How NOT to flack for a new candidate for Parliament

Paul Wells, a columnist for Maclean's, reproduces the chain of emails between a new Maclean's reporter and the flack for Michael Ignatieff, the former Harvard prof parachuted into a Toronto riding for our current federal election. The reporter simply wanted to follow the candidate around for a day or two, much like the insanely boring pieces you see on CPAC and CSPAN all the time. The flack didn't think that was a good idea. And the flack comes across rather poorly. Here's the last of the string of emails:

    "Dear Nick [Maclean's reporter]: You can check his public events by visiting his web site, www.michaelignatieff.ca

    There is, for example, an open house at the campaign HQ on Sunday that you may wish to drop in on.

    But I must repeat my earlier assertion, which was not a negotiating position, but an attempt at making a clear statement: You would not be welcome to shadow him for a few hours.

    In our view, this would be an unacceptable and unreasonable intrusion into the campaign.

    We understand the media have a job to do: They must have reasonable access to candidates running for public office. As a former member of the media, one who covered two federal elections and worked on Parliament Hill for a national news service for 4 years, I understand that very well.

    You must also understand that Michael has a job to do, and, I believe, a right to do it.

    He is trying to meet as many people in the riding as possible, unencumbered.

    He is not a member of the government nor cabinet minister, unlike Mr. Goodale, and of course Mr. Goodale is free to make his own decisions in any case.

    Feel free to forward this email to your editor if any further clarification is required.

    Regards"

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