The perils of a long-distance relationship

The premier's office seems to be standing behind its decision to comment on the recognition of Quebec as nation via opinion-editorial - rather than respond to repeated interview requests from the press gallery. On Monday, we reported some legislative scribes were less than enthusiastic about Gordon Campbell's apparent decision to release that screed exclusively to The Globe and Mail and the National Post, ignoring the gallery. But, in an email sent to past press gallery president and Canadian Press legislative correspondent Scott Sutherland, the premier's press secretary explains comment wasn't provided last week because a response to that issue "had yet to be determined."

"Further complicating matters," continued Mike Morton "was the significant time change" between British Columbia and China, where the premier was touring. And that change "did not allow for a convenient time to call" the gallery. Mr. Morton then added the administration has "always communicated directly with individual print media such as the Globe and Mail, the National Post and others if the issue has a national context." The following is a complete copy of that email.

***

-----Original Message-----
From: Morton, Michael J PREM:EX
To: Sutherland, Scott
CC: Steeves, Dale PREM:EX; Keenan, Jason PREM:EX; Cox, Wendy; Bailey, Ian; Leyne, Les
Sent: Tue Nov 28 11:28:34 2006
Subject: RE: Harper Nation motion

Hi Scott. While I can take partial credit for the decisions surrounding Hartley Bay last March, as far as this op-ed is concerned, I was on a plane approximately 1000kms west of the Aleutian Islands when it was in the process of being distributed. Further, while you and Sean Leslie both e-mailed me late last week asking for a comment from the Premier regarding the Quebec resolution, the Premier's response to it had yet to be determined. Further complicating matters, was the significant time change that did not allow for a convenient time to call back to British Columbia.

As you know, op-eds are undertaken for print media, not radio or television. I appreciate that Canadian Press is a wire service that has an affiliation with many newspapers throughout Canada but we have always communicated directly with individual print media such as the Globe and Mail, the National Post and others if the issue has a national context.

As an illustration, last July, we sent out an op-ed under the Premier's name titled "The Key to Canada," focusing on equalization, leading up to the the Council of the Federation meetings. It was published in the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail and other newspapers throughout the country. I do not recall the Canadian Press taking issue with this op-ed nor any other one that has been distributed and published in this manner in the past.

In closing, I do hope that this helps to clarify the matter for you and if you would like to discuss it further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Michael Morton
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
British Columbia

2 Comments

Ever hear the word "GobblyGook" Gordon pops up in some other place, sets a policy and is unavailable for questioning. He dind't even bother to appear in the house for the very short session. He screwed up big time getting rid of the Children and fammilies Representatve and would have continued stonewalling , but Ted Hughes showed the Liberals had made a mess of things. Gordo eat crow? not likely.

Has anyone explained to the premier that his bleating over the need to recognize Canada's First nations as nations as well, was just a bit silly.

Especially so in light of this dumb reply from Gordo's head flack "the premier's response to it had yet to be determined."

Maybe the premier missed it but our Constitution, which was enacted since he learned to read (I presume), enshrines nation status on First Nations.

Perhaps Morton will gently advise the premier not to tilt at windmills until he understands which way is up.

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