Michael Ignatieff’s new Director of Communications has an interesting background

“Everything old is new again” is the buzz coming from Liberals and journalists in Ottawa. Peter Donolo’s the new boss of the OLO shop (the Dunno-LO as one journalist told me weeks ago) and today we’ve learned that he’s finally put some new key players in place after the wholly awkward ejection of Davey/Fairbrother.

Among the “fresh” faces is Michael Ignatieff’s new Director of Communications, Mario Laguë, a man the CBC’s Rosemary Barton tells us is among the new gang that “[knows] Quebec inside-out”.

But, a Lexis-Nexis/Informart plunge into the past tells us more!

It appears that Mario Laguë was not only hired by Paul Martin to put a brave face on the sponsorship scandal, but Ignatieff’s new D.Comm was also part of a three-man panel with Chuck Guité that hired then Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano’s Chief of Staff to replace Guité, who was retiring. Stephen Harper, then opposition leader, criticized the hire saying the sponsorship scandal could have been stopped if a senior bureacrat was hired in the position instead.

Affidavit shows how Guité was replaced Document reveals membership of team that chose boss for sponsorship program — The Globe and Mail, October 18th, 2005 by Daniel Leblanc.

OTTAWA — An affidavit prepared by the Public Service Commission for the Gomery inquiry sheds new light on the controversial hiring of a former Liberal aide to head the sponsorship program in 1999, including the role of a federal official who would become an aide to Prime Minister Paul Martin.

The inquiry heard conflicting testimony about how Pierre Tremblay, then the chief of staff to then public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, was hired to replace retiring bureaucrat Chuck Guité. Mr. Guité said he rigged the process at Mr. Gagliano’s behest; the former minister denied any political interference.

The affidavit, which went unnoticed when it was tabled in May, shows that Mr. Tremblay’s hiring was approved by a three-member selection board made up of Mr. Guité, Public Service Commission executive resourcing consultant Michael Carey, and Mario Laguë, a long-time Liberal supporter who became Mr. Martin’s first director of communications when he became Prime Minister. The affidavit said Mr. Tremblay was hired “based on the recommendation of the selection board.”

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said yesterday the problems with the sponsorship program could have been stopped if an experienced civil servant had been hired in 1999 instead of Mr. Tremblay. The problems continued until an RCMP investigation was launched in 2002, but by then Mr. Tremblay was working in another federal agency.

When Prime Minister Paul Martin was in office he hired Laguë to “cover-up” the sponsorship scandal according to opposition Conservatives at the time.

Assistant to PM contributed to cover-up, opposition says Mario Lague included in strategy sessions when problems first surfaced, e-mail says; Mario Lague included in strategy sessions when problems first surfaced, e-mail says — The Globe and Mail, February 20th, 2004 by Campbell Clark

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Paul Martin’s communications director was a key player in the Chrétien government’s efforts to put the best face on serious problems in the sponsorship program in 2000, government records show.

Opposition politicians focused many attacks in the Commons yesterday on Mario Lague, Mr. Martin’s communications director, insisting he was involved in efforts to “cover up” the sponsorship scandal, which saw millions misused from 1996 to 2002.

Mr. Martin fought back, asserting that Mr. Lague “was not involved in the management of the sponsorship file.”

However, records show that Mr. Lague was included in top-level meetings to plan strategy when problems began to emerge. An e-mail from September, 2000, obtained by an independent researcher and provided to The Globe and Mail, indicates that Mr. Lague was one of a small group of senior officials and political aides who plotted to put the best face on a damaging audit.

Comments

comments

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    Great post again. Why did they choose veterans that will be easy targets to rekindle the links and ties?

  • Beer and Popcorn

    Looks like the Liberal$ are bringing in all the top spin talent in a desperate attempt to halt their 5 year slide into irrelevance.

    The problem is, they are caught in spin cycle. The more they long for the good old days, the more they will import more problems back into their current situation.

    There is no saying how far they can dip until they come clean.

  • hollinm

    Obviously Donolo found the pickings slim so he had to resort to retread some of those he knew in the Chretien government. Already now we see the Dir of Comm has been tagged in the old sponsorship scandal. The Bloc will have fun with that in Quebec.
    I expect with a little more digging we will find more skeltons in the closets of those now filling the senior ranks in the OLO.
    Donolo can change the deck chairs on the titantic but it is the leader who is ultimately the face of the party and Canadians have shown they don't much like him.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    The slide has been longer, in 2000 they won 40% of the POP. Since 2000-2008 they have dropped in every “official” Poll and now sit at 26.3% breaking a record held since 1867.

    I did a line graph with the CA+PC and without on my site a few days ago. The Liberals don't get it, how far they have fallen and changing leaders and slogan won't save them from the dustbin.

  • m123T

    The first thing these newbie have to learn is, they are now working for the opposition party, they can't bribe anyone with taxpayers money. Perhaps if iffy quit talking about how PMSH has done nothing in 4 years, and paid attention to facts instead of fiction he might get up to 28% in the polls. He will never be the PM of Canada. Until the liberals in caucus realize, they have all reached their best before date. The thought of Hedy, Bennett, Holland, Bisson and others in cabinet is a very scary thought. If they really cared for their party, most would resign.

  • Liz J

    “Why did they choose veterans that will be easy targets to rekindle the links and ties”?

    Well, could be it's all they've got who are willing to work the impossible dream to fruition. Mr Ignatieff doesn't appear to be catching a ripple let alone a wave. It might be helpful for some wise old Liberal to advise them to work on rebuilding the ship and take their time choosing the captain.

