Much has been made of the diverse deadwood (Monsef, Sajjan, et. al.) from which Justin Trudeau cobbled his photo-opportunistic cabinet, and not enough of the equally dismal grade of fartcatchers who enable their ineptitude, as l’affaire Matthew Mitschke amply demonstrated.
The gormless chief of staff to Unemployment Minister Patty Hadju has endured humiliating public bollockings from iPolitics and The Hill Times for losing classified documents, left in his unlocked car last summer when he was top shineboy to Hadju’s predecessor, the regrettable Maryann Mihychuk.
Poor Matty, it transpired, didn’t even know where he’d been parked when the docs disappeared sometime over that fateful weekend. Outside his home? At a baseball game? Shurely not during one of his regular daytime pauses for refreshment! In any event, he filed a police report, told Mihychuk of his fuckup and after a little remedial security training, everyone went back to sleep.
It was hardly the first ballsup, or the worst, of Mihychuk’s unsteady tenure in cabinet, from which she was duly punted in January. Matty, however, was kept on to helm the office under Hadju.
There had been no small astonishment in the first place at Mitschke’s Peter-principled appointment as ministerial chief of staff, so coveted by ambitious political braunnosers for its prestige — and agreeable compensation in the EX-02 to EX-04 range ($118,500-$180,600).
His previous experience as chief shineboy to BC cabmins Mary Polak and Suzanne Anton, hardly preparation for the big leagues, was in any event a secondary qualification to his friendship with Richard Matymatez, the Liberals’ merde-chaude director of operations during the 2015 election.
Matymatez was rewarded for his efforts with a prime gig as chief of staff to FinMin Bill Morneau. A rising tide lifts all bros, and thus was Mitschke assigned to Mihychuk.
Ministerial sluggos were soon commiserating amongst themselves about the Mitschke Miasma, Matty’s signature halitosis, seemingly the product of tragic tartar buildup and compounded by his incessant smoking, which, mercifully, kept him outside the office, on his phone to persons unknown, much of the day.
Meanwhile, back in the office, trouble beckoned. First up, a revolt in the Liberals’ Atlantic caucus, led by PEI’s Bobby Morrissey and New Brunswick’s T.J. Harvey, over continuing Harper-era restrictions to the Temporary Foreign Workers program, which they insisted were gutting the seafood processing biz in their ridings. When Mihychuk started popping off to union thingies about killing TFW outright (just a joke, she later insisted) they went fully completely apeshit. It fell to Matty to try talking them down. One shambolic meeting between Mitschke and the apoplectic MPs later, the PMO was obliged to intervene and mop up Matty’s mess.
Next up, fiddles to EI, to which Matty brought his experience and sensitivity as a never-unemployed legalist from Alberta. Cue another Atlantic freakout, this time by ministers Scott Brison, Lawrence MacAulay, Judy Foote and Dominic LeBlanc, which had Mitschke and underlings scrambling for a new plan just days before Budget 2016.
PMO thingies swept in once again, transferring the fraught EI file to slaphead Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, but, despite rumours the tumbrels awaited, left Minister Mihychuk and her malodorous minion in harness for the time being.
When MaryAnn finally got the chop in January, Matty miraculously survived as new girl Hadju’s chief of staff. And now this!