Memo to the new chief of staff, poor sod - Macleans.ca
 

Memo to the new chief of staff, poor sod

A few words of wisdom for the Prime Minister’s new right-hand man


 

 

Memo to the new chief of staff, poor sod

Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute Here's the thing: As a rule, the PM does not wish to be spoken to, looked at, drawn by children or otherwise disturbed. Your job is to make it so.

 

In the news: Nigel Wright, a prominent Bay Street executive, has been hired to run the Prime Minister’s Office.

Dear Successful Applicant:

Congratulations on being named chief of staff to Stephen Harper. You follow in a line of individuals who have occupied this important position until growing weary of the time commitment and spankings. As a general rule, Mr. Harper does not wish to be spoken to, looked at, thought about, drawn by children or otherwise disturbed—except in the event of a national emergency or the guys from Loverboy wanting to jam.

Before attempting to contact the Prime Minister, therefore, please consult this list of frequently asked questions:

What is the role of chief of staff?
The chief of staff is a critical buffer that shields the Prime Minister from painful ordeals, such as being reminded that his cabinet includes Stockwell Day.

What is my authority as chief of staff?
You have been granted sweeping authority to be slyly assigned with much of the blame for the Prime Minister’s future failings. Also, at staff meetings you get first pick of muffins (a.k.a. the Giorno Directive).

What’s clutching onto my leg?
That’s Tony Clement. He’s been trying to get a private meeting with the Prime Minister since 2007.

What should I do?
Get it off. GET IT OFF!

Where can I find the PMO staffers responsible for communications?
Mr. Harper’s spin team can be found on the first floor of Langevin Block. And on the second floor. And writing editorials for the National Post. There are additional aides stationed on a Canadian Forces transport that is kept airborne at all times to ensure that, in the event of imminent nuclear holocaust, Canadians can be informed that Mr. Harper invited the Barenaked Ladies up to Harrington Lake and it was delightful.

Where can I find the PMO staffers responsible for policy development?
The what now?

What is expected of me as chief of staff?
You are expected to instill discipline, improve legislative efficiency, ensure the government’s survival in a fragile minority . . .

Wow, that’s an awful lot to—
. . . enhance electoral prospects in urban centres, balance the divergent ideologies and priorities of Reformers and Progressive Conservatives and convince Canadians that Mr. Harper has within his chest a beating human heart (his own, preferably, but no one’s a stickler).

Anything else?
Whatever you do, don’t be bad at your job and get criticism or it will reflect poorly on Mr. Harper for hiring you. And whatever else you do, don’t be good at your job and get credit or it will reflect poorly on Mr. Harper when he gets jealous and bites you. There’s also the media: you must at all times keep the media wholly focused on the Prime Minister’s agenda.

How am I supposed to do that?
Whenever reporters start to have thoughts of their own, just send out a minister to claim that Canadian sovereign territory has been infringed upon by a Russian fighter jet, a dangerous Tamil freighter or a Harvard professor with hilarious eyebrows. If you can’t decide which “threat” to go with, there’s a wheel you can spin. (It’s just a matter of time until “expansionist Greenlanders in rowboats” finally comes up.)

I don’t know if I—
Oh, and Peter MacKay likes to challenge new chiefs of staff to a wrestle. It’s just an excuse for him to “accidentally” rip open his shirt.

Yikes. Why was I even picked for this position?
Your job at Onex Corp. was taking damaged assets, sprucing them up and trying to foist them on a skeptical marketplace, right? Same deal here.

One last question: I am suddenly regretting my decision to leave a lucrative Bay Street career where I had authority, money and happiness. What should I do?
I’d love to answer, but I think I hear a Russian jet.


 

Memo to the new chief of staff, poor sod

  1. Priceless!! :)

  2. I'm giving Wright 6 months, tops.

  3. Hilarious because it is true.

    I STILL don't understand how it is possible for Wright to go back to Onex right away if Harper's Accountability Act actually does what it is it was intended to do. Isn't the precisely what this was supposed to prevent.

    Can you image just how much insider knowledge Wright will have when he goes back to Onex. If the PM or any Senior Conservative Official gets named to the Board of Onex within 3 – 5 years of leaving office… the RCMP should be called.

  4. Are you really a sophomore, Mr Feschuk, or have you just got handy at writing for a sophomoric audience? This is a serious question.

    • No it isn't.

    • I don`t usually read Feschuk, but your scathing condemnation of the man ( so he`s a little bit adult-challenged ) was enough to convince me to read this latest blurb.
      I suppose it`s mildly amusing, but I just don`t see the humour in the constant slagging of Stockwell Day. Granted he was an ineffective leader 10 years ago and much mileage has been made about vague comments back then, however he has been a very competent and hard-working minister for the past few years—-probably a better second or third hand man then leader.
      Maybe, it`s a bit funny in a sophmore way.

      • . . . but I just don`t see the humour in the constant slagging of Stockwell Day.

        At least you spelled humour correctly.

        • What are you? His sister?

          • And even if you are? What do you have against . . . scathing condemnation . . . of a guy from Alberta that thinks your ancestors walked with dinosaurs? Ask him where the fecking oil came from?

          • Thanks for the Spelling Bee Award Jimmy Connors, and also, I`ve always had a few questions about the connection between dinosaurs and oil, like how many barrels of oil would the carcass of your average adult dino produce.
            And just what the heck were those dinosaurs doing wandering around sometimes several kilometres below the earth`s surface ?

      • "I just don`t see the humour in the constant slagging of Stockwell Day."

        Try looking at it from my perspective.

  5. This is the best thing I've ever read, or had read to me. We Liberal/Separatists have such a great sense of humour when it comes to slamming the Government. Brilliant "journalism! Take that Cons! This is exactly what we Liberal/Separatist party followers and "journalists" need to "get back to power". As long as we Liberal/Separatists have Scott and our other media whores fearing and smearing the Cons in the public eye we will get back to power before you can say "Adscam", or "Shawnigate"… Woo-Hoo! Good work Scott, keep it coming. Remember when PM JC use to use the RCMP as his own personal gestapo? We should do that to this Wright guy, cause sometimes smearing isn't enough. Intimidation can go a long way to getting us Liberal/Separatists "back to power"!! Take that Cons, you've been Feschuked!!

    • Trudeau lover – a pseudonym that doesn't fit you. Humoorous – nope, you haven't got the "it' factor at all. A poor imitation pleaseth not.

    • Trudeau lover – i don't want to write your comments for you, but wouldn't it have been simpler to just call me an a-hole?

      • Scott Feschuk – I don't want to write your comments for you, but wouldn't it have been simper just to call Trudeau lover and a-hole?

        • …an a-hole?

          (Damn!)

          • simpler

            (okay, okay)

      • Scott- I don't want to write your comments for you, but wouldn't it have been Liberaler to just call yourself an A-hole?

        • You should have quit while you were simply an *ss hole. I'm starting to think of adjectives. I suspect others are too.

    • I suspect you of being Wayne, but I'm not completely sure because there are no "Stevie-boy"s in it.

    • oh come on trudeau lover. we both know that if it were a liberal government was in power feschuck wouldn't go any easier on them. journalism? he's a fking humor columnist. give him a break.

  6. You've been amazing lately. I can only assume that politics have reached such a level of absurdity that it finally matches your writing.

  7. It’s funny because it’s true.