I was going to write a long post on Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau request for more money and the opposition to it but I’ll keep it short.
Some really quick thoughts
- She has not been elected to anything and this makes it complicated when it comes to public money.
- I totally disagree with Heather Mallick. I don’t think the opposition is bullying, I think it is politics which to be honest relies on bullying and coercion so maybe she is right. So maybe I disagree that it is a personal attack on her rather than a partisan attack.
- This Neil MacDonald piece is weird as well. I could be wrong but I don’t think think it’s because she is attractive or effective, it is because it involves public money people are freaking out.
- No comparison to Mila Mulroney is a good one. Both Brian and Mila’s excesses were over the top for a Prime Minister and that has been a legacy that has hurt the stature of the Prime Minister since then.
In short my opinion is that the PMO should give her an office with enough staff to handle correspondence and arrangements. Keep it transparent and accountable to Parliament with how much she is spending and staff and travel. If the demands subside, cut it back. If correspondence and demands go up, revisit each budget period like most government departments. [update: a few elected officials let me know they felt that it will keep growing and that’s okay. Effectiveness often will lead to more demands.]
Years ago I brought in a prominent speaker into Saskatoon. He booked his flights around clumps of arrangements so he would maximize his time and lower the cost for the orgs bringing him in. Have someone do this for her. I somehow figure that there are bureaucrats who have trained their entire lives for this job.
I am not talking about cargo class tickets and red eyes to save a couple of dollars (my brother was once put on a 8 or 9 stopover flight from San Francisco to save like $100 dollars, he actually flew into JFK Airport on his trip before heading back west to Saskatoon. He looked like a zombie when I picked him up at the airport) but showing some good planning and an eye on keeping costs down. This isn’t about Gregoire-Trudeau, travel stories about politicians are rampant and often lazily written without context. Being transparent and cost effective comes with the territory.
Transparency is key because it won’t be cheap. She will need RCMP protection and she will fly first class. That’s totally okay but with Canadian media’s obsession with travel cost stories, it will be a big deal. Use that transparency to show the value the public gets from her events and bill the Liberal Party for events that are political. I also have a feeling that an effective communications plan would do a great deal to amplify the work she is doing by helping to promote the work she is doing.
Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau is in demand because of the crowd she can draw and therefore the good work she can do for organizations that are asking for her. That’s not a bad thing and in the end, the good she will do will far outweigh the cost of a couple of assistants will cost. She isn’t asking for a salary, she is asking for some help to help with her correspondence and scheduling. That is worth providing.