UPDATE: It took 59 hours and 117 comments, but we finally have someone writing in defence of Jane Taber. Fittingly, they do so while remaining anonymous. See the comments below.
I know you’re all very busy, and I worry about you. I don’t want you to miss out on any big developments in the world of Canadian politics. So I’ve done you the solid of summarizing the many revelations contained in Jane Taber’s Saturday column in the Globe:
1. The Prime Minister is currently “pretty laid-back. He’s pretty calm.” This quote comes courtesy of a “Conservative caucus member.” One can understand why the MP would demand the cloak of anonymity for such an incendiary and seditious remark.
2. The Prime Minister is “focused.” Polls, the census controversy, the Helena Guergis affair – these are all “mere irritants” (Jane’s description) or “white noise” (the description provided by “one veteran caucus source”). Question: does that mean the source is a veteran of the caucus or a veteran of being one of Jane’s sources? Is this “source” the same “source” as the “Conservative caucus member?” Does Jane Taber go “off the record” with everyone she talks to, or also inanimate objects like boxes and hat racks?
3. The Prime Minister “likes governing,” in the words of a “senior Conservative official” who was granted anonymity because who the hell knows. Funny story: When I was in journalism and an actual reporter at The Globe and Mail, I was informed that anonymous sources were to be used only in the context of conveying factual, important and useful information or revelations that would otherwise not make it to print. I must have tuned out before my editor said they could also be used to assist in performing the reportorial equivalent of a happy ending on a public figure.
4. Michael Ignatieff? “Wishy-washy,” according to a very seniory super-inside long-time party whatever. A Liberal source reached for comment responded: “ ,” because a Liberal source wasn’t asked for comment.
5. John Baird as House Leader “is going to be a game changer” for the government, says someone in the government.
6. Stephen Harper spent part of Canada Day jamming at Harrington Lake with the Barenaked Ladies.
Let me pause and take a moment here. You know what: Too often, we in the media focus on the negative – on the forgotten promises, the failed efforts, the outright lies. So it’s a pleasure to be able to praise Stephen Harper for his foresight and his honesty.
Back in June, 2007, Harper snubbed Bono during a G8 summit. Perhaps you remember this moment? The U2 singer had requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss Canada’s contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa – to which Harper replied: “Meeting celebrities isn’t my shtick. That was the shtick of the previous guy.”
During the ensuing three years, Harper has stayed true to his word. Time and again, he has proved that meeting celebrities isn’t his “shtick.” It’s apparently his “full-time occupation.”
Barenaked Ladies, Taylor Swift, Bryan Adams, Chad Kroeger, Michael Buble – and all in the span of the past few months. A full plate. Further kudos to our Prime Minister for using these celebrity encounters to get autographs, jam and play ping-pong rather than sully them with anything so tedious and scorn-worthy as efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
7. It was, for the Prime Minister, “a good summer.” This isn’t a quote from a senior Conservative source or a veteran caucus member or a super-senior double-secret invisible party uber-insider. These are the words of Jane Taber herself. I’m as confused as you as to why she didn’t demand anonymity from herself.
Sunday, August 15, 2010