Word came from the PMO yesterday that the Prime Minister has hired a couple of new contract workers – former press secretaries to both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. They are Michael McCurry and Ari Fleischer, respectively, and they have an important job to do – help get the Prime Minister into more American media outlets so that he can sell the great story of Canada.
Which is all well and good, except that there are a few niggling doubts about this particular strategy. Aside from the obvious desperation of trying to get the Americans to notice us, and the even more obvious conclusion that this is the final straw in Harper’s dislike – nay, disdain – for the Canadian media establishment, there are a few other issues. Things like all of the unflattering things that Harper has said about Canada, that American reporters won’t have to dig very hard to find, especially as Harper said many of these things in the American media in the past. And then there is the other consideration that this move also shows complete disdain for the staff at our Embassy in Washington DC, and the various other consulates that we operate in the States. They have dedicated people there whose job it is to get media access for our politicians. That Harper would choose these particular men to do the very same job further demonstrates his willingness to undermine our Foreign Affairs department and bureaucrats.
Of course, he’s also not disclosing how much he’s paying this pair of “experts” – but then again, he won’t disclose how much he pays for his psychic stylist or from which ledger she is paid. My sense – that this is all going to blow up in his face, sooner than later.
Meanwhile, the Liberals have released a special party renewal report titled “Every Vote Counts: the 308 Riding Strategy.” Leading up to their convention in two weeks’ time, this looks a lot to be about ways of streamlining the party’s operations, given that each provincial wing seems to have different organisations and different rules that make national coordination to be a problem. There also looks to be discussion about re-engaging the grassroots when it comes to making policy, and moving to a one-member one-vote leadership system, rather than the delegated conventions of past.
I haven’t had time to read through all of it yet, but if anyone is interested, it’s available here.
On Monday, Parliament resumes, and I for one can’t wait to be back in the Gallery. What can I say? I’ve missed them.