Guergis, under fire for her recent airport incident and other matters, missed a scheduled appearance at a Conservative conference on Friday afternoon. Then we had the intervening weekend. Then we had Guergis absent from Question Period today:
On Monday, Guergis did not attend question period in the House of Commons, but did appear before a committee meeting on the status of women.John Baird and Chuck Strahl answered the questions pertaining to her portfolio. Why a minister of the Crown can't both attend a committee hearing and answer questions in the House of Commons pertaining to her ministry and her own actions is deserving of scrutiny.
Then we have a PMO Communications staffer on hand to witness the Guergis appearance. Innocent enough, right? Likely not. As we are suggesting, Guergis was probably prepped for her appearance today, to no end, and they wanted to see how it went. Recall the reporting about Gary Lunn hiring consulting help to prep him for his Natural Resources Committee hearings at the height of the first Chalk River shutdown:
Not that the appearance was substantive enough for anyone looking for any hard answers on the impact of the Economic Action Plan on women's economic fortunes, for example. No such answers. With a bland, statistics filled opening statement combined with some assisted softballs from Conservative colleagues ("Please tell us about..."), in an hour long appearance, there's only so much in the way of questioning and cross-examination that can take place.
Guergis probably did enough today to satisfy the PMO for now, as prepped as she likely was. That's probably all this government wants out of a Status of Women minister in any event. A scripted bare pass, not maintaining eye contact for a chunk of it, that's what today was and they're likely just fine with that.