Mike White: International Man of Mystery

(Okay, maybe just “interprovincial”, since he hasn’t  — yet —  been dispatched across the border, but that doesn’t make for nearly as juicy a moniker.)

From the Globe and Mail notebook:

Stéphane Dion‘s Atlantic caucus met this week at the Digby Pines resort just outside of Digby, N.S. It’s not a big group – 40 MPs and senators – so the young interloper with the gelled, spiky black hair, wearing a bright yellow golf shirt, stood out like a Harper Conservative would stand out in a Liberal crowd.

The Liberals knew right away who the stranger was – Michael White, 28, a long-time senior communications aide to Government House Leader Peter Van Loan who recently joined the Harper PMO as a media officer.

“He’s wandering around looking like Fifi hit Paris in Digby,” Saint John MP Paul Zed said

Mr. Zed said Mr. White was “pretending to be a tourist” but did not get into any meetings or attend receptions.

“This is like Richard Nixon and the dirty tricks department of Donald Segretti,” Mr. Zed said. “I mean it makes no sense. If the guy wanted to come into the room, all he had to do is take off his secret squirrel outfit. … That kind of behaviour might work well in the Bush world of Reaganomics and Republican politics but it doesn’t work in Canada.”

You know, this actually isn’t a bad idea — sending an operative to hang around outside another party’s summer caucus, that is — not only to deliver realtime rapid response to reporters covering the event, but also to keep PMO – or, alternatively, your respective opposition research bureau – in the loop, and up to date on any unexpected developments. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this become a trend, although given the more modest budgets that the opposition parties have to work with, they’d probably skip the regional meetings, and focus on the national caucus instead.

But —  was he really “pretending to be a tourist”?  Really? Because that would be just silly. If you’re going to send someone all the way to Nova Scotia to read out your talking points, don’t then force him to wander the grounds in a golf shirt — a yellow golf shirt at that; talk about Memories of Oily the Splot Escapades Past — “like Fifi hit Paris.” Of course, given that the source of that particularly colourful description is one of the Liberal MPs under “secret squirrel” surveillance, it’s possible that a he’s taking just a wee bit of poetic licence to describe what went down, which ITQ devoutly hopes is the case. If not, perhaps PMO can reimburse Mr. White for any resulting loss of dignity.

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