Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dear Helena Guergis: Don’t quit!

I know I’ll be swimming against the tide here, but if I had one piece of advice for Helena Guergis it would be this: don’t quit!

Certainty, the Liberal Party isn’t offering that same advice. They just moved a press release succinctly titled: Minister Guergis must step down. I agree with all of the reasons cited in the release, from her staff letter writing club to her airport meltdown and, well, her just plain general incompetence for the job. She shouldn’t be a cabinet minister in the Government of Canada. She is plainly just not up to the job.

Why, then, do I not want her to resign? Because of all the grief and abuse she has been taking from her own party leadership who, instead of backing her up, have cut her adrift, and have taken to giving comments on background to every reporter on Parliament Hill bad-mouthing her, insulting her personally, and expressing their strident wish that they be free of this meddlesome woman.

When her male cabinet colleague, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, was in an airport incident of his own involving a now infamous bottle of tequila, what did a senior government official tell CTV? "He remained polite. He didn't pull a Helena apparently." Classy, throwing your own minister under a bus like that. The Conservative punditry such as former Harper communications guy Kory Teneycke, usually tightly scripted by the Harper PMO, have been unleashed to attack Guergis and demand she quit.

They’ve also certainly been feeding Bob Fife lots of anti-Guergis vitrol. This piece he filed today is a doozy, where he reports Conservative officials have told him Guergis has a revolving door of staff, has made no friends in caucus, PMO officials want her to resign to end the misery (they’re praying before a Buddha, apparently), no one in caucus or the party is defending her, she’s not very popular, no one really likes her in caucus, and so on. They also reportedly won't let her join in any reindeer games.

If you believe that we wouldn’t be hearing all this negativity on Guergis from official Conservative circles without Harper’s say-so, then I have a bridge in New York to sell you. It is obvious that the Harper Conservatives have launched a campaign to make Guergis as unwelcome as possible in the hopes that she will just take the hint, do them a favour, and just go away already.

A Guergis resignation would solve all their problems. They’d be free of the dead-weight, and could say how they’re so sorry to see her go, they’ll miss her, what a shame, etc. If they boot her out involuntarily, it’s more of a reflection on Harper: how could he have appointed someone so obviously unqualified in the first place, and why didn’t he cut her loose sooner?

What’s happening now is all about the optics and framing of her inevitable departure, whether it’s now, or later in the next shuffle. It’s also all in the very spirit of constructive dismissal (not legally, of course, since ministers serve at pleasure).

So that’s why I make this plea to Helena Guergis: don’t resign. No matter how many dirty stares they give you in the hallway, or nasty things Conservative surrogates say about you on Power and Politics, don’t give in. Don’t let them win, and give them the satisfaction of seeing you slink away. Just keep enjoying the ministerial limo and the business-class travel (just get to the airport on time, please) until the Harper crew finds some stones.

Don’t quit, Helena.

If they really want rid of you, make them fire you.

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CanadianSense said...

I agree because the opposition are so consumed by it and have little substance left.

During the campaign they can point to her and her husband.

By sending more Liberals to Ottawa we can get more important issues covered in QP.

I am still impressed by Alps reference H1N1 Katrina comments. I understand this helps with fundraising.

Ignore national issues. Little traction.

Economy, Jobs, Healthcare are issues that should take a back burner to Conservative MP hissy fits, staff gone wild, husbands who escape Liberals tough on crime agenda.

I am glad we both agree on the priorities for the next campaign issues for the opposition.

Niles said...

By all precedents, she'll do what she's told backstage. Her future employment outside government likely depends on it.

I'd like to hear what they're saying about the staffers who did all this.

If HG is publically and rudely dispensable, but the Public Relations gang is not, doesn't that indicate the back-roomers doing the dirty work are more vital to Harper's PMO 'governance' than the MPs?

Harper just slaps another obedient 'face' out front of the trix kidz and his agenda goes on.

Andrew said...

I agree- Helena Geurgis is the gift that keeps on giving. Imagine how much more trouble she can start if she goes rogue?

Jeff said...

CS, I think it's highly debatable who is more consumed by it: the government side or the opposition. I can confirm though that no one in the OLO is praying to Buddha for her to quit. Unlike the PMO...

CanadianSense said...


We both poke fun of each other's party. Cool.

We both ask for substance to be debated in parliament via QP.

Can you list what substance since 2006 has been introduced and passed by the majority of MP's in the opposition?

During campaigns the Gov't will have their track record good bad ugly.

What does the opposition have?

Big Winnie said...

Harper won't fire her because if he'd wanted to, he would have done so while Parliament was prorogued and the cabinet was shuffled. To do so now, would make him look incompetent in the eyes of the people/opposition.

RuralSandi said...

Check out Susan Delacourt's blog today about this. Interesting.

CS - hard to talk about other issues because Harper won't answer questions and he keeps secrets, lots and lots of secrets.

RuralSandi said...

Geez, this reminds me (CS that is) of the neverending, daily rants from, of all people, Rahim Jaffer on pizza lunches. Oh, don't forget the gum issue - we could go on.

Jeff said...

Can you list what substance...

I'll save that for a thread where it would be even remotely on topic, thanks.

Jeff said...

Winie, even if he didn't want to can her after the airport thing, I think with each subsequent incident his patience wears increasingly thin. It's been a real drip-drip of incompetence and embarrassment.