Rex has one final suggestion to scribble on Helena Guergis' stationery. And you thought the art of letter-writing was dead.
Read the transcript of this Point of View
Rex Murphy Point of View
April 1, 2010
The lads and lasses on Parliament Hill are off for an Easter recess - not a prorogration - that would be wrong - just a little break. And it’s easy to see why, after this week, they need one.
There was that matter of the “correspondence school” or “creative writing class” operating out of Helena Guergis’ increasingly scattered office. Just when, in the age of Blackberry and text messaging, we thought letter-writing was a dead art, we learned that a handful of the Minister’s aides whiled away the idle hours between their boss’s apologies in Question Period and her loud visits to PEI, writing letters to various newspapers and Maclean’s magazine celebrating that same boss’s many glorious virtues.
They wrote as fans, supporters, admirers of the Minister – which is touching – how many of us love the boss? The letters had the flavour of those cereal commercials when harassed housewives wax poetic about the virtues of Special K or Bran Flakes - you know, earnest but not convincing – but then paid enthusiasm doesn’t have the juice of the real thing.
But cute little aides that they were hid the consideration that they were her employees – and that these warm testimonials to their boss’s charm and efficiency, chastising the lurid media’s fascination with airport tantrums, boot-tossing and hellholes, were not without some self-interest, and partisan benefit.
A little like Smithers writing in praise of Mr. Burns, and signing it Barney.
One of the Guergis correspondence school doesn’t seem quite to understand that an aide writing letters to newspapers in support of her paymaster is a little out of line – she thinks it’s free speech – to quote her own eloquent words, at least I presume they are her own: “People are dying for that friggin’ right.” Absolutely. Dying for the right of exec assistants, in voter camouflage, to suck up to their boss in print
The aide continued that “she doesn’t care what Guergis thinks.” An aide doesn’t care what her Minister thinks? It was an old saying of Napoleon that every private should carry a Field Marshall’s baton in his knapsack, but this is carrying it a little far, don’t you think? Who’s the assistant here, and who’s the Minister?
Now I know why so many Canadians were against prorogation - we can’t get these soap operas when the House is closed. The big question for Stephen Harper this week goes like this: Was he grateful for Hillary Clinton taking attention from Helena Guergis, or Helena Guergis and her creative writing school taking attention away from Hillary Clinton?
The solution here is to have some guy in the PMO, under a nom de plume of course, write a letter explaining how hard it is for the PM when one of his Ministers looks like she’s auditioning for reality TV. And, maybe suggesting, just as a disinterested voter, mind you, that maybe it’s time for her to write a letter all by herself, a short one:
Dear Stephen, I resign. Helena.
I wouldn’t have him write any letters about Hillary though. Don’t agitate Mrs. Clinton. She writes her own letters.
For The National, I’m Rex Murphy.