  • curls1

    Adscam, the Liberal cess pool that just keeps on giving.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    Hollinm,

    Does it makes sense to take this assignment if you believe your leader was impersonating Colonel George Armstrong Custard? This is not going to end well for the Liberals when the plug is pulled by the PM. Dion will be vindicated finishing 2% better than MI in POP in 2010 or 2011.

  • hollinm

    These guys just don't get it. They appointed the wrong leader. Harper is doing well and when it comes time to vote they will stick with the guy who got them through the recession and reject the carpetbagger from the U.S./Britain.
    What kind of policies do they think they can present that will convince Canadians that they should be back in government? There is no room to buy votes this time around. If the come back with national daycare, kelowna accord, and child poverty. Canadians will simply say been there bought the T shirt. No thanks.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    But……Canadians will be sold they need….. “our future depends on innovative thinking and caring, engaged leadership to enable our country to secure the industries and jobs of tomorrow – and the prosperity and the strong, vital social programs that go with them”…..

    Restoring the 2% GST @ 15 Billion p/yr should help pay for our future boondoggles. Hope and Change compliments of the LPOC.

  • m123T

    Bringing back all those sponsorship guys/gals is not the way to get conservatives to vote liberal. How will it play in Quebec. I doubt if it will get liberals off the couch and out to the polls. So, Toronto is out and Quebec is in. Anyone from the West, Prairies, Atlantic or NFLD , guess we don't count.

  • wilson

    What happened with this motion???

    'The Standing committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics calls on the Auditor General of Canada to conduct a full audit of the sponsorship program to determine which federal Liberal riding associations received stolen funds and to clarify for Canadians who received the missing $43 million dollars.'

  • Central_Canadian

    Might be time for a committee to look at the Adscam again

  • gar

    The Liberals are not too smart.with the advent of the internet,blogging and emails these guys are still stupid enough to think that they can fool the voters.For years they lead 40% down the drain and won majorities. These days are gone forever.when the Quebecois see who their latest choice is Duceppe will have a field day What will we call this one Ad Ad Scam

  • Jesus

    I’m displeased with both parties. The Liberals ad spree during the 1990s was more corrupt, albeit it was ultimately for a better cause, namely keeping Canada as one. The Conservative ad spree of 2009 is not as corrupt, but serves a less worthy cause, namely promoting the Conservative pork projects.

    Given the Grit-Tory cronyism, an NDP government is an alternative. Provincial NDP governments are generally much less corrupt. On the downside, the NDP is even more prone to wasteful social schemes than the Liberals and Conservatives.

  • jamesbowie

    If what you are saying is true, why did Harper allow Mario Lague to continue to serve as ambassador, representing Canada, until his term ended in 2006?

    It seems the leader of your own party does not share your opinion.

  • m123T

    It is very politically incorrect to pull ambassadors home, especially those given the post as a patronage deal. You notice he was not re-appointed.
    Adscam is a liberal thing, and the full truth has yet to be made public.

  • Jen

    Adscam is a liberal thing, and the full truth has yet to be made public. Curtosy of the Liberal national media. and you will never know of it not until canada has a DEMOCRATIC MEDIA like the Americans do.

    Venezuela has a Democratic media besides Hugo Chavez's own personnel media, unfortunately the Democratic media that informs the venezuelans of Hugo's corruption is now being threaten by Hugo himself .

    Canada does not has not ever had a Democratic media. In fact, we are more backward than Venezuela.
    Why do think that Robert FIFE, TABER, OLIVER, CLARK, CBC CTV and others like them are free to say anything they want; tell you what THEY want you to hear and know? Is because, there is no other national media to contradict them.

    Like an Iraqi gentleman told an american reporter “that is not our media; that is SADDAM's media.

    Like most canadians will say now “that is not our media, that's the LPOC's media.

  • m123T

    It is very politically incorrect to pull ambassadors home, especially those given the post as a patronage deal. You notice he was not re-appointed.
    Adscam is a liberal thing, and the full truth has yet to be made public.

  • Jen

    Adscam is a liberal thing, and the full truth has yet to be made public. Curtosy of the Liberal national media. and you will never know of it not until canada has a DEMOCRATIC MEDIA like the Americans do.

    Venezuela has a Democratic media besides Hugo Chavez's own personnel media, unfortunately the Democratic media that informs the venezuelans of Hugo's corruption is now being threaten by Hugo himself .

    Canada does not has not ever had a Democratic media. In fact, we are more backward than Venezuela.
    Why do think that Robert FIFE, TABER, OLIVER, CLARK, CBC CTV and others like them are free to say anything they want; tell you what THEY want you to hear and know? Is because, there is no other national media to contradict them.

    Like an Iraqi gentleman told an american reporter “that is not our media; that is SADDAM's media.

    Like most canadians will say now “that is not our media, that's the LPOC's media.

  • TheRightIsSoWrong

    Given that the entire time Harper and his lot have been in power it's been “sponsorship” this and “Liberals” that, it's not entirely a misnomer that the CPC hasn't done anything the last 4 years, excepting perhaps ignoring the will of the majority of Candians (you know, that 65% who didn't vote for the CPC last election?)
    A united right does seem to be kicking the butt of the fragmented left, but that will only last as long as the Canadian peoples' willingness to take the abuse (ignoring the economic downturn until we were in the thick of it, calling Quebec a “sovereign nation” within a “greater whole”, cutting revenue streams during a recession, contempt of parliament during the Afghan detainee debacle, building prisons to house the commissioners of unreported crime, eliminating valuable planning data in the census, and the list goes on), or until the left can get their act together. Something tells me the former will happen sooner.