Saturday, March 11, 2006

Peevey Stevie

The Prime Minister who creates controversy with every move can't even manage to fire the help without it blowing up in his face (and the papers):
A quarter-million dollar lawsuit claiming wrongful dismissal...was filed late yesterday on behalf of Henrik Lundsgaard, who was chef to Stockwell Day, John Reynolds and Harper while they lived at Stornoway, the official residence for the leader of the Opposition.

Lundsgaard alleges he was unceremoniously terminated after being tantalized with a juicy offer to head to the kitchen at 24 Sussex.

...on Jan. 23, Lundsgaard received a short termination letter, which offered no explanation from either of the Harpers, the claim alleges.

Then, in late February, Harper poached Rideau Hall chef Oliver Bartsch to man the kitchen at 24 Sussex for a reported salary of $73,000 to $79,000.

...Under the Harpers, Lundsgaard's role expanded to include odd jobs such as washing their car, driving their kids to school, supervising the kids in a backyard pool, cleaning their cat's litter box and even "attending to the burial of one of the cats after its demise," the claim alleges. Playing video games with the kids, cleaning up after guests, moving furniture at Stornoway and serving drinks were also allegedly on the expanded menu for Lundsgaard.
[Emphasis mine]

Yes, well, Lundsgaard has obviously decided to show his face as a "Liberal hack" with this lawsuit. (They're everywhere, you know). What must Harper be thinking? That all that time Lundsgaard spent being his family's personal slave (paid on the taxpayer's dime, of course) must've been simply a ruse used to lull Harper into a false sense of security. Yes, yes. Oh that's genious. Oh, how could I ever have trusted him?! Then, as soon as he deftly connives me into firing him, he inserts the knife and viciously twists it in - just to give me more bad press. Liberal hack!

Hmm, let's step back a sec. Harper wouldn't meet with the Ethics Commisioner (Oh gosh, terribly busy. Look at the time) to discuss the Grewal investigation.* He continues to refuse to cooperate with the Commish on the Emerson investigation,** and now we see he is unable to handle something as unexceptional as hiring a new chef without ticking-off the old one to the degree he causes an embarrassing stink.

Is there no doo-doo in Ottawa that Harper's toe cannot find its way in?

And how does his office react to media inquiries? In what appears to be a concerted effort to keep one and all "on message", we turn back to the above link for the grand finale:

When asked to comment about a quarter-million dollar lawsuit against Prime Minster Stephen Harper, his wife and the federal government, Harper's communications director Sandra Buckler would say only that "it's a staffing issue.

"I mean, that's all I would have to say about it."

Sun: Are you aware that a lawsuit was filed? Has he been served yet?

Buckler: "I don't know any of that. I've just seen the media reports and as any other staffing issue that's what I would say. It's a staffing issue."

Sun: Obviously he'll be filing a statement of defence?

Buckler: "All I know is that this is a staffing issue."

Sun: So that's all you have to say about that?

Buckler: "Well they're staffing issues and we generally don't go into staffing issues 'cause they're staffing issues."

Sun: So, basically, you guys don't talk about staffing issues is what you're saying?

Buckler: "They're staffing issues."

So, the Sun went to Harper's press secretary, Carolyn Stewart Olsen.

Sun: I just wanted to give you guys an opportunity to comment on it.

Olsen: "Yeah, no, it's a staffing issue."

Sun: Can you elaborate any more or you guys just don't comment on staffing issues?

Olsen: "Yeah, yeah, it's a staffing issue."

Remarkably, when Harper came under fire last month for luring chef Oliver Bartsch away from Rideau Hall, a spokeswoman told the National Post she couldn't offer any details on the selection because ... (wait for it) .... it's a staffing issue.

Well that's it; I'm going to go right ahead and anoint Prime Minister Stephen Harper with the nickname Peevey Stevie. You heard it here first, folks.

- 30 -

*Tip 'o' the hat to Scotian for the link - every Canadian should read this post).

**Nice work there by Mark[Section15]


HearHere said...

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Former Chef Suing Harper

The former chef of Stephen Harper when he was the leader of the opposition, is suing Harper and his wife for lost wages, emotional stress, and ruined reputation. Seems that Henrick Lundsgaard was told by Harper's wife Laureen, that he would only cook at official functions, not personal family diners at Stornoway. When Harper became P.M. Lundgaard received a letter on election day that said his services were no longer needed. Lundgaard claims his dismissal was "insulting, high-handed, spiteful, malicious, and oppressive."
Wow, is it just me or has it been become clear that the new P.M. is almost impossible to work with, if he isn't firing communication people, he is canning chefs..... No wonder Belinda, and Brisson walked out on the Tories. Has there been any good press at all post election for the Harper camp? Damned liberal media, but seriously Stevie has made it too easy. Can't wait until Parliament finally gets back to work, Harper's arrogance and political naivety is surely going to lead to a rapid Tory downfall, har, har, har.

posted by pinkocanuck at 2:55 PM

HearHere said...
I heard that this chef did not pass the more stringent security checks required to work for a PM.

The Harpers had no say in the matter. The decision was not theirs. For security reasons the details cannot be given.

One would think that if this chef was so close to the family he would have simply called laureen and asked for an explanation.

Now by taking this to court the security reasons will have to come out and that will hurt him even more.

Didn't think that on the day of the election, Jan. 23 the Harpers would be sitting around making out pink slips for household staff.

It was the PM's security people and they rule in these matters.

Apparently the housekeeper did pass the security tests and she could and did move with the Harpers.

GoodGrief said...

Did Ms Buckler take lessons from a certain infamous press secretary south of the border?
Insofar as security reasons, that's a wonderful catchall phrase, courtesy of other folks south of the border. Pshaw, if the man has an issue, and at first reading, he does, then let him have his day in court. That's what our country is all about, isn't it. And if the Harpers are guilty of unjust treatment, then let them pay the price, without the cloak of "security issues". If there were any such issues, then why was the man allowed to perform all those duties for the LOO in the first place.

Scotian said...

GoodGrief raises a valid point. If this man was cleared to work for the LOO given the guests such an Officeholder will end up serving it makes no sense that he was not cleared enough to work for the PM. I just do not see that there is that much difference in the security clearance requirements for the staff of either the PM or the LOO, although if someone can actually provide evidence/information that proves otherwise I would be more than happy to examine it and retract that assessment.

Incidentally Scott, thanks for the props on my post vis a vis Harper's ethics or rather apparent lack thereof now that he is PM, although he had already demonsttrated such in the Grewal affair and the unwillingness to be interviewed by the Ethics Commissioner in that matter either. I do not know if it is something all Canadians should read but I thank you for it all the same.