Trudeau’s Mistake With Payette

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pick for Governor General, Julie Payette, is getting a lot of unwanted attention as yet another revelation regarding her time in the United States threatens to undermine her nomination to the post. But those discoveries are unlikely to derail her nomination to the largely ceremonial position.

Public relations specialists who spoke to Yahoo Canada News aren’t so sure that the controversy is worth the attention it’s received, even if the optics of it don’t look good for the Trudeau government.

“Certainly the way the story is breaking is going to throw some challenges for the government and Madame Payette,” says Danny Roth, president of Brandon Communications, a Toronto-based public relations firm. “You’ve got to be forthcoming, there’s got to be an openness because if it’s perceived that this was in any way hidden or ignored, that’s going to prove to be an insurmountable challenge.”

However, those same specialists said that the best course of action in such a situation is to be open and transparent, otherwise it opens the government up to charges of willful negligence. Instead, Trudeau should be pressing the case for why, despite these new revelations, Payette is still the right person for the job.

“If the government knew about this and still felt she was the best person to represent the Queen and assume this very important position,” says Roth, “then I would propose that the government go out and very strongly continue to make the case for why they believe she is the right person.”