Ottawa — Pierre Pettigrew always seemed to walk away from political disaster without rumpling his suit or getting a hair out of place, airily asserting it was all overblown. Now, the harried Foreign Affairs Minister seems under siege.
Mr. Pettigrew's stock in cabinet, and with the Prime Minister's Office, has fallen steeply in the past 18 months over failures on policy initiatives and in staying on message.
In recent reports, unnamed foreign-service officials say he spends too much time at the Paris apartment he has owned for 20 years. The Globe and Mail reported this week on documents that show he took his chauffeur with him to Paris, Madrid and Lima, where no driver was needed, at a cost of $10,000.
All that has been accompanied by a less visible burst of rumours, stories and allegations -- some substantiated and some not -- circulating in Ottawa as a variety of critics apparently feel the time is ripe to target Mr. Pettigrew.
"There's blood in the water," a senior Liberal conceded to The Globe and Mail this week.
The recent stories about Pierre Pettigrew give him the appearance of an effete dilletante more interested in the luxuries of life and his position than the responsibilities of office. Foreign relations, especially with the United States, have been deteriorating on his watch. He's been virtually invisible on the softwood lumber issue while he swans about on the Left Bank.
One can almost hear the snickering insinuations about his relationship with his chauffeur, the same sorts of insinuations that eventually brought an end to George Radwanski's business trips and gourmet lunches with his secretary on the taxpayer's dime.
Pierre Pettigrew's gracefully styled hair will not be gracing the Cabinet table much longer. Bet on it.
Source: Globe and Mail