Friday, September 23, 2005

L'Affaire Pettigrew-Labonte

Pierre Pettigrew's chauffeur is absolutely outraged at the suggestion that he and the minister might have a relationship closer than the norm between ministers of the Crown and their drivers.

So he's suing the Western Standard for making it:

The chauffeur who accompanied Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew on government-funded trips abroad is considering legal action after an item on a conservative magazine's website questioned whether they had a romantic relationship.

Kevin Libin, editor-in-chief of the Calgary-based Western Standard, wrote in a web log entry this week that the media should have asked about the nature of Mr. Pettigrew's relationship with driver Bruno Labonte following a report that they had travelled together to Europe and South America.

"Mr. Labonte is discussing these attempts on his personal reputation with his lawyers," Mr. Pettigrew's press secretary, Sebastien Theberge, said in an e-mail.

Mr. Theberge emphatically denied there was anything improper between the two men.

"Mr. Pettigrew's relationship with his driver is and has always been strictly professional," he wrote.

He added, "Private life is private. Mr. Pettigrew attaches a great deal of importance to his absolute right to privacy."

Mr. Labonte was not available to comment, Mr. Theberge said.

Messrs. Pettigrew and Labonte could dispel the rumours and innuendo about their relationship by explaining exactly what official duties Mr. Labonte performed on his trips abroad with Mr. Pettigrew, and why he was chosen to do them even though they weren't in his official job description.

Retreating behind denials of improper relationships and threatening lawsuits for defamation only lends credence to the rumours.

Besides, people aren't naive enough to take Mr. Pettigrew at his word. Think back to George Radwanski and his penchant for long lunches at gourmet restaurants and overseas trips with his PR flack, Dona Vallieres, on the taxpayer's dime. Did anyone seriously believe that her communications advice was so valuable that the privacy commissioner had to seek it out virtually every day at lunch and several dozen times overseas?

How valuable were Mr. Labonte's services, then?

Source: Ottawa Citizen

1 comment:

Les Mackenzie said...

"Mr. Theberge emphatically denied there was anything improper between the two men."

Hey - it's Canada and that type of thing is legal right?