Monday, December 12, 2005

The feet go in the shoes; Not in the mouth

What is it about Prime Ministers' Communications Directors that they can't seem to control their mouths in public?

In the latest gaffe by a PM communications director, Scott Reid, on a nationally televised panel discussion CBC News: Sunday, opened his mouth and jammed his foot in as far as it would go. He was criticizing the Conservative plan to give families $1200 annually as a child-care allowance when he said: (In context)

Don't give people 25 bucks a week to blow on beer and popcorn. Give them child-care spaces that work. Stephen Harper's plan has nothing to do with child care.

What form of brain-death does a supposedly intelligent and educated individual have to go through to emit such tripe? Certainly, criticize the Conservative plan. But don't lead into it by first insulting Canadian parents. And a Liberal communications director should have a better grasp on history, or is the 1944 Family Allowance Program (Baby Bonus) introduced by the then Liberal government, just too much corporate knowledge for Reid to maintain?

In November 2002, Francois Ducros, Communications Director for then Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in the presence of reporters, said of US President George W. Bush, "What a moron."

Whether Ducros' assessment of Bush was accurate or not, it was another example of a PM's communications director operating the mouth before engaging the brain and she was eventually forced to resign.

Reid has since apologized, but Canadians can be excused if they don't view this prime ministerial dilletante as an asset to either Martin's campaign or any future government he might form.

In the unlikely event that I was in the position of Paul Martin, I would have very few words for the likes of Reid after his communications screw-up: "Pack your gear. You're fired."

A word of advice for future and aspiring Prime Ministers. When interviewing those applying for the position of Communications Director, ask, "Do you ever think before you speak?" You might just get somebody with an acceptable level of intelligence.

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