When you are the prime minister of Canada, the last thing you want to hear after waxing boastfully of successes within your pandemic response is a political aide looking up, eyes wide, and … “Oh Dear!”
There are blunter things for an aide to write or utter, of course, and you can likely hear the courser language running through your brain.
F-bombs come to mind. Just not in writing.
But rarely do we see the mess political staffers often have to go through in telling the sharp pens of the parliamentary press gallery that the prime minister erred without actually saying he erred.
Better, instead, to obfuscate and hope the media doesn’t notice.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s slip up was described internally as “misleading the public,” no small matter for a government with claims of stoic honesty and transparency.
“As we start to reopen and some people head back to work, the need for personal protective equipment and other essential supplies like hand sanitizer and disinfectant will continue to grow,” Trudeau told reporters in a televised appearance. “We’re making sure we’re ready for that.”
“On Saturday, a ship carrying 160,000 litres of hand sanitizer arrived in Vancouver and we’re expecting seven more ships with hand sanitizer in the coming days,” he added.
Internal records, however, showed federal agencies in fact had only 32,000 litres of hand sanitizer in stock, and that four more shiploads were due for delivery, not seven.
“We’ve also have almost a million face shields,” said Trudeau.
Nope. Records at the time indicated only 100,000 face shields were ordered with just “600 received.”