Thursday, March 06, 2008

Passing Strange

In spite of Harper's emphatic denial on Tuesday, we now learn that Ian Brodie, the PM's Chief of Staff leaked confidential information concerning Barack Obama and his position on NAFTA.

From Hansard on Tuesday Harper said this in response to Jack Layton.

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian embassy in Washington has already apologized for the leaked information. The government is trying to identify who was responsible for leaking the information to the public; it was not my chief of staff.
and then this,
Right Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, the leak of this particular document is not only regrettable as the Canadian embassy in the United States has already said. It is completely unacceptable to this government and we will do our best to find out who did it.

What we are talking about here is a report that somebody in the consulate in Chicago wrote to their superior. There are literally thousands of documents like this written around the world by Canadian officials. It is ridiculous to think that the Prime Minister's Office even ever sees these documents.
Not all that ridiculous, apparently. What is rather odd though, is how this became a story about Obama when it appears that Brodie was speaking about Hillary Clinton. Was his intent really to derail her campaign? I suppose we'll learn more in due time but for the moment, I'm presuming that he was privy to information from both camps.
Meanwhile Sandra Buckler, once again says the ridiculous in an effort to shut this down.
The Prime Minister's communications director, Sandra Buckler, has said that Mr. Brodie "does not recall" discussing the issue.
Brodie doesn't recall discussing one of the biggest political story's to come out of the states...a discussion that happened just last week? Yeah, that's credible.
Well I have the feeling this story will just keep growing. Apparently Ambassador Wilkins has now called it political interference and Kady O'Malley has heard a rumour that a CTV reporter has been fired over this, which as she points out would be bizarre. Unless of course he changed the story to Obama from Clinton, in which case I suppose he could be viewed as trying to slant things. Still though, surely this is a political issue.
One thing that I find really strange though, is that I have seen no coverage of this on CTV. While I didn't see all of Canada AM, I didn't hear it in their newscast nor did I see it in the body of the show. (They did however do a segment on how great the new savings account is that Flaherty announced last week.) Nor can I find anything on their website.
Even though it's apparent to me more often than not that some aspects of that network give this government a pass or worse, not covering this is a pretty blatant step. I can't however see how Duffy can avoid it though. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Update - Jack Layton is apparently going to be on Lou Dobbs tonight. I've also heard that he may be on Larry King. I wonder if he'll do his typical Con/Lib bash?


Anonymous said...

Layton the media whore loves the recognition he gets in the media.

He may have the USians think the New Democrats are the Official Opposition to the Republicans and Harper!!!!

knb said...

It wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Jim Whitehammer said...

Um, but Layton is the Leader of the Opposition. Dion has been propping Harper up since last Fall's Throne speech.

If Dion went on CNN people wouldn't stop laughing for the first ten minutes while he talked himself in circles trying to explain what NAFTA was.

People are starting to laugh at Dion regularly. Not a good sign.

Miles Lunn said...

I think Brodie is just a guy who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Whether an accident or deliberate, you release confidential information, you get fired. For example a banker, doctor, or lawyer all deal with confidential information that even if they casually talked about it with one of their friends they would get fired. He could have simply said that he believes it is political rhetoric and pointed to the fact Chretien promised to scrap NAFTA in 1993, but didn't and that he feels the same will happen in the US. Although it might have been deliberate, but as much as many Tories admire the Republicans, being seen as helping them is pretty much a death sentence. In fact, the Republicans winning in November, would hurt rather than the help the Tories as they only remind Canadians of the dangers of unbridled conservatism.

knb said...

miles, this was no slip of the tongue. Spin is this guy's job.

Indeed he should be fired.

knb said...

Layton is the Leader of the Opposition. Dion has been propping Harper up since last Fall's Throne speech.

Do Dion dissenters ever come up with a line on their own?