11 March 2008

Flak Bait or CJC?

Why didn't the innovation department ever reveal anything about SAC Manufacturing until after Bond Papers and the Telegram started poking around?

According to innovation minister Trevor Taylor, it was due to some problems in "communications protocols". That's the explanation he gave on Tuesday in the House of Assembly.

Some of the communication protocols, Mr. Speaker, I have to admit, were somewhat lax in the early going of the development of these programs. I have asked our department, our communications director and our executive to review our communications protocols to ensure that that instance does not happen in the future. I can assure the House and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, there was no attempt to try and hide this information from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and we will be making changes, as I have said, to our communication strategy to ensure that this does not happen in the future, Mr. Speaker.

Uh huh.


So apparently, having a protocol of openness, transparency and accountability wasn't enough.  No word of the cash when it was handed out.  No word of the cash when the company hightailed it to Alberta and definitely no word to the public - or apparently the Auditor General, either - when the company went under a mere nine months after getting the provincial government cheque from Taylor's department.

Makes sense though since a protocol of releasing reports within 30 days wasn't clear enough even for the guy who wrote it to make him wonder why three year old reports were just coming to his attention in February - as he first said - or sometime early last fall as he now admits.

And just for good measure Taylor slipped in the stock response whenever this administration screws up:  "it won't happen again."

People handling communications are used to being on the receiving end of moaning and complaining from reporters.

It's called taking flak, as in the German abbreviation for fliegerabwehrkanone - anti aircraft cannon.  Turns out Trevor's comms director is taking flak from the back now too.

Honestly, though, Taylor's buck-passing probably feels a bit more like his comms director got promoted from flak bait to Chief Javelin Catcher.