Earlier this week, media outlets reported that government staffers were directed — by the PMO — to compile "enemy lists" of bureaucrats and stakeholders to be included in transition documents for incoming cabinet minsters.
The reports — and particularly the use of the term 'enemy' — have a created a media frenzy with some evoking the memory of Richard Nixon.
In an interview with Postmedia News, even Environment Minister Peter Kent called the use of the word enemy "juvenile."
[ Related: Harper government enemies list: what’s the big deal? ]
Well, the left-wing Broadbent Institute is jumping on the bandwagon with a new social media campaign:
HELP US FILL HARPER'S 'BINDER FULL OF ENEMIES'!
As Stephen Harper rolled out his 'sort-of-new' Cabinet on Monday (http://bit.ly/13msuBW) with a little help from his frenemies, his office asked staff to include lists of "friend and enemy stakeholders" in each Minister's transition binders (http://bit.ly/13qwp0L). That's right, the PMO wants 'binders full of enemies'.
With so many adversaries out there (scientists, statisticians, environmental radicals, perhaps kittens – wait, he likes those: http://bit.ly/bhppiR) the Broadbent Institute is convening a contest to help the PMO's office come up with a robust short list of frenemies.
Who do you think should be added to Ministers' frenemy binders? Leave your ideas in the comments. We'll pick from the best posts and create a 'frenemy wall' in our head office. We'll also create a binder of your top frenemies on tumblr.
It's still early but here are some of the better 'frenemy' tweets:
— Anonymou5 (@RCIisLeaking) July 17, 2013
— 46nd2 (@46nd2) July 17, 2013
— Broadbent Institute (@BroadbentInst) July 17, 2013
The enemies' list controversy — which it has now become — is an embarrassment for the Harper government which was hoping for some good news stories following their major cabinet shuffle.
The Globe and Mail's Josh Wingrove suggests that this is just the latest gaffe, in a series of gaffes, by the PMO.
"It's just sort of the latest thing that the PMO is having to deal with. It seems like this very powerful organization that you would presume be run like a Swiss watch is finding itself in trouble one time after another," Wingrove said in a video interview on the Globe and Mail website.
"Secondly...it ruins their story line.
"They announced the cabinet shuffle Monday morning. This was supposed to sort of redefine things for them, give them new energy, fresh faces and almost immediately there was another controversy over how it was executed."
If the media attention it's getting is any indication, the 'enemies list' controversy has some legs.
(Photo courtesy of the Broadbent Institute)
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