I confess to thinking what I'm about to write, yesterday, but I was so caught up in the human suffering in Haiti, that I thought it inappropriate and pushed it out of my mind.
While I am still keeping abreast of what is happening in Haiti, the PM went a step too far today, so I am going to mention it.
Let me begin by saying that I think the military and our government have done a good job of getting relief to Haiti quickly. I was pleased to see today that they decided to match all donations made by Canadians (up to 50 million) and have also signalled that they will consider speeding up the immigration process. This is all good news that I don't think is diminished by what follows.
I first noticed that there were quite a few photo's appearing in papers and on TV of the Prime Minister on the phone, supposedly speaking with heads of state. Odd, I thought, but okay. Then yesterday, I was listening to the radio and was told that Michaelle Jean would be giving a statement at about 1420 I think, from Rideau Hall. Then it was moved to 1430, then as the clock ticked closer to 1500, the station said they had no idea what was going on and couldn't reach anyone to to find out.
Shortly thereafter, media was alerted to a photo-op only, (no reporters) in the PM's office. A video without sound, showed the GG along with the PM and various Ministers, discussing the issue around a table.
At that moment, I thought that someone in the PMO co-opted the GG and used the moment to present Harper. It chafed, but as I said, I pushed it aside and didn't want the cynical to take away from a disaster.
The GG did of course finally speak and while clearly shaken, she gave as powerful a statement as I have heard. Her statement certainly overshadowed anything the PM had done or said.
So, here we are, another day and more tragic news coming by the hour and what do we learn? The PMO staged yet another photo op.
Update: I just received this message from the PMO marked “Urgent.”
OTTAWA – Public event for Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Thursday, January 14th is:
3:00 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mrs. Laureen Harper will make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross
Crass doesn't begin to describe what this is. Whether it is the brainchild of one of the PM's staff or he thought of it himself can't be known, but either way, it is the lowest form of politics. I'm not sure it gets worse than riding on the back of tragedy to enhance your own image.
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