Recently I was profiled by Susan Delacourt in her ongoing series about the SNC-Lavalin affair. Read the article in full below, or on the Toronto Star.
Everyone in politics is a communications expert, it’s said. The exception, as demonstrated throughout the past seven weeks of the SNC-Lavalin saga, appears to be almost everyone in Justin Trudeau’s government. The issues at stake in the SNC-Lavalin affair go well beyond good or bad communication strategy, obviously.
But the handling of the controversy is a chapter itself in some future manual on crisis management in politics — a case study in all the wrong ways to deal with serious challenges to government integrity.
This is a serious challenge. It requires more than tight scripts, half-answers and post-dated replies to allegations of impropriety at the highest levels of Trudeau’s government. Even when the government has tried to match one damaging leak for another — the latest being a report about Jody Wilson-Raybould’s questionable choice for a Supreme Court of Canada appointment — the effort only invites more controversy.
Ironically, the chronic communications fails were cast into stark relief on Tuesday when a lone Liberal MP showed how it was possible to meet the SNC-Lavalin controversy head on.
Granted, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith was part of yet another effort to keep a Commons committee from doing further inquiry into SNC-Lavalin, but he managed to do it without any of the ham-handed communications tactics that his fellow Liberals have been practising for nearly two months now.