Taxpayers shelled out to pay a private image consultant to coach Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn for his televised appearance before a Commons committee in Ottawa yesterday.
"I think that it is a little pathetic that a minister of the Crown needs to turn to an image consultant before going before a committee hearing," said John Williamson, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
"This is the kind of spending that not only was the Reform party opposed to in opposition but it's also the kind of business taxpayers were told would end under a Stephen Harper government," he said.
The consultant used was the Ottawa firm McLoughlin Media, the same company the Mounties paid $25,000 to help former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli prepare for his appearance before parliamentary hearings.
Quite telling, that the government went the same route with Zaccardelli, who's every changing testimony suggested complete deception. In hiring this firm for Lunn, it demonstrates that the government was well aware of the need to protect Lunn from incriminating himself.
This debate has been reduced to public relations exercise. Lunn's need for a image consultant tells us that he needed help, the simple facts his adversary. What a damning revelation, that speaks to competence, knowledge of the issues, the need to spin and a concerted effort to mitigate damage to the government. Based on Lunn's appearance, and Zaccardelli before him, I recommend the government ask for a refund and find a new puppeteer.