Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

A Gaffe a Minute

Posted by JJ in Federal Elections, Doubletake/Doubletalk (Monday December 12, 2005 at 7:05 pm)

There are so many people working in politics — politicians are only the tip of the iceberg. Behind every elected official are executive assistants, constituency managers, press officers, and an array of other varied, salaried workers. If you’ve ever wondered what MPs do with their paychecks, look no further than the back office. A sizeable chunk goes to workers who are often paid far too little for the hours they put in.

But sometimes, they just can’t take it anymore. They do all the work, but who gets the recognition? After all, aren’t they just as clever? Aren’t the backroom staffers the real brains behind the operations? Isn’t it about time they got their time in the sun?

And that’s when this happens.

Scott Reid, normally mild-mannered Communications Director for the Prime Minister of Canada declared that, given money for their children, Canadians would just “blow it on beer and popcorn.”

It’s okay, Canadians are, hopefully, too mature to take so subtle an insult seriously. There’s a more serious point at issue: Mr. Reid oversees communications for the Prime Minister of Canada. He is responsible for communication strategies of the highest echelons of our federal government, to provinces and other countries.

This is not the first time a problem like this has come out of the current PMO. But of course, PMO positions are patronage appointments.

Now is this important? Why consider the backroom staff? Well, if they insist on picking a public fight, they’re going to have an effect on public issues. If they want to matter, they will.

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