Tense and ugly affairs
Last night, BlackBerries in Ottawa were buzzing when CBC and CP confirmed that Ian Brodie, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, was indeed the source of all the trouble for Barack Obama's "Canada problem" in the U.S. presidential race. This is huge. We are expecting reverberations today.
Readers of this blog will remember that this is the second time Brodie has been outed, so to speak. Last week, ABC News in the U.S. also reported that Harper's chief of staff was the leaker. ABC reported that the confirmation came from someone "close to the Prime Minister." Now we're getting a second confirmation, this time from the CTV reporters who received the leak. Brodie apparently was chatting to a clutch of CTV reporters in our federal budget lockup last week, they passed the news to their Washington counterparts, and thus, Obama's troubles began.
And so, if Harper is looking to "get to the bottom" of this international incident, he need only look at the next office over.
A couple of things that shouldn't get lost in today's firestorm:
1. Brodie apparently also told CTV that Hillary Clinton offered similar reassurances to Canada - that all this talk of NAFTA was just campaign rhetoric. So why did CTV only pursue the Obama angle? And interestingly, CTV had not a word to say about this developing story on its news last night - at least the one I viewed at 10 p.m.
3. In ordinary times, heads should roll in Ottawa for how this government has responded to this incident and the whole controversy over whether a $1-million life-insurance policy was offered to the late MP, Chuck Cadman. The statements in the Commons and from the PMO to reporters, to be diplomatic, have hovered at the fringes of out-and-out untruths. I didn't write that last sentence lightly. These are tense and ugly affairs and many of us will be writing about them in the days to come.