Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"we think it would be more damaging to have him appear than not appear at this point."

David Akin has the fascinating email exchange, wherein Baird seemingly ducks the OGGO Committee, apparently afraid to face the public on his stimulus spending progress:
From: Marcotte, Michel
To: Shamoon, Rana
Sent: Thu Apr 09 09:02:11 2009
Subject: RE: OGGO

I understand Minister Baird will appear before the SC on Transport between 3 :00 and 4 : 00 p.m.. Are you sure he cannot appear before the SC on Government Operations and Estimates, between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m., on the Infrastructures side of the stimulus package? The plan is to have a televised meeting with Ministers (Department officials already appeared last week) on the status of the 3 $ Billions envelope.

Michel Marcotte
Procedural Clerk / Greffier à la procédure
Committees Directorate / Direction des comités
House of Commons / Chambre des communes

To which Marcotte gets this very odd reply from Shamoon:

From: Shamoon, Rana
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 9:14 AM
To: Michel Marcotte Cc: Baldwin, Kristin; Hamilton, Ben
Subject: Re: OGGO

Hi Mike - as already discussed this at the strategy meeting, we really are not trying to be difficult but we think it would be more damaging to have him appear than not appear at this point.

Rana Shamoon

Apart from accountability now being a strategic decision, this odd refusal to attend is tantamount to an admission of failure. The only conclusion to the "damaging" characterization, Baird has nothing to show the OGGO Committee and he would be exposed. The government has been wonderful at re-announcing old expenditures as though part of new stimulus, but when it comes to moving quickly, as they initially argued, there is apparently little to report. Given that Baird is a skilled blowhard, who has the rare ability to make nothingness look substantive (see term as Min of Env), the fact that he still won't appear really does speak to potentially embarrassing admissions.

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