Just wondering ... about just visiting
There have been a couple of comments on a previous post, as well as some chitter chatter around Parliament Hill, about this whole bizarre briefing yesterday on the Conservative attack ads.
From what I can put together about this event, various reporters were invited to a briefing by the Prime Minister's Office in the morning. Madcap folks that they are, they expected that a briefing by the PMO would be about, well, PMO business. That's government business. Not Conservative business.
When the media pack got there, they found out that two officials, let's call them Kory Teneycke and Dimitri Soudas (as CanWest did), had taken a leave from their jobs. Just a one-day leave, so they could be Conservative partisans and talk to reporters about the ads they were releasing. (As an aside, but not an insignificant one -- I think this is stretching the ethical limits just about to the brink. I hope these two fellows were absolutely scrupulous about not doing any PMO work yesterday.)
Reporters took part in this briefing if they agreed to honour the rules set by Kory and Dimitri. They all struggled with it. It's not every day that taxpayer-financed public servants are allowed to jump into a telephone booth, and leap out of it as caped crusaders for the Conservative cause.
Hey, now that I think about it, what were Kory and Dimitri doing yesterday at the PMO? "Just visiting," I guess.
But all the reporters gave their word to honour the strange request, calculating that it was better to tell readers/viewers/listeners about the ads than to remain in the dark.
The Star honours its word. We entered that briefing in good faith, believing it to be a PMO briefing. We reluctantly gave our word to go along with this silly one-day leave thing from PMO officials, figuring you, the readers, should be able to at least hear the rationale we were hearing for this new attack-ad spree. We don't break our word. That's that.
But we also won't get fooled again. Next time the PMO calls and invites us to a briefing, we'll be asking whether it's government or partisan business. I recognize that is sometimes an impossible distinction to make in this town right now. I hope someone over there in Langevin still knows -- and cares -- about the difference.