As if possible desecration of the host by Stephen Harper wasn't enough, it now appears his spokesperson, Dimitri Soudas, may be bearing false witness.
The Toronto Star has more of Soudas' attempted damage control this morning, where Dimitri makes the Conservative position very clear:
Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister, said that Harper "was offered communion, and accepted."Well that's a clear and fairly unambiguous statement. He says Harper didn't pocket it, and instead consumed it "within seconds." Except, as I said, the video evidence doesn't support that at all.
Soudas said he consumed the consecrated host immediately afterwards, within seconds of taking it from the priest, contrary to suggestions a video shows he did not.
"Unfortunately CBC cameras don't stay on the prime minister long enough sometimes," Soudas told reporters in L'Aquila, Italy, where Harper is attending a G8 summit.
Dimitri mentions the CBC cameras. Maybe they cut sooner, I don't know. Maybe he's just trying to distract his upset base by implying a Liberal media conspiracy. CPAC, however, stayed with the Prime Minister awhile, and it does not show Harper consuming the host "within seconds." Far from it. Rather, it shows him slipping the wafer down to his pocket, standing a bit as people around him consume the host, and then sitting down.
A longer version of the footage has appeared on YouTube. Take a look:
By my count, it stays with Harper at a good 20 seconds after he accepts the host from the priest. That should be well within Dimitri's window for consumption. Yet no sign the host ever left his pocket. There's a fraction of a second he's off when they change cameras, but he'd have to have lightning-quick reflexes to consume it within that window.
And as for why Harper accepted it in the first place:
Soudas explained that while Harper is a Protestant, "who is the prime minister to question a priest offering him communion."He's Stephen Harper, non-Catholic, that's who he is Dimitri. You can't expect a priest to know the religious affiliation and currency of every person at such a service. It's up to the individual to decline if ineligible, and to do so is perfectly acceptable.
Why he didn't is baffling, and why Soudas is compounding the mistake is even more so. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers