Monday, June 17, 2013

The smear is backfiring 

Today's least surprising news story is that the nursing home foundation which sandbagged Justin Trudeau last week by complaining about how he owed them $20,000 has close ties to the Harper Cons.
Its pretty obvious what happened here -- the word went out from the PMO to the Con MPs "For heaven's or Harper's sake, please find something, anything, that we can smear Trudeau with so we can get Duffy off the front pages!"
So all of a sudden, Ottawa is buzzing about Trudeau's speaking fees. And Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall joined the chorus.
Trudeau initially gave the smear some legs by taking refuge in the "it wasn't me, it was the agency" excuse, and then the "it was perfectly legal" excuse before finally smartening up and declaring he would "make it right" for any charity who wanted to be reimbursed.
And today the smear is collapsing like a cheap suitcase:
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had called on Trudeau on Friday to repay the money charged to the Literacy for Life conference, but a spokeswoman said the organization would not be asking for the money back.
“The conference met our objectives,” said Veronica Baker, a spokeswoman at Saskatoon Public Schools, which organized the event. “Mr. Trudeau was hired to speak as an education advocate, not as an MP.”
A spokesman for an Eastern Ontario Catholic school board that paid Trudeau $15,000 for a speech at a professional development conference in May 2010 also said it would not be asking for any money back.
“His speech was well received by those in attendance,” Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board director of education Jody DiRocco said in an email.
“Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board has not considered a request to be refunded for the speaking engagement.”
UPDATE: I was just indulging in speculation when I blamed the Prime Ministers Office for this debacle -- but it has turned out to be true.

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