This doesn’t look good at all.
Five days before an election call, the communications director for an arms-length investigatory body checks with a minister’s office to see “whether the PMO has any concerns.” (The CTV story misspells the comms director’s first name; it’s Aarin.)
Four days after the writ drop, the minister’s comms director replies: “My Chief of Staff has just been told by PMO to hold off on the release of the report until after the election.”
(During the election campaign, when the delay into the report — which was about a safety-related death on water — became a matter of notoriety, the same Aarin Masson claimed to a reporter that the delay was due to difficulty in organizing a news conference. In case anyone is wondering whether that excuse is realistic, let me tell you: No. It’s asinine. I’ve seen officials pull together a technical briefing on a complex topic on half a day’s notice, dozens of times. Officials are usually functionally bilingual; when they aren’t, simultaneous translation is provided automatically for any event in the National Press Theatre.) “There’s nothing to hide, we’re sticking to the plan,” Masson said. Well, not quite: the plan, as the new emails show, was to hide. So there was something to hide, but they were sticking to the plan.
This is unacceptable. The latest round of denials is as transparently false as the first several rounds of denials were.