The Shotgun Blog
Friday, March 17, 2006
The Chretienite PMO
I understand the need for discipline in politics but imagine if the Liberals had done what the Globe and Mail and CTV have reported Harper's PMO doing: restricting what cabinet ministers and top bureaucrats can say to the media and limiting the public events of cabinet ministers (and thus the possibility that they will stray from the message of the five campaign "priority" items). Where is the outrage from conservative bloggers on this?
Why would Harper bother with cabinet ministers if he doesn't trust them? Why don't Canadians just elect one person to Ottawa -- there is obviously no need for MPs and cabinet ministers. Trudeau famously said MPs were nobodies 100 feet from Parliament Hill and as I noted in my book, Jean Chretien made MPs nobodies on Parliament Hill. Stephen Harper is now making cabinet ministers nobodies. I wonder if Jason Kenney, Garth Turner and others who didn't make the cabinet cut are disappointed that they are not subject to such political babysitting?
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A little bit of military science is helpful here. When you take a beachhead, your priorities are:
1. Secure the perimeter
2. Deploy infrastructure for reinforcement
3. Maintain air superiority
4. Conserve munitions until resupplied.
Harper is playing this one right to plan.
Posted by: Paul Canniff | 2006-03-17 8:01:40 PM
He was elected on five beer and popcorn issues - surely he doesn't believe the country is going to succeed or fail on these issues alone!! Apparently these are the only issues on which he feels his cabinet ministers are able to deal with. Rather than being rewarded with a cabinet position, it is almost appearing that those who were not so rewarded should be smiling these days.
He has already moved on #6 - defense - so let's see how many more numbers are added.
Better yet - lets start seeing some tangible changes that are going to make this a better country. Cancelling the Unity Council Funding is a good start. Oooops - perhaps this is the next minister (messenger) who will be gagged.
Posted by: calgary clipper | 2006-03-17 8:14:45 PM
It wasn't long after the election that the media declared that Harper had stumbled badly out of the gate, that he had used up valuable political capital with the voters, that he had dug himself a hole, and so on. The fact that nothing of import had happened yet, and that polls showed that support had actually gone UP didn't stop them from turning reporter's wishful thinking into "the story".
So Harper is probably just getting the engine running and tuned, and getting his team on the same page before he turns them loose. At some point he'll loosen the strings -- he'll have to. But in the meantime we shouldn't forget that in the current context "reporters" still generally means "Liberal PR flacks" who are trying to mess with the public's perceptions.
Harper is wise to keep the message tight for the time being. Parliament hasn't even sat yet. Let's see how the reporters cover the next session before we decide if Harper is wrong on this.
Posted by: EBD | 2006-03-17 8:29:15 PM
I agree with what Harper is doing - and Paul Caniff has an interesting metaphoric analogy.
I don't think it has anything at all to do with trusting cabinet ministers or MPs or etc..
I think that it's to do with how the MSM has somehow, without anyone being really aware of it, changed from being an impartial and unbiased System of Reporting Information..to Acting as an Unelected Set of Ministers. They almost operate as an 'unofficial' and very powerful opposition. They get to talk to the public, constantly, far more than the MPs and Harper do; they have moved into a situation where they control what the public thinks.
The media aren't reporting events; they are manipulating political information, and in a vital way, moulding how the public views the actions of gov't. They are not acting as a valid communication system - conveying information from the gov't to us, the public. Instead, they are actually creating, fictionalizing, defining that govt'...They are manipulating both the gov't and us, the public.
Therefore, they have moved from being journalists and reporters - to being an enormous propaganda machine. Who is in charge of this propaganda machine? That's the question. It isn't the gov't!!
This propaganda machine is quite hostile to Harper; they feel that their power of defining reality is slipping away.
Harper does things without telling them first. This means that the media can't 'set up' the public and control how the public views what Harper eventually does. They don't find out until he's actually in Afghanistan! They don't find out what he's doing until he's done it! They have to deal with the troops who are grateful that he came...They don't like this.
I think Harper respects the cabinet and the MPs. But- he doesn't respect the fact that the media have moved outside of journalism and into propaganda.
