Lesser journalists than CBC’s senior biz spokesmodel, Amanda Lang, might blanch at her Feb. 12 breakfast performance onstage at the Westin in Ottawa, lobbing softballs about the previous day’s federal budget to Jim Flaherty, the chap who sets her own network’s budget.
Indeed, her old colleagues at Business News Network had already refused to host the post-EAP knee-bender, sponsored by Impact Public Affairs and Ernst & Young. A little too much like government PR, it was thought. Pussies.
Amanda’s fee for the appearance probably helped assuage any nagging ethical doubts. The telegenic Ms. Lang is much in demand as a speaker and seldom graces the lectern for less than $10,000 (at that rate, her 20-minute coffee-klatch with Flaherty worked out to $500 a minute.)
Flaherty’s comms sluggos were also well-pleased Amanda was tapped for the live infomercial.
She was, after all, the only member of the fourth estate deemed discreet enough to rate an invitation last August to Jimbo’s annual private policy clambake for CEOs, lobbyists and other reptiles to advise the great man on the budget.
The two-day retreat in Wakefield, QC, produced a $6,800 tab for food and — oh, yes — refreshments.
But I digress. Ironically, something newsworthy actually came out of Lang’s easy chair interrogation, as Flaherty voiced his ambivalence towards the Tories’ cherished vote-grubbing master plan for 2015, income splitting.
“I think income splitting needs a long, hard analytical look…because I’m not sure that overall it benefits our society,” he burbled, to the distant pops of headvalves bursting in the PMO.
President Steve, much-pissed that O’Booze had staggered off-message, would later bench the FinMin for that afternoon’s QP, fielding questions on the budget his own damn self.
Jimbo’s potentially career-ending remarks, however, passed without comment from Lang, who la-de-da’d through her questions without skipping a beat.
It was left to the working press to pounce on Flaherty’s heresy later, during a post-game scrum.
Herself had already left the building.
Pamela Wallin is 82.