And this is why it’s a good idea to read your own press release before it goes out ...

Otherwise, you run the risk of looking as silly as our defence minister.

As An Observant But Shy Reader pointed out this morning, during an interview yesteday, Peter MacKay told the Halifax Chronicle Herald that the upcoming adburst “has nothing to do with the fact Mr. Thibault’s riding is hosting the Liberals’ Atlantic caucus meetings this week” — in fact, he “wasn’t aware the meetings were happening.”

Which would be, if not actually believable, at least not quite so easily disprovable if he hadn’t been quoted in the official announcement the party put out over the weekend, with the headline “Conservatives Launch Ad Campaign Ahead of Liberal Atlantic Caucus, in which he comments on the very same Atlantic caucus meeting that he now says he didn’t even know was taking place:

““Since Atlantic Canadians mostly rely on coal for electricity, oil to heat their homes, and diesel to import food and other items, the permanent new Liberal carbon tax will be devastating for the region,” said Peter Mackay, Minister of National Defence.  “It’s no wonder Liberals are spending two days in Digby trying to find ways to fool Atlantic Canadians about it – we won’t let that happen.”

You know, we’ve talked to you about this before, minister — or, at least, we’ve talked about it here; it’s probably pretty unlikely that you read ITQ, but really, we can’t be the first ones to tell you that you simply have to break that awful habit of saying what it is you think someone wants to hear, even if that someone is a reporter and whatever you say will end up in tomorrow’s paper. All it does is make life difficult for your poor communications director, who then has to cobble together one of his now familiar “clarifications.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to ensure maximum vexatiousness for your opponents by running a targeted ad campaign around a summer caucus meeting. But pretending it’s just a wacky case of coincidental timing is just the teensiest bit disingenuous. Not to mention dumb.