Raitt & fated staffer share a cocktail in happier days.
This is not a political blog, nor do I wish it to become one.
Nonetheless, I spent most of my day fielding emails and calls from people who thought I might know Lisa Raitt better than them. Likely, I do, even though our encounters during the last campaign were restricted to all-candidates debates. My supporters also built a fat file of damning information on her tenure as head of Torontoâ€™s federal waterfront agency. The local media was not interested in passing that on to the voters. So, they got her as their MP.
Now they also have a rep who sees the medical isotope crisis as a great chance to build her career in Ottawa. So, she called the issue â€“ which is seeing cancer victims denied needed therapy â€“Â â€˜sexyâ€, one she was happy to â€œroll the diceâ€ on and take credit for solving.
This is the callous, egocentric chatter you hear a lot of in Ottawa. Reputations are made or broken in the â€œmanagingâ€ ofÂ â€œfiles.â€ Ministers or high-profile MPs who get their spins across in the media or QP can rocket in status overnight, and it’s that political momentum which is more important than the people affected by the actual issues.
This focus on party, leader and personal career is a cancer all its own eating away at the public body. It was at the basis of the dispute I had with the prime minister, and which cost me my party affiliation, my colleagues and my job. I argued that I worked for the people and answered to them above all. Stephen Harper was unwavering in his belief I worked for him, and voters second. He demanded I relent. I did not. You know the rest.
Mrs. Raitt is a very ambitious, career-oriented person. It defines her, I would say. Aggression has made her sharp, judgmental, combative and condescending. Clearly sheâ€™s also smart, accomplished, telegenic and marketable. Her entrance into cabinet in a significant role, and her placement in the Commons in the cameraâ€™s eye behind the PM, show the influence she can exert.
Unlike me, she places party above all. She sees herself on a political ladder to the sky, and her ministerâ€™s position is inherently partisan, rather than as a job to serve the people whose government it is.
Until last week, she was being touted as a Harper successor â€“ probably the ballsiest woman in a caucus already swimming in testosterone.
But, thatâ€™s gone. Leaving a secret briefing book in a TV studio was bad. Throwing her assistant under the bus was worse. Getting steamy about a crisis that could help her career, even while it devastated Canadian cancer patients was the mark of a person in politics for the wrong reason.
We have too many.