Top News

A piece of paper in the wrong place

Page 2 of2 
STAR and SEAM (joint with WFAL and we are not sure of 
Release of first round of tenders for capital projects 
timing) 
·· 
• 
' . 
\. :pa"tlel)l.~_..whatia~e, ¥,C?.Uf thoughts? We will need to put together a few lin,es about these potential 
announcements. ·· 
Teresa 
Sent from my BrackBe·rl'y'\tGJ:s'mahphone on the Bell network. 
From: Tina Mundy 
Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 1:07 PM 
To: Teresa Hennebery; Darlene Gillis; Wendy Hughes 
Subject: Fw: Announcements 
Hi Ladies, what do we have in the hopper? See below. 
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network. 
·From: Robert Vessey <RSVESSEY@gov.pe.ca> 
Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 1:04 PM 
To: !Joug· Curri~; Alan Mcisaac; Paula Biggar; Patrick Murphy; Robert Mitchell; Robert He~derson;AIIen Roach; 
Head1MacDorialcf; Tin-er Mundy; Sonny Gallant • ••· · · · ·· · · · 
Subject: Announcements 
Good afternoon, 
Last week in Cabinet, Premier asked that each department put together good news announcements 
during polling period. Can you bring your announcement suggestions to Cabinet tomorrow. 
Thanks, 
Rob 
• 
'II 
.. 
~ 
,.~. 
Robert S. Vessey 
Chief of Staff 
Premier's Office 
P. 0. Box 2000 
Charlottetown, PE CIA 7N8 
Telephone: 902-368-4400 
Fax: 902-368-4416 
• 
file://C:\Users\wahughes\AppData\Local\Temp\XPgrpwise\591 
OEE74GOVMAINBESP01... 
5/9/2017
Page 2 of2 STAR and SEAM (joint with WFAL and we are not sure of Release of first round of tenders for capital projects timing) ·· • ' . \. :pa"tlel)l.~_..whatia~e, ¥,C?.Uf thoughts? We will need to put together a few lin,es about these potential announcements. ·· Teresa Sent from my BrackBe·rl'y'\tGJ:s'mahphone on the Bell network. From: Tina Mundy Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 1:07 PM To: Teresa Hennebery; Darlene Gillis; Wendy Hughes Subject: Fw: Announcements Hi Ladies, what do we have in the hopper? See below. Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network. ·From: Robert Vessey <RSVESSEY@gov.pe.ca> Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 1:04 PM To: !Joug· Curri~; Alan Mcisaac; Paula Biggar; Patrick Murphy; Robert Mitchell; Robert He~derson;AIIen Roach; Head1MacDorialcf; Tin-er Mundy; Sonny Gallant • ••· · · · ·· · · · Subject: Announcements Good afternoon, Last week in Cabinet, Premier asked that each department put together good news announcements during polling period. Can you bring your announcement suggestions to Cabinet tomorrow. Thanks, Rob • 'II .. ~ ,.~. Robert S. Vessey Chief of Staff Premier's Office P. 0. Box 2000 Charlottetown, PE CIA 7N8 Telephone: 902-368-4400 Fax: 902-368-4416 • file://C:\Users\wahughes\AppData\Local\Temp\XPgrpwise\591 OEE74GOVMAINBESP01... 5/9/2017

A piece of paper, tabled in the legislature in error Tuesday, revealed how much the premier and his cabinet take stock in polls.

So much attention is being paid to polls, that P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan is now staging “good news announcements” to happen during polling periods.

The paper in question was a printed email exchange between Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy, her staff and the premier’s chief of staff, Robert Vessey.

In this email conversation, Vessey notes, “Last week in cabinet, premier asked that each department put together good news announcements during polling period.”

The following emails showed Mundy’s attempts to gather some ideas for “good news” announcements with suggestions such as a $7-million joint housing announcement with the federal government; an increase of $300,000 to the childcare subsidy program; two programs aimed at youth identified as high risk of not completing high school; and $750,000 in tenders for upgrades to seniors housing.

These announcements appear to be worthwhile projects that deserve funding and were going to be announced at some time in the near future.

There’s nothing wrong with announcing good news, but there is something wrong with purposely timing the release of information for political gain.

After the content of the emails was made public, the premier’s press secretary went to work to quickly diffuse the situation. A statement was issued saying government is simply trying to inform Islanders of the many initiatives it is undertaking to strengthen the province and improve the lives of Islanders.

“The request was simply to enable scheduling so that everyone could be informed of what was planned for the coming weeks,” it read.

The statement did not mention why this information was scheduled to be released during a polling period.

Corporate Research Associates (CRA), which conducts quarterly polling of voting intentions across Atlantic Canada, confirmed they were to begin polling in P.E.I. Wednesday.
CRA president Margaret Brigley said, “It’s unlikely that an announcement would have a significant impact on the poll results unless it was an announcement of significant magnitude.”

However, an announcement of a large chunk of funding coming to a specific program would be an announcement of “significant magnitude” to the people directly affected. It might be just enough to influence those people, when they get that call asking how the MacLauchlan government is performing, to say they are satisfied.

Brigley is probably right that it likely won’t have much impact.

The Liberal government has been slipping in the polls, with the premier’s own popularity taking a 12-point drop in a year.

Understandably, he would be taking steps to improve his approval ratings. However, the impression left by this mistakenly tabled email exchange may also sway some Islanders into giving MacLauchlan a less than favourable rating when the pollsters come calling next time.

Recent Stories