Posted by: ET | 2006-03-17 8:35:46 PM
Stephen Harper has been trashed with egregious venom by the msm in Canadar. Did you forget the way our Prime Minister was treated by the msm during the 2004 election and for that matter, this past election, Paul? Steven Harper walked right by them (msm) with a issues and a plan election platform. The Prime Minister can talk to the Canadian people when he has something to say - directly- unfiltered by the left wing goofs in msm. There is no reason for any of PMSH's ministers to 'talk to' the media either. The media made this up or PMSH is making this announcement for the cabinet so they won't feel compeled to answer the msm 'talking, yapping, demanding, nasty, snarling reporters - who hate the Conservatives for moving them off their 'nice comfy furs'. The msm IS boring without the voices of the Conservatives - how boring is the Liberano 'news' and the Dipper news without the Conservative outrage for the msm to gloat and sneer over? I am enjoying watching them grind down to rehash of rehash of the seal hunt and the draft dodger. The msm are very hard up. Heh. Couldn't have happenened to a more deserving outfit. The stuff the Liberanos fed the msm was pablem, we never heard explainations for any of the stollen billions squandered by paul martin, the cretin and all the boys and girls in that crooked outfit. The msm is trying to talk to adults now and they are way out of their depth.
Posted by: jema54j | 2006-03-17 8:48:33 PM
My first thought when I heard the media whining, again, was
something BIG is cookin' and the PM doesn't want any leaks..!
Posted by: wilson | 2006-03-17 9:00:56 PM
Mr. Harper is employing a focused approach on several key issues that he was elected to do.
Rather than a scatter gun, every minister for himself, let's make policy as we go along, let's all shoot ourselves in the foot in public
which would be really fun for the media to jump all over
Mr. Harper is actually keeping his ministers on task, in the same direction and not all over the place.
I'm really glad he is PM. I wasn't sure if he was old enough and experienced enough for the job, but I like what I'm seeing so far.
Posted by: Canadian freedoms fan | 2006-03-17 9:18:17 PM
LOL if he runs the country as well as he is running his cabinet, then we may actually have a real leader who is out front and leading for a change.
Setting policy instead of changing his direction with every little breeze that comes along in public opinion.
Posted by: Canadian freedoms fan | 2006-03-17 9:22:03 PM
What a bunch of sorry-ass hypocrites.
When the evil Lieberals play the media manipulation game or concentrate power in the PMO, it's a sign of an anti-democratic conspiracy, a threat to all that is good and decent in our society.
When Harper trumps this ten-fold, gagging his entire cabinet and running the whole show out of the PMO, it is a clever quasi-military strategy to foil the dreaded MSM who have suddenly, miraculously, instantly become "an enormous propaganda machine" devoted solely to "manipulating political information".
The only thing that redeems this is seeing so-called intellectuals like ET acting like teenaged Michael Jackson fans, outraged that their hero should be shown to have feet of clay.
Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-17 9:46:44 PM
It's called party discipline. If an MP has something to say, let him say in in caucus. Otherwise the MSM will make him in to the star of the week just to prove how disorganized the Tories are.
Can everyone please relax and stop second-guessing Harper? Let him run the country for a while and see how he does. When a mistake is made, by all means, speak up. Until then, enjoy the Brier.
Posted by: Norman Lorrain | 2006-03-17 10:11:29 PM
Gotta agree with the first post. New Govt. rookies, easy to get taken in by a malicious parliament as well as the everthreatening left Press. Harper is doing exactly what he should be doing and so far I think he has been brilliant. Screw the MSM anyway. Bloodthirsty sharks they are. They have no respect for anyone including themselves. So fuck em.
Posted by: Rick | 2006-03-17 10:11:37 PM
We Americans always chuckle when stuff like this comes up. During the divided government era (1968-2000 - for 26 of 32 years, Congress and the White House were held by different parties) we lamented "gridlock" and the "ungovernable" capital. We would plead for just the sort of tight ship Harper has (and Chretien had).
Besides and moreover, if this means from now on Peter MacKay has to run all of his statements by Harper before dropping them on the rest of the world, that benefit easily outweighs the cost to other cabinet members. The less power P-Mac has at the Foreign Ministry, the happier I am.
Posted by: China e-Lobby | 2006-03-17 10:11:37 PM
And now you've got the White House and both Houses under Republican control and things are unfolding according to plan. Your army has been embraced as liberators by the people of Iraq, the Middle East has been swept up in a wave of democracy and all the prophecies of deep-thinkers like Richard Perle and Dick Cheney have come to pass. It must be intensely satisfying.
Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-17 10:19:05 PM
You people are spinning Harpers hypocrisy so hard if all that spinning could be converted to energy it could power a large city for a month.
As it is, all were left with is bullshit.
All you really need to know about you ShotDumbers is right here:
"Can everyone please relax and stop second-guessing Harper?"
Please, can you all stop questioning authority?
Posted by: Justin rules | 2006-03-17 10:23:21 PM
focus: the enemy is you.
Posted by: Ottawa Core | 2006-03-17 10:23:46 PM
Far from outraged, this conservative is thrilled at what Harper is doing. He understands how small his window of opportunity is to get things done in this upcoming session, and he's making sure no loose cannons are able to stand in the way. He wants to get things done, for God's sake! Paul, you can keep your ideological purity - I'll take results. Without discipline, we'll be back in 1979.
