Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fantasy Island

Only on Fantasy Island would the following exchange be acceptable:

"MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
One of the key elements of this process has been ensuring that information is released and communicated properly. What we saw on Friday was a press release from Eastern Health showing up at 4:00 in the afternoon with no media briefings or press conferences, and very little detail attached to it.
I ask the minister again – because it was told this morning that your office had been informed and knew about this since Wednesday. I ask: Why was it not communicated to the public more appropriately, in a more effective fashion than it was, instead of waiting until the end of the day on Friday?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: I will not try to explain the actions of Eastern Health’s communication strategy on Friday. I, too, would concur that late Friday afternoon, to make a release available to the public and not have anyone from Eastern Health available to provide comment, is not something that I would have directed. It is not something that I condone. It is not something that I agree with. Let me be perfectly clear about that particular piece.
Yes, I was aware that they were going to be doing that release. The conversation that my office had with Eastern Health was midday on Thursday, and the understanding and direction was pretty clear: that this information needed to get out immediately. The fact that they were late on Friday afternoon releasing it, I had no control over, Mr. Speaker. That was their call, their decision to release it. I received the notice of the release just moments before it was out. I was out of the Province on government business, meeting with my colleagues in Halifax and with other health regions.
Mr. Speaker, that was their call, but I would agree with the member opposite that getting a release out late Friday afternoon and not having anyone available from the organization to comment on it is not something that I would agree with either." http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga46session2/09-04-06.htm

Here's a translation of what Wiseman is trying to say. He knew about the piece. He even had a conversation about said piece. But then he got on a plane and...well...pretty much nothing that happened after that had anything to do with him.

To recap: he would not have directed what happened; he would not condone it; and he would not agree with it. Not in an office or in the House; not over lunch or to a mouse. He does not like green eggs and ham.

But on a plane? On a plane, he has no control; at a meeting, he's never droll. He may be told in Newfoundland, but it's not his call once on Mainland. He received notice, yes it's true, but while away over the ocean blue.

Wonderful place, this Fantasy Island. You can get on a plane and leave all your troubles and responsibilities behind. No wonder cabinet ministers travel so much.

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