Harper Democracy in Canada

Title: Harper Democracy in Canada

The conservative government has blocked journalists from attending a conservative caucus meeting.

CHARLOTTETOWN β€” In an effort to control the message and access to elected MPs, the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday ordered journalists evicted from the hotel where the Conservative caucus is holding its annual summer retreat.

RCMP officers and hotel staff escorted journalists out of the lobby area of downtown Delta Prince Edward Hotel and directed them to a small third-floor media centre in a government building across the road. A hotel employee even followed two reporters out of a washroom to make sure they left the premises.

Excuses for this action were:

  • spouses and children accompanying MPs and Senators may be intimidate by reporters and cameras
  • the news media is filled with liberals
  • the event is confidential, unlike Parliment hill
  • the government will give its own updates
  • the hotel is crowded so a media room has been set up across the street

    While tour bus groups freely wandered the lobby of Charlottetown’s Delta Hotel, plainclothes Mounties rebuffed reporters who had convened for the Conservative party’s three-day summer strategy session.

  • nothing has changed, last year the meeting was held inside a federal air traffic facility with limited access
  • the RCMP made the security decisions — no they didn’t the orders came from the conservatives

    After initially stating the media cordon was to keep reporters away from MPs’ families, Jaffer said the decision was made by the RCMP on security grounds.

    “It’s my understanding the RCMP makes its own security assessments,” Jaffer said just prior to an evening speech by the prime minister.
    This despite a number of Mounties explicitly stating the order came from the Conservatives.

The eviction notice came after reporters approached Defense Minister Gordon O’Connor in the Delta hotel lobby and enjoyed an amiable and informative 10-minute discussion that helped clarify recent confusion about the military mission in Afghanistan.

The strategy at home is not unlike the strategy with Afghanistan — the Canadian public will only hear the news the Government wants them to hear and all other avenues of information will be restricted. This is the type of government the Conservative Party of Canada would like to have – closed, secretive and only willing to inform the public of their own spin. It is all about controlling the message the public hears. The eviction notice was only given after reporters talked to Minister O’Conner. Likely Steven Harper was afraid about more truths coming out of an uncontrolled Minister O’Conner’s mouth.

If the Conservative government was acting as a government, why should democratic access be restricted to those sound-bites officially edited by the government ? If the Conservative party was acting as a party/convention and wanted privacy, why were government employees (RCMP) used for security ?


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