Oliphant Extra Extra - If you thought Tom Flanagan had harsh words for Team Oliphant's research efforts ... - Macleans.ca

Oliphant Extra Extra – If you thought Tom Flanagan had harsh words for Team Oliphant’s research efforts …


(Note: The following post will probably make a lot more sense if you read this one first. )

Check out the official PMO response to the Thomas report on prime ministerial communication. Submitted under the virtually illegible signature of The Legendary Guy Giorno (tm Colleague Wells), it describes the paper as “a heavily flawed document that contains numerous errors” and “not based on input from anyone with actual knowledge of how the current PMO works and operates”, and advises the commission that “the many shortcomings” — which are painstakingly detailed throughout the subsequent eighteen pages — “hardly make it a basis on which the Commission should found recommendations.” Later, it accuses the author of making “serious allegations about Canadian public servants” based on “nothing more than Wiki-scholarship and American commentary.”

(Annoyingly, the formatting makes it impossible to copy/paste the highlights of these alleged “shortcomings”, so you’ll just have to click through to read the full litany of complaints.)

From what ITQ can see, at least some of the criticisms seem to be at least partially justified: for instance, given the difference in management styles between prime ministers, it probably would have been a good idea to interview at least a few people who had direct experience with the current PMO, although really,  given the high value that this government and this prime minister put on loyalty and discretion, who knows if they would have been willing to take part — or, if they were, whether they would have been willing to give a candid assessment of the state of interoffice communications. What happens in Langevin stays in Langevin — and if it doesn’t,  someone’s likely going to find themselves in a Giornoworld of trouble.

Other than that, there’s a lot of harrumphing over a lack of sources and/or citations for some of his observations, particularly related to “unsubstantiated” claims and comments on PMO. The unnamed author — true, I guess it could have been drafted by Giorno himself, but you’d think he’d have more pressing business than plunging into an academic flamewar also chides Thomas for his “untenable criticism of high standards,” and accuses the professor of suggesting that “error-free performance is an unworthy goal”. I’m not sure whether Thomas has responded to PMO’s less-than-rave review of his efforts, but if he has, and I can track it down, I’ll post a link. In the meantime, feel free to debate and discuss in the comments.