Saturday, February 05, 2011

Worth an answer

Not that we expect much more from Jane Taber. But her fluff piece on Jenni Byrne manages to break what should be a serious story while managing to completely miss its significance:
But it was her stint at the PMO as director of issues management that cemented her reputation as tough but effective.

The job involved daily damage control; she started at 6:30 a.m. with a conference call to ministerial staffers, gauging the issues, troubleshooting and helping to frame the government’s response.

“She turned issues management into a tiger operation,” says a former colleague.

A senior staffer recalls a conference call during the H1N1 crisis when Ms. Byrne, unhappy with how it was being handled, ordered a plane that was heading from Mexico be turned around after discovering there was no health officer to screen for the virus at the airport.

The whole time the staffer said he was thinking, “Can she do that?”
Now, if I'm missing something that would give political staff in the PMO the authority to make decisions about air traffic control, I'm curious to hear what it is.

But absent some indication to the contrary, the answer to the staffer's question would seem to be a glaring "no". And if Byrne's appointment serves as yet another example of the Cons rewarding Harper loyalists who couldn't care less what the law says where it interferes with their desire to exercise total control, then surely that signals a need to dig much deeper into what Byrne and others have done to usurp the role of those who actually have legal authority and responsibility.

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