In North Korea it's standard for visiting journalists to be accompanied by North Korean 'minders' who keep and eye on where they go and who they talk to. These minders also make sure visitors don't hear what they don't want them to hear.
Stephen Harper has obvious North Korean instincts as evidenced by federal scientists attending a polar conference in Montreal being shadowed by "media liason staffers" which is a fancy term for minders.
Hundreds of researchers from around the globe arrived in Montreal this week to attend the International Polar Year Conference, but those scientists working for Environment Canada were also accompanied by so-called "media relations contacts" tasked with monitoring and recording interactions with the press.
Ahead of the conference, the Canadian participants were reportedly sent a memo ordering them to have a government liaison present during conversations with reporters.
While none of the government scientists would speak on record about their media monitors, one researcher told CBC's Dan Halton off-camera that the strict communications measures were an embarrassment to Canada.
Climatologist Andrew Weaver, with the University of Victoria, called the tactics excessive.
"The current administration probably has a fear about science," said Weaver, who compared the monitoring of scientists to something out of the Soviet era.
Anyone who had the least respect for democracy and transparency would be ashamed to be caught at these stunts but not Comrade Steve. That fiend doesn't even bother trying to conceal utterly despotic measures like this.
Yet Steve Harper can't pull this off alone. The people who make up his caucus, his cabinet and his party let him get away with these anti-democratic abuses and that makes them every bit as responsible. The whole goddamned Conservative operation is corrupt.
In addition to the Soviet-era "control the message" tactics, I wonder how much these handlers are costing the taxpayer. Thanks again to our austerity-minded(?) Con government.
Speaking of efficient use of taxpayer dollars. A simple request for information on a non-controversial topic results in 50 pages of emails between 11 people at NRC.
Amen to your post. Chairman Harper must've been taking tutorials from Cheney and Bush. And he's worse than both, but in a secretive, sinister way. Perhaps he's also digested "The Art of War" as his battle manual, coz he acts first, doing what he wants to get done, then gets noticed when it's a fait accompli. Smart cookie. Too smart. Not morally smart, though. We all ought to read up on Gene Sharp's non-violent tactics for removing dictators and take out Harper. Unfortunately, Freedom House and the CIA have been using Sharp's methods in small countries like Serbia, Ukraine, Egypt, etc, but I think they are better suited to Canada and the US, the world's latest dictatorships. If only we could get the millions of Canadian small-thinkers (think: Evangelicals, Catholics, Money-Worshippers, deluded seniors, corporate cronies, people who believe their TVs) who support Harper to convert to decent, socially just values, then getting rid of Harper may have some effect. Otherwise, cut off one dragon head and eight others suddenly appear.
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