The premier says that his press secretary, Laurel Munroe, had "nothing to do" with the ejection of a Frank Magazine reporter from the party's AGM festivities in Cape Breton last weekend.
This, despite Liberal caucus sources telling my organ that the Cape Breton native premierial mouthpuppet issued a series of panicked text messages to a handful of MLAs and cabinet ministers beginning just moments after Frank reporter Cliff Boutilier's arrival at the Membertou Convention Centre Saturday night. (See: Preem press secretary Laurel, rent-a-cops, get on fightin' side of Frank Magazine.)
In an indication that perhaps the premier's own trusted employee is flat-out lying to him, Stephen McNeil, speaking at Province House yesterday, insists my sources are wrong about Laurel's activities on that night. He also says it was his chief of staff Kirby McVicar who ordered the uncredentialed reporter's removal by security. It may certainly be that Kirby made the official decree, but everyone I spoke to - including a source with the security company who carried out the order - understood the situation progressed at Laurel's urging.
To be sure, Cliff had arrived late in the day, after registration for the event had closed, and was not displaying proper id. But we needn't have illusions: dozens of people in attendance on that evening knew him by sight, based on the fact that Cliff's been covering these things since the Buchanan era, around the time when our current premier was in vocational school.
The hushed whispers of "Frank Magazine is here" began approximately nine seconds after the distinguished Mr. Boutilier crossed the building's threshold. And nobody, not Kirby McVicar, not Laurel Munroe, not Black Belt Security and not Cape Breton Regional Police, believed anyone was in any danger of anything other than having a bubble-captioned photograph of themselves looking silly appear in the next mag. And certainly, a reporter from any mainstream media outlet wouldn't be treated in such a way. CTV's Ryan MacDonald would never be so casually dispensed with, god forbid. But then, I suppose, Ryan MacDonald doesn't pen a bi-weekly column called the Village Blacksmith Diaries, in which the premier is shown as a wet-behind-the-ears hillbilly who doesn't have the slightest idea what is happening around him at any given time.
One Liberal caucus source is incredulous that the former Cape Breton Post hackette is making a liar out of her boss. And, I hear that a handful of Liberal MLAs are wondering who will be the one to tell the premier the truth: that his trusted spinmeister is spinning the one man she ain't supposed to be spinning. Although I fully expect at least one hardy soul will be up to the task, in case they're not, I suspect a Freedom of Information request made to the Premier's Office for Laurel Munroe's electronic communications on that evening should help things along.