It’s the kiss of death for a cabinet minister when the prime minister issues a statement saying he has confidence in him or her.
“The Prime Minister has confidence in his Minister of Public Works” was the word from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s spokesperson on Jan. 9, 2002, when the minister in question was a man named Alfonso Gagliano, who was facing allegations of patronage. Six days later, he was dropped from cabinet in a shuffle.
So you can imagine how Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt feels that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has confidence in her, after her latest embarrassment.
It seems her aide had mistakenly left a tape recorder with a mistakenly-recorded private conversation in a bathroom (this was before she was fired for mistakenly leaving “secret” ministerial documents at CTV), and that tape got into the hands of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.
After successfully fighting off an injunction to stop its publication, the Herald put the tape online last night and is going to see its hit count skyrocket over the next few days.
Opposition MPs are, of course, outraged to hear a cabinet minister think that a cancer treatment crisis is “sexy”. Except, it is sexy from a political and journalistic perspective, if not a human one. And opposition MPs were just as outraged at Raitt yesterday in question period.
Neverthless, Raitt’s days as a cabinet minister are numbered. Not because she’s incapable of handling the portfolio (though she probably is), not because she has poor choice of staff (though she does), and not because she doesn’t have a soul (she doesn’t, and neither does any other politician), but because she got caught talking about the stuff that every politician thinks but no one will admit publicly.
And so Raitt will be replaced by some other politician who’s better at lying and keeping things out of the grubby hands of the press. And our government will continue to be run by people who can manage their image instead of people who can do their jobs.
Such is politics, I guess.
Now if you’ll excuse me, question period is about to start. And it’s gonna be gooooood.