Thanks to his own ri-dick-ulous behaviour, David Herle is now a household name.
But ol’ Diamond Dave’s been hogging the spotlight far too long of late. He’s not the only Liberal strategist with a history of inserting his foot into his own mouth at the most inopportune time. The infamous former Paul Martin comms guy and speechwriter Scott Reid, a.k.a Mr. “Beer and Popcorn“, has also stepped up to try and shield the Wynne Liberals from destruction.
Let me tell you, CTV News knew who they were picking when they chose Scotty here to be the co-anchor of their National Affairs program. Some news channels like to wear their bias on their sleeve, don’t they?
I understand that you want a fighter on your team when you’re dealing with the likes of Doug Ford, but it’s absolutely imperative that said fighter knows how to fight effectively. As you will soon see, a Scott Reid battle plan usually involves the equivalent of punching himself (and others around him) in the genitals repeatedly.
Scott’s best known for his time as Paul Martin’s comms guy and speechwriter. Quickly, can anyone remember a single speech Paul Martin gave? I thought not. But then again, when your boss somehow gets saddled with the nickname Mr. Dithers on your watch, and gets memed before being memed was a thing for constantly having to say, “Let me be clear“, maybe you wouldn’t want the public to have a clear memory of the details of your tenure either.
You might, however, remember his fight with famously combative former Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams over the latter’s refusal to accept a deal for offshore oil revenues, where it fell to Martin to apologize on behalf of his subordinate. Or you might recall Reid’s fateful pas de deux with everyone’s favourite Chretien loyalist Warren Kinsella, where he wound up having to take a knee to avoid a lawsuit after he called the Prince of Darkness a liar. Pretty weird behaviour for a guy who is quoted as saying that the #1 job of a speechwriter is “You Do Not Exist.”
Mr. Reid’s career in the major leagues earned him a less than stellar mention in Brooke Jeffrey’s bible of Liberal screwballery, “Divided Loyalties,” for “overweening personal confidence” and “failure to recognize the limitation of his role as an unelected staffer.”
But since you fail upward in Canadian politics, evidently, Scotty decided he was done with partisan hackery (until now, apparently) and formed his own speechwriting/PR outfit with his buddy Scott Feschuk, who was last seen ripping off Andy Borowitz for Maclean’s. At one point, these two were actually given a byline by Canada’s Online Government-Subsidized News Magazine to pick NFL games.
But while facts about Scotty’s competence (the man is a 49ers fan, for crying out loud) is good for a laugh, we know what you’re all here for. You want to hear about those BIG MONEY CONTRACTS Reid’s been getting for all his years of disservice.
We don’t have exact figures due to the passage of time and governments’ annoying habit of being opaque, but we do know that Reid was a part of the infamous government contract Martinite money pit that was the Earnscliffe Group. The whole sordid affair–which triggered the infamous Kinsella-Reid-Herle bunfight of yore, and the subsequent round of lawsuits and apologies–is detailed here, and unless these Liberal operatives were just trying to prove how manly they all were, you had best believe a lot of money changed hands.
For hard numbers, you have to go back in time to 2015, where the Wynne government billed Feschuk-Reid and other Liberal-connected firms a total of $7M for “work” (unspecified) on a report that recommended selling off a chunk of Hydro One and expanding liquor sales to grocery stores. ($7M sounds like a lot of money, but because Reid is still lower on the totem pole, his firm only got a nice $24,500)
From 2016-2017 Reid penned a total of four columns for iPolitics, the website that received a hefty $273,000 two-year contract from Public Works in 2017 as first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.
There’s also some unseemly closeness between Reid’s firm and the office of federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. Reid sang McKenna’s praises in the Ottawa Citizen shortly after her victory, saying, “There is no hyperbole that goes too far, no description too over-the-top. Show me someone who says they dislike Catherine McKenna and I’ll show you a liar.” Soon afterwards, Reid.Feschuk got billed nearly $5,000 from McKenna’s office in a single-source contract for media coaching. Why she would need it when she is universally loved is hard to tell. Now that I think about it, McKenna’s continued condescension for Canadians who don’t share her views on climate change does resemble Scotty’s “I’m-The-Smartest-Guy-In-The-Room” smugness.
A search of the Open Government’s Proactive Disclosure database reveals that Feschuk.Reid pulled down $15,820.00 from Environment and Climate Change Canada. We’ve also got two other contracts for $28,500 and 28,400, respectively, from Transport Canada, even though he was nowhere near as complimentary to Marc Garneau, the current Minister of that portfolio. How about Ontario contracts given to Reid? Alas, the fifteen-year-old Liberal government’s active disclosure on the Ontario government website leaves much to be desired.
And of course, we have Feschuk.Reid’s “alliance” of sorts with a little outfit called Veritas Communications, according to this press release anyway. Who are Veritas Communications, you might ask? Oh, nobody. Just the CBC’s PR firm, that’s all. Kind of makes you think about what’s going on behind the scenes to make it so Reid can crack Trump jokes on the CBC’s website with abandon.
Kathleen Wynne says, “It’s not who we’re fighting against; it’s who we’re fighting for.” I look at all of the above regarding Scott Reid, and I wonder if the Premier is so judicious when it comes to selecting the people she’s fighting alongside.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistated the figure the federal government has given iPolitics, citing from Warren Kinsella’s web site, The War Room. The amounts given to iPolitics were first exclusively reported by Ottawa news outlet Blacklock’s Reporter.