The Grace Foundation, the New Brunswick charity which complained last week about Justin Trudeau's speaking fee, now says it's "deeply distressed" by the way things have turned out. Ian Webster, chairman of the foundation's board, is upset. Supposedly private correspondence was made public:
"There was never any intention for this matter to become a political topic of discussion on the floor of the House of Commons."
But local MP Rob Moore -- and the Prime Minister's Office -- made Trudeau's fee a cause celebre:
"We are deeply distressed about many statements made from various persons," he says, adding that the board is "most concerned" about remarks from Moore.
Moore has insisted he was asked by board members to put pressure on Trudeau to return the $20,000 fee he charged to headline a fundraising event in June 2012.
Last Friday, the Prime Minister's Office circulated to reporters a letter in which foundation board member Susan Buck says the event was a "huge disappointment and financial loss for our organization" and asks Trudeau for a refund.
In Thursday's statement, Webster says the "private letter" was sent in March to the Speakers' Spotlight, the agency through which the foundation hired Trudeau. After receiving no response, he says the board decided in May to drop the matter.
"The board of directors did not authorize any member or agent to approach (Moore) or any political person on this matter."
Moore, however, is standing by his version of events.
Obviously, somebody isn't telling the truth. But no one should be surprised. If you hitch your wagon to Stephen Harper's star, you're bound to have a rough ride. Ask Nigel Wright. Ask Mike Duffy. Ask Brent Rathgeber. Ask Garth Turner.
With friends like Mr. Harper, you don't need enemies.