CFN – This past week we have seen Prime Minister Harper keep with tradition and stand during Question Period to defend two of his embattled ministers. One has to wonder why?
The foul ups and bad optics that Veteran Affairs minister Fantino created for himself, should not require the Prime Minister to defend him. It is his department and the buck stops with Fantino. Ministers have to know their files. This includes knowing whether funding announcements are accurate and being prepared to answer all questions on their implications. Ministers require a lot of political sense too. How can one not understand the backlash that would come from shutting local Veteran Affairs offices or the political damage that would result in a pre-election year?
Ministers also have to understand that cameras and mics should always be treated as on. That is pretty basic stuff really. Fantino’s highly publicized meetings and missteps with veterans and a veteran’s widow leave you shaking your head. The optics were horrible and the backlash predictable.
Speaking of poor optics, Leona Aglukkaq sitting in the House reading a newspaper while ignoring serious questions on the northern food program (which directly impacts her riding) is one of the worst examples I have seen in decades on the Hill. The arrogance and lack of concern it displayed was stunning for its stupidity. All by herself she created her own Marie Antoinette moment and it will haunt her for years to come. Over the last few years the only one that beats that is probably Pierre Trudeau giving people the “Salmon Arm salute”. Arrogance is costly and never wins votes for you or your party. Aglukkaq should be run into the House ASAP and stand and apologize, it is the least she can do.
Over the years the Conservatives have made it a habit of designating other ministers to take questions when someone is in trouble. However, it is much better to let the offender take the heat for their actions. Like his Liberal predecessors, it is unlikely that Harper will fire either one of them when they are under attack. That is a victory he will not give to the opposition parties. The ministers will be dealt with later.
For now the Prime Minister has done what is required, IE stood up once and defended them. Now it’s time for him to sit down and let the ministers swing on their own.
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