Sunday, November 19, 2006

OverControlling The Message

[Update: 20/11/06]
You gotta know Harper blew it when his own pet media outlet is writing stories about this as well.
[/Update]

Why is it that Canadians are finding out about our government's foreign policy actions from the governments of other countries?

In the last week, the APEC summit has become a veritable petri dish experiment in just how much Harper is micromanaging the "message" that he allows out of the PMO to Canadians.

We learned that our government had sent our ambassador to S. Korea north to Pyongyang to deliver a "strong message" from Korean officials, with Canadian government people only speaking after the Koreans made it public knowledge.

The media learned of the mission assigned to Marius Grinius from a briefing by South Korean officials after Harper met with their president, Roh Moo-hyun, earlier Saturday.

Grinius is "now in North Korea and plans to deliver a strong message for the resolution of the nuclear issue," Roh's office said in a statement.


Then, we find the Chinese talking more openly to Canadian reporters than our own government after Mr. Harper meets with the Chinese President:


"The president engaged the PM in a conversation that was frank and constructive," said Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman. Mr. Soudas did not say what form the meeting took - whether, for example it was a full formal bi-lateral discussion or a more informal discussion.

It was left to a Chinese spokesman to elaborate with reporters about the meeting.


Really? Wow, our Prime Minister meets with the leader of one of the largest, most economically important nations on earth, and our officials have nothing to say?

Not quite...it turns out that what was to be said had to be carefully massaged, and came out in an e-mail some twelve hours later:

The official, Liu Jianchao, told Canadian reporters that the meeting was "very brief" and that Mr. Harper re-iterated his position on Huseyin Celil, the Canadian citizen in jail in China who has been barred from seeking consular assistance. He said the general issue of human rights was not discussed.

In his e-mail, which was forwarded 12 hours after the meeting took place, Mr. Soudas characterized the discussion as "frank and constructive."

"They discussed a range of issues from economic to political, including consular cases." Mr. Soudas said the two men agreed that bulding the relationship between the two nations is important.


Besides being mealy mouthed pablum that really says nothing of consequence, this is probably among the most irritating bits of excrement I've ever read. For starters, why does it take twelve plus hours to get a statement out about a relatively short meeting - especially when the Chinese officials seem quite willing to talk immediately afterwards?

Mr. Harper is an ELECTED PUBLIC OFFICIAL of Canada. We didn't elect him "supreme dictator for life" or anything other title that might exempt him from telling Canadians what his government is up to. He is Prime Minister by the accident of being at the helm of the leading party in Parliament - that's it.

So...if he's being so secretive on relatively minor matters, what else is he trying to cover up so that Canadian voters won't notice?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More open and accountable government?? Hah! another Harper lie.

Here is a quote from the National post story that Grog links to:
_All journalists, and sometimes even TV sound technicians, were told they were barred from:
- A gathering of Canadian business students attending APEC activities, organized by the Canadian government.
- Harper’s arrival at a meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Australian media, however, were told they were welcome to attend.
- Harper’s arrival at a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. When Kiwi officials allowed Canadian media to record the photo opportunity, Harper’s staff was forced to acquiesce._

Harper has lied to the Canadian people and he is also evading journalists for a reason, what is he trying to hide? All Canadians who vote need to keep this question in their minds when the next election comes around.

SB