If Ian Davey is looking for a model to emulate when it comes to handling the media and caucus...
OTTAWA — Ian Davey is Michael Ignatieff's principal secretary and he admires Stephen Harper's steely control over the national media and the Conservative caucus.
More than once, Mr. Davey has dismissed a reporter's attempt to get behind the scenes of a Liberal decision, noting the Harper Tories do not allow the media that kind of access.
...I'd suggest Stephen Harper is really not the example he should be choosing to follow. And certainly not the model he should tell the media he's emulating, for pete's sake.
I do absolutely agree with the need for stricter message discipline, and for an end to the leaky chorous of senior anonymous jerkwad leaks that plauged the Dion administration. But rather than Harper, there is a much more suitable, effective, and politically acceptable model to follow that's much closer to home, a petite gars that charmed the media on his own terms and kept his caucus in line with a steel fist inside a velvet glove: Jean Chretien.
Jean knew how to deal with the media, how to keep his caucus on message, and what to do with nervous nellies. He exercised the message control of Harper, and without the dickishness. Maybe it's a subtle distinction, but I think it's an important one.
As for the Newfoundland MPs. as I heard of this story I couldn't help but feel a certain sense of vindication, in that all along I've been saying don't get too close to, or put your trust, in Danny Williams. He's a time-bomb, and he'll only be your friend as long as its in his interests. Which is fine, he's doing his job, just be wary is all.
And he has actually been fairly reasoned so far in his budget rhetoric regarding Ignatieff, and the Newfoundland Liberal MPs. I'm no equalization expert, he may well have a point. And I can respect the position of those MPs elected in large part on this issue who feel they need to vote against this budget.
In a sense because of that I'm fine with letting them vote their conciense but at the same time, I wonder, if Ignatieff lets them go offside here, does it set a precedent for the future? Hopefully the caucus as a whole can discuss it and come to a comprimise agreement. Maybe push the Cons to clarify the equalization situation and correct it in the enabling legislation, while allowing the Newfound MPs to miss the vote. I don't know. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers