Thursday, July 18, 2013

The PMO's girls and boys in short skirts and pants keep ....... up!

Good Day Readers:

Since the white hot light of public scrutiny has been increasingly focused on the Prime Minister's Office, it seems staff can't fumble, stumble, mumble and bumble fast enough as it lurches from one crises to the next.

The article below by veteran Toronto Star political analyst/Ottawa watcher Susan Delacourt documents several of the .... ups that have occurred since Nigel Wright departed a couple months ago and don't forget that was before the now infamous enemy list. Jeezus, the way it's going will that morph into a hit list?

Where's Nigel when the girls and boys really need him?

Clare L. Pieuk
Tories stumble and bumble without Nigel Wright

Exactly one month since stephen Harper was forced to accept the resignation of his Chief of Staff in the Senate expenses scandal, the effects of Nigel Wright's loss are becoming evident within the government

By Susan Delacourt/Parliament Hill
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Since Stephen Harper's former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, tendered his resignation in May, the effects of his loss are becoming evident within the Conservative government. (Chris Wattie/Reuters File Photo)

OTTAWA—Exactly one month since Prime Minister Stephen Harper was forced to accept the resignation of his chief of staff in the Senate expenses scandal, the effects of Nigel Wright’s loss are becoming evident within the Conservative government.
Before Wright wrote a cheque to cover the repayment of ineligible expenses that Senator Mike Duffy claimed, the Bay St. business veteran was praised for bringing a level of quiet professionalism to the prime minister’s operations.
Since Wright’s resignation on May 19, however, the Prime Minister’s Office has been veering toward overt stunts and hyper-partisanship in a bid to deflect attention from the ongoing controversies over the Senate and other troubles for the Conservatives.
Some examples from the past four  weeks:
The PMO openly orchestrated a campaign over the last few days to “leak” information about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s speaking engagements, including an apparent bid to recruit some Conservatives into complaining about the fees charged to a New Brunswick charity.

Rather than let the Conservative party office do the partisan job of attacking Trudeau, the PMO itself has taken the lead, offering up quotes to reporters or MPs made available for comment.
On Tuesday, Harper deflected questions about how his staff was handling the Trudeau-spending fracas and whether the PMO should have been involved in smear-opponent tactics.
“As someone who is paid by the public, I get good remuneration from the taxpayers of Canada,” he said at the close of G8 meeting in Northern Ireland.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to then take money from charity. I give money to charity, I don’t take money from charity.”
In the past, PMOs have stayed at arm’s length from more base partisanship, since the PMO, technically at least, is supposed to speak for all Canadians.
Even more clumsily, the PMO circulated to the media Monday more documents on the Trudeau speaking fees, but this time demanding to be simply described as a “source.” One newspaper, the Barrie Advance, “outed” the odd, highly partisan effort by the highest political office in the land, and other news outlets, including the Star subsequently revealed the effort, too.
In the Commons last week, cabinet ministers carried “Stop Mulcair” prop signs into the chamber to poke fun at NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s driving incident on Parliament Hill (in which he failed to stop for security and ran through several stop signs).
At a Trudeau news conference on Parliament Hill, which was organized to call for more openness in MPs’ budgets and expenses, young Conservatives staged a disruptive protest, with handmade placards and chants. Though they described themselves as students, some were recognized as Conservative staffers on the Hill.
When Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber recently quit the caucus to protest against how the PMO had gutted a bill on public-sector transparency, PMO officials past and present took to Twitter to demand that Rathgeber run in a byelection. Problem: This was not the position that Harper’s government had taken in the past, when Liberal defectors such as David Emerson, Wajid Khan and Joe Comuzzi joined the Conservatives.
A failure to co-operate with Elections Canada has resulted in the unusual request for MPs James Bezan and Shelly Glover to be suspended from their seats in the Commons — a request that has now had to be bounced to a Commons committee after a Speaker’s ruling Tuesday.
In yet another dispute with Elections Canada and the ongoing “robocalls” saga from the 2011 election, a federal court judge ruled on May 23 that the Conservatives had treated the trial as “trench warfare” and that their database was probably used in a widespread scheme to suppress votes in the last election. The Conservatives replied by declaring the result a victory.
And in the Senate scandal, the biggest cloud hanging over Harper’s government, the prime minister has responded with a mix of stubborn silence or evasive answers about the depth of the problem for his office.
All these things have happened in the few short weeks since Wright left the PMO and even Conservative insiders are saying these haven’t been the government’s finest hours — reaction-wise. It does seem to prove that Wright was a steadying influence on the hyper-partisan zeal that has been exhibited now in his absence.


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