Saturday, September 23, 2023

MacKay fumbles early advantage

In another interview, he contrasted his own love of hockey with Trudeau’s seeming fondness for yoga. His Twitter account drove that message home, criticizing Trudeau for spending Liberal Party money on yoga lessons and massages.

That message probably delighted Tory partisans initially, but subsequently served to remind them of MacKay’s own generosity when it came to spending public money on his own convenience. For example: while defence minister, MacKay was picked up from a holiday at a Newfoundland fishing cabin by a military helicopter and flown to Gander Airport at a cost of roughly $16,000. A government Challenger jet then ferried the high-flying minister to London, Ont., at a cost of about $40,000 so he could make a military-procurement announcement.

This unearthing of skeletons likely now has Tories thinking about how MacKay’s own past record will blunt any attacks they attempt to level against some of Trudeau’s more questionable spending. Further, MacKay’s refrain that he was returning to public life to introduce more civility into politics was hard to reconcile with his sharp-elbowed attacks on the prime minister.

In recent days, MacKay came to the conclusion that his campaign was not exactly firing on all cylinders and pledged to do things differently. But when a journalist asked MacKay a tough question, his staffers abruptly intervened to announce the interview was over. MacKay, surprised, defended the journalist (“She’s just doing her job”) but then sheepishly departed after his staffers insisted he do so.

Needless to say, being bossed around by the staff is not good optics for a candidate who has been marketed as a glove-dropping tough guy.

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