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Favored for two speeches!

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Published on February 27, 2015 with No Comments

Writing speeches for $9209! You have to be extra brilliant! Paying that much for two speeches, you have to be sitting tightly over taxpayers’ money. Privilege of earning that weird amount goes to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, when he was “working” for then minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver.

Viewpoint1To set certain records straight and to state some facts, Joe Oliver now stands promoted as the Finance Minister of Canada. There were objections from the staff of the department at the time of signing of the contract. The person on whom the ruling conservative bestowed such goodies is none other than Guy Giorno. Giorno has certain other distinctions. He has served as campaign co-chair for the Conservatives’ 2011 election campaign.

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The issue came to fore through documents obtained by Liberals and came up for discussion at House of Commons, and Oliver avoided answering direct questions. But offered explanation to a radio station, “I did an enormous amount of work writing my own speeches and getting drafts from the department and others, but sometimes there’s just so much going on that I needed a bit of help. This was kind of a last-minute deal so we decided to use someone from the outside who, you know, is very good at writing speeches. So that’s the story.” Oliver’s concept of seeking “help” for that much amount that to for two speeches indicates of a bigger nexus and some favouritism. The same became apparent with Liberals disclosing contents of an email. The contract for the speech writing was approved by Oliver’s former chief of staff, David Forestell. Oliver’s office went around normal purchasing rules because they needed the speeches “quickly” and “the minister is comfortable with the style and tone of this speechwriter.” Interestingly the actual text of the speeches, delivered on March 6 and March 30, is unknown and was not included in the documents requested by the Liberals.
Treasury Board guidelines require all contracts over $10,000 to be disclosed publicly. Giorno’s contract came in just under that amount. Were there directions by Minister Oliver to keep contractual amount under $ 10,000? Liberals also highlighted that they would have had no way of knowing whether the paperwork for the contract was done before or after they were commissioned.
The minister has certain questions to answer: What does Giorno know about Natural Resources? What does Giorno know about Natural Resources policy? Were his skill sets suitable to the requirements of the department? Did the minister being comfortable over-ride all other considerations and thats why certain rules were not cared for? A check on the latest role being performed by Giorna reveals that he is now practicing law with Fasken Martineau-the international law firm. Last year Fasken Martineau was in focus of media, when Toronto Star reported that Fasken Martineau had been retained by the Conservative Party of Canada as Legal advisor.
Giorna has been associated with the Conservative Party, or the Conservative government in one way or the other- Harper’s chief of staff, campaign co-chair for the Conservatives’ 2011 election campaign, assisting a minister for writing his speeches to associated with a law firm that is retained as Legal advisor. There have to be some special attributes with Giorno that he finds favour from the Conservative party in one form or the other.
Paying for getting speech prepared is a waste of money, and the same stand proved in the deal so signed between Joe Oliver and Guy Giorno. At the same time, the whole affair is a poor reflection on how the Conservative government perceives its staff as-Incompetent. Our leaders believe in “common sense”. Education and experience of public servants is overridden and consultants are hired to prepare speeches for an amount on which many Canadians survive for the whole year .Will the government bother to set the record straight?

 

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