Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Multiple staffers astroturfing on Guergis' behalf

First up, there's the staffer with the interesting last name, Jessica Craven, Helena Guergis' assistant, who likes to write creatively in her spare time in defence of her boss, namely letters to the editor of the local Simcoe-Grey newspapers. Totally as a private citizen, she says. And with no idea that said activity was utterly unethical and inappropriate for a paid staffer to do. Then her boss weighed in today, only when the jig was up, and lo and behold: "Guergis pleads ignorance of assistant's letters."
“She advised me of the situation,” Guergis said during Question Period on Tuesday. “We did discuss that it was inappropriate. She apologized and assured me that it will not happen again."
You'd almost be tempted to believe that ignorance thing. But apparently there's another Guergis staffer who's done the same thing. One random over-enthusiastic staffer, maybe. Two? That changes everything. Something's up here and Guergis should be held accountable for the 1984ish p.r. emanating out of her office.

The Conservatives have a history of such astroturfing. More recently they were seen using a Conservative Senator to pen letters to the editor to discredit experts who have spoken publicly on issues that are politically damaging to the Conservatives. So really, it's not a stretch to believe that the letter writing is a Conservative tactic that's encouraged within the party, despite what we're hearing today.

Accountability for Guergis, whatever will it be? Probably nothing for the time being. Maybe a shuffle out of cabinet down the road when Harper gets around to it. Acting immediately to send a message that such behaviour is unacceptable in his government is really what's warranted though.

One standard for Conservative MPs, another for everybody else...