal you’ve never heard of | National Post
The first time I saw Jim Coutts in action was during the Liberal campaign in 1979. Like the plane we were on, Pierre Trudeau’s party was at cruising altitude.

He came down the aisle toward me and my fellow journalists in the back, gleefully rubbing his hands together and saying “And how,” he grinned, “may I mislead you gentlemen today?” I was green as Kermit the Frog but I thought: He’s not kidding. is he?

Coutts never was a household name, but he remains a political legend. Great things, for good or ill, happened on his watch as Trudeau’s senior adviser. Without him, Trudeau may have been a one-term flameout. Without Coutts’ therapeutic ego-massage and tactical genius, Trudeau might not have lasted in office to help win the 1980 referendum on Quebec Independence or entrench the Charter of Rights that has become his primary legacy.