Monday, May 26, 2008

Comrade Harper Doesn't Want to Run the Government, He Wants to Own It!

Docile, complacent, timid. Those words pretty much describe the Canadian media and how they've let down the people of this country as Comrade Stephen has forcefully insinuated himself between the Canadian government and the Canadian people.

You no longer have access to your government. You have access to Comrade Stephen and his minions, the political commissars of the PMO, the Prime Minister's Office. Our Furious Leader and his faceless cadre will decide what you need to know about the federal government's workings and that'll be exactly what they want you to know and nothing more. Does that sound a little bit Stalinist to you? Well, yeah, it is. Does it seem undemocratic, un-Canadian even? It is and it's a stain that taints everyone who supports the Harper government.

The Toronto Star is publishing a series this week called "Secret Capital":

"In the 6th-floor office of a nondescript building sit the gatekeepers, the bureaucrats who decide what Canadians learn about the workings of their government.

Questions on the hot issues of the day all get funnelled through this office, the "communications and consultations" unit of the Privy Council Office, housed in the Blackburn building that fronts the Sparks St. pedestrian mall.

Throughout the government, it's known simply as "downtown," the place where decisions are made on who speaks on issues and what they say. In the Conservative government's clampdown on communications, this is Ground Zero.

Public appearances by cabinet ministers – whether it's a speech or an interview – are carefully staged, starting with a "message event proposal" vetted by the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic wing of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

And in a marked change from previous governments, now even basic demands for information from reporters, once easily fielded by department spokespersons, are sent to this office for review – and often heavy editing – before they are okayed for public release, government insiders say.

David Taras, a professor in the department of communications and culture at the University of Calgary said, 'You can control events for so long, you can only manipulate for so long and ultimately I think this has harmed the Harper government to the extent that Harper's image has become `Mr. Partisan, Mr. Mean, Mr. Control Freak,'

"It's just got to a point where control is the image of what his government is. That's damaging. ... You wonder what they're running from and what they're afraid of," he said.

The clampdown could get worse. Auditor-General Sheila Fraser recently revealed that the government is proposing a new policy that would require all communications "products" to be vetted by the Privy Council Office.

One government official said the new rules would formally enshrine in policy the unwritten rule that now exists.

"The screws are being tightened bit by bit. It's gotten very extreme in the last six months. Just more and more delays, more and more control over things, less and less things getting approved," the official said."

It's time those who support Harper's assault on Canadian democracy face up to their choice - defend Canada and our democracy or empower Harper.


Anonymous said...

I read that from the Star today, and it is frightening.I just wish the average voter would find out. The media is useless!

Beijing York said...

The public has been duped. They punished the Liberals for their lack of accountability and transparency and they replaced them with a megalomaniac. Harper is a one man search and destroy mission. By the time he's through, we won't recognize this country.

P.S. I also agree that the media has been and continues to be totally useless.

The Mound of Sound said...

It ought to be frightening to anyone who's seen how these same tactics have been employed in the US by Bush/Cheney.

The corporate media - CanWest Global, Sun Media, Bell Globemedia, aren't just useless, they're downright collaborative.

As a rule I don't spend much time reading right-wing sites but it's useful, even now and then, to get a clear idea of how they play into these tactics, even if unintentionally supporting them. They block their ears to what they don't want to hear and shut their eyes to what thet don't want to see. Yet they, each and every one of them, are complicit in Harper's anti-democratic abuses.

Anonymous said...

You guys dont actually believe that crap do you? That Harper et all of the above are in some sort of a collaberation? I browse through 4 major papers per the absence of any kind of opposition right now the media is doing the bashing right now..and rightfully so. A conspiracy to keep the truth from Canadians??...come on...thats Dipper stuff..not the kind of thought that should come from Libs or thier supporters. billg

The Mound of Sound said...

Actually Bill, I do believe it. In this province all three major dailies (Vancouver 2, Victoria 1) and all the small town papers are owned and very tightly controlled by CanWest. If that's what is supposed to substitute for an "opposition" we're in a lot of trouble indeed. The National Post is a Reformatory house organ. Since Thompson sold the Globe it too has shifted well to the right.

My father lives in southwestern Ontario. A couple of years ago the story came out about Mulroney taking $300 thousand from Schreiber. My dad said he'd never seen anything about it in his local CanWest paper, the Windsor Star. That led him to call the Star editor who said he knew of the story but the paper didn't run it because it had received nothing on it from CanWest headquarters.

C'mon get real Bill. And, by the way, do you think it's acceptable for a guy to put the government of our country under one blanket gag order with his unelected minions censoring all outgoing messages? That's undemocratic Bill and about as unCanadian as it gets.

Anonymous said...

Governments for years have attempted to censor any and all outgoing messages...they want the message going out the way they wrote it and at the time they want it out...there's a big difference in controlling the message and censoring it. Complaints about the media are much the same as a team that complains about the ref after a loss...pretty predictable.
I heard it from the Reform/Con for its from the Liberals.
We have a pretty simple system in this country...if you want to win an election all you have to do is have better policy and be better then the other guy, but whining about the media is normally for the ones that finish second. billg