Television personality Seamus O'Regan is often touted as one of Justin Trudeau's star candidates. He is running as the Liberal Party's Candidate in St. John's South - Mt. Pearl.
The Conservatives were quick to paint the former-journalist/broadcaster as an uninformed novice that does not have a great grasp on issues that he speaks about after NTV aired an interview with O'Regan walking away from the camera to find his speaking/briefing notes.
O'Regan, a veteran of television media and a former co-host of Canada AM looked a bit like Mr. Dithers as he absently searched for his elusive notes while the cameras were running. He is offering no apologies saying he just wanted to provide the " best possible answer to questions, and admitted he still has plenty to learn"
The "Just Not Ready" attack ad was carved out of a NTV News Report that could not have been better scripted had the Conservatives written and produced it themselves. The largest construction union in the country had just endorsed O'Regan's campaign - a major deal in a riding held by the New Democrats. What should have been a momentum builder soon turned into disaster when he could not recall any specified examples of the legislation that the Liberals would get rid of that discriminated against unions.
I have to question, as a person who has been in front of the camera on many occasions and has prepared dozens of politicians for interviews, what is up with NTV's gotcha- journalism?
This was not a live interview. Often reporters will stumble while asking a question or the interviewee might do the same. In normal decent circumstances, that tape would end up on the cutting room floor. Not this time, Seamus's poor preparation for the interview became the story. It reminds me very much of the infamous Mike Duffy ambush of Stephane Dion during the 2009 election. Is this an example of Journalistic dishonor or a legitimate case of genuinely catching a politician grandstanding but ill-informed of his own cause - or both.
Beyond the embarrassing "Just Not Ready" aspect of the interview, I have to ask how O'Regan's union stance squares with Humber-St. Barbe - Baie Verte Liberal MP Gerry Byrne's demand that Gulf Ferry Service be declared an essential service eliminating the unions right to strike? That would be discriminatory legislation against unions, would it not?
Still with inconsistencies, just a few weeks ago he told voters in this province that they were stupid for supporting an ABC campaign risking the wrath of Ottawa and ensuring no voice at the cabinet table. (he had forgotten that in the last election a Conservative was elected, appointed and caught breaking the Election Act)
A number of Liberal candidates owe some of their past electoral success to the ABC sentiment in the province. Is O'Regan suggesting that we accept what we are given, take it on the chin and kneel and kiss the ass of Ottawa? Is he suggesting that we should have representation in all parties that might form a government? In which case, why would any of us vote for a third party candidate? It is a blame the victim, patriarchal mentality. It all sounds rather counter-productive for a candidate who is trying to defeat Conservative!
Perhaps Trudeau should not have squeezed out Jim Burton and let O'Regan run in Toronto where his star quality has real political currency.
For a bright guy who has been around politics and the media for most of his adult life, I am perplexed by these "amateur" assertions and mistakes. He is in a tough fight to unseat incumbent Ryan Cleary and it is going to require an "A" game.