Earlier today, CTV News Vancouver released an “exclusive” video showing one of its reporters speaking to Gerald Butts’s wife, Jodi Butts, at her doorstep. Gerald Butts was the former principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, until he resigned on Monday.
The video shows a reporter in a parka asking Ms. Butts about whether or not her husband intends on issuing any further statements regarding his recent departure from the Prime Minister’s Office. Ms. Butts is clearly unprepared for the interview, standing at the door dressed in a sweater. She tells the reporter that her husband has no intention of speaking further about his resignation. When asked by the reporter about “what she’s going through,” she laughs and answers that she supports him through these times.
The interview lasts a total of 18 seconds. Many have come out and called it inappropriate, and an invasion of the Butts family’s privacy. Journalist Justin Ling, who hosts a podcast on CBC podcasts tweeted that “there is no news value here. CTV is just harassing Butts’ family. It’s wild they sent a camera crew to their doorstep, and even more wild — they aired it.”
In a similar vein, Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley wrote that the interview was an “invasion of privacy,” and said that “no one deserves” that kind of treatment. Jason Kenney, the current leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta called the news company’s actions an “ambush” and described them as being “deplorable.”
Butts resignation was regarded by some as a “bombshell departure,” in the current SNC-Lavalin controversy surrounding the Trudeau government. Butts was a senior advisor in Trudeau’s inner circle. The Prime Minister and his office are under severe scrutiny amid allegations that senior member’s of the office pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to drop a criminal case against construction giant SNC-Lavalin.
This is what Butts said following his resignation: “At all times, I and those around me acted with integrity and a singular focus on the best interests of all Canadians.”
“Canadians are rightly proud of their public institutions. They should be, because they work. But the fact is that this accusation exists. It cannot and should not take one moment away from the vital work the prime minister and his office is doing for all Canadians.
“My reputation is my responsibility and that is for me to defend. It is in the best interests of the office and its important work for me to step away.”