Speechwriter quits as “matter of conscience.” Is this a first?

After months of writing defenses of Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s stance against a government corruption inquiry, Charest’s speechwriter Patrice Servant quit last week, saying he was “ill-at-ease relaying the government’s position, which is not in the interests of its citizens.”

“It had become,” the ironically named Servant added, “a matter of conscience.”

The Winnipeg Free Press has a thorough article quoting three former political speechwriters on the wisdom and decorum of Servant’s public betrayal of Charest.

Whatever you think about Servant’s move—and I’d love to hear—what strikes me about it is how rare it is. In about twenty years of covering the speechwriting biz, I can’t remember such a thing happening even once. If I’m forgetting a juicy take-this-job-and-shove-it yarn, I know someone will remind me.

Meanwhile, the question isn’t how a speechwriter could have done such a thing … but how so many speechwriters in his shoes have not?

Perhaps Canadian speechwriter Neil Hrab can start the commentary, since it was he who alerted me to this story. —DM

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