Who Spilled the Beans?
There was a noteworthyÂ discrepancy in how our two national newspapers covered the $64-billion leak.
The secondary headline printed in yesterdayâ€™s Globe and Mail began, “Finance Departmentâ€™s deliberate leak . . .” While the storyâ€™s text identifies the leaker only as “a senior government official,” a pull-out quote in the print edition identified him or her as a “Finance Department official.”
By contrast, The National Postâ€™s secondary headline was “PMO releases tally before budget tabled.” Its story identifies the leaker as “an official from the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office” and reports that an oblivious “Finance spokesman said last night it was department policy not to discuss budget items until the document is released.”
Other CanWest papers corroborate this version of events, identifying “A senior official with the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office” and reporting, “The release of the figures also appeared to catch many top Finance Department officials off-guard, including some in Finance Minister Jim Flahertyâ€™s office.”
Either way, the main issue is the (in)appropriateness of leaking budget numbers before budget day. But another interesting question is whether theÂ Conservatives had the Finance Department do the leaking or whetherÂ they bypassedÂ Finance altogether.