Senators say the darndest things. Today, during the Senate’s Question Period, Liberal Senator Jane Cordy asked Marjory Lebreton, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, about the conduct of certain staffers within the Prime Minister’s Office. Cordy was referring to a missive a PMO communications staffer, reportedly Erica Meekes, sent to the newsroom of the Barrie Advance. The subject matter was Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s paid speaking engagement at Georgian College, and the PMO wanted the paper to report nasty things about how the college suffered financially after paying Trudeau. The note came with a pre-condition: if the paper reported its contents, Meekes would be quoted as “a source.” The paper called out the PMO for sending out unsolicited attacks.
Cordy’s question, then, went as follows.
Do you believe it is appropriate for a staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office, one who is being paid out of the budget of the Privy Council, to be gathering and distributing information with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the leader of another political party? Frankly, I do not consider this partisan exercise to be of public service in nature. Perhaps the honourable senator can enlighten me on the matter?
Lebreton responded and wrapped up with a heavy dose of honesty.
What planet do we all live on here? Whether it is the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Prime Minister or a minister of the Crown, we all have duties to perform that relate to our work as members of the government, in my case, or as members of the opposition, in your case; and we have people who work for us on our political files. I do not see anything unusual about that. Certainly, someone on the public payroll working for your leader spends a lot of his time spinning out stories, some true, some not true, on this side politically. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the business we are in.
The “nature of the business” is to spend “a lot of” time “spinning out stories… some not true”? Anyone who watches politics knows that’s a no-brainer, but that the government’s leading voice in the Senate so honestly stated it for the record is, well, worth remembering—you know, any time a government spokesman claims anything, at all, ever, to be truthful.