Immigration Minister John McCallum sounded a bit testy with the news media the other day. They had probably forced him to give the same answer to the same question more than five times. McCallum has shown that weakness before. He is not long on patience.
This media approach gives the news editor for the television stations the lead the editor wants. There is a range of expressions from smiling to exasperation on the face of the interviewee. It provides a range to suit the desired bias.
What McCallum does not realize is that he is playing into the hands of the media. And, in the long term, it reflects on Justin Trudeau’s choice of immigration minister.
McCallum struck us as an odd choice from the time of his swearing in. As an economist, he has always been somewhat of right-of-centre politician. He was probably bettered suited to the role of Minister of National Defence in the Chrétien government but even in that job he ran afoul of the news media.
McCallum and Ralph Goodale from Regina are the hard-noses of the Trudeau cabinet. Goodale is probably right at home as public safety minister but would really have liked the finance portfolio. Gooddale likely keeps getting elected in Saskatchewan by acting more right-wing than his Conservative opponents. Of the two, Goodale seems to handle the media better.
But someone needs to wise up McCallum. As immigration minister he is handling his government’s promises on Syrian refugees as best he can. To absolutely nobodies’ surprise, he had to say that the government would not have all 25,000 proposed immigrants in Canada to celebrate the New Year 2016. He bravely assured the media of some 10,000 celebrants but said the other 15,000 will be as much as two months late.
This was good news. McCallum needed to be smiling. Regrettably, he came across as being somewhat affronted that the news media wanted an explanation of what they obviously considered to be slip-shod planning. The logistics involved in this are staggering and instead of crowing about the government’s degree of success, he was defensive.
What John McCallum needs to realize is that he has a relatively cushy job to do and he should have fun at it. If you try to do the job with a pout, the media will find you out.
Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry
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