Posted by: NCF TO | 2006-03-17 10:38:34 PM
Yes, NCF TO, he must make the trains run on time! All other considerations - promises of open government, transparency, repairing the democratic deficit -- must be set aside until the trains run on time.
The line for Harper apologists forms (as usual) on the right. But hurry, it's getting longer by the minute.
Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-17 10:47:18 PM
Apologists? Apologize for what? You think party discipline is something to apologize for? Why do you think every party in the history of our country has had someone called "Whip"?
If by "apologists", you mean "supporters" - why yes, I think Harper's supporters would indeed come (as usual) from the right. Duh.
Posted by: NCF TO | 2006-03-17 10:58:21 PM
And if you can't tell the difference between party discipline and a top-down gag order, you're an even bigger idiot than you seem on first impression.
Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-17 11:03:45 PM
Go herd sheep you pathetic whiner truewest...
Posted by: MarkAlta | 2006-03-17 11:25:56 PM
Lets see, I guess the Libranoes were forthcoming as they squandered millions under the table.
You people are laughable.
Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-18 12:44:34 AM
"I'm entitled to my entitlements!" Now who said that, was it the head of the treasury board or was it the media darlings that feel that they're entitled to feast on anyone that they choose? Get a grip!! The Government will release new when there is some. Until then the little whining darlings will just have to make it up.
Posted by: Pat | 2006-03-18 1:31:26 AM
Yeah, who needs public accountability or scrutiny? Little Stevie Firewall, as we are frequently reminded, has a plan. And when we need to know what that plan is, he'll tell us. But only those bits we need to know. (But don't worry, open government and fixing the democratic deficit is a big part of it. A really big part of it.)
Of course, what more can you expect from the citizens of a province that change governments every 30 years, whether it needs to or not.
Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-18 3:51:47 AM
Chretien did indeed totally control the utterances of all his Ministers, mostly through the office of Mr. Eddie Goldenberq QC. Under Chretien the power of the PMO was greatly expanded, and at the same time the standard for Cabinet selection was based on mediocrity and loyality to Chretien; that is how Copps,and Dingwall got into Cabinet. Trudeau ran an open Cabinet,he encouraged dissent and arguement from his Cabinet, which included some formidable MP's
- a Cabinet Minister had to convince Trudeau and his Cabinet associates to support an idea or concept. Once approval was granted, that was it. Trudeau did not run a Chretien style PMO, he had no significant flunkies, (unlike Martin) and he had ill disguised contempt for the media in any event. Chretien made an enormous error in judgement in placing so much power in the PMO, which Martin promptly abused, and which ultimately destroyed him. Harper should step back from the politics of the Conservative party and concentrate of government. He should encourage his Cabinet to debate in cabinet caucus,achieve Cabinet solidarity before making a decision, and go to the people with a common voice; that is what the democratic process is all about.
Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-03-18 4:17:04 AM
I stand by my earlier analogy. In fact, I think we would be better off taking to heart the old Millwall FC chant: http://www.canniff.com/westernstandard/Millwall_Chant.mp3
Even as a Chelsea fan, I'll concede that those pikey tossers have some wisdom for us in that ditty.
Posted by: Paul Canniff | 2006-03-18 4:39:32 AM
Here where four parties, three rivers and two parkways meet, the visible struggle for dominance between media and government is as stylized and conventional as kabuki. Pay no attention. Most Ministers have been dealing with their hometown and provincial media all their political lives and intend to keep on doing so. Depending on their stature, they can still communicate with their constituencies. Most have the power to tell the Prime Minister and his staffers to step back and will begin to do so. The centre will inevitably but selectively relax its grip as it learns which ministerial communications people can be trusted because it simply does not have time to fine-tune every release and statement. Sooner or later, people get tired. A real drain is making sure everything says exactly the same thing in French and English. Annoying the translators is much more serious than displeasing some gaping hayseed of an inexperienced political staffer.
Posted by: Billy B. ByTown | 2006-03-18 6:44:07 AM
What's the matter trueleft? Stevie hasn't sent you his personal weekly update, or produced a bunch of hot air like the last few guys have?
Lets see, a big, flashy, empty headed, big mouth (that part kind of sounds like you) thief, the kind Canada has been subject to for over a decade verses the quiet, thoughtful, honest guy.
Hmmm, I wonder which one most people would support, and do. Of course we know the kind you kool-aid drinkers support.
Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-18 6:50:44 AM
Again, I applaud Harper's decision.
It is not 'muzzling' his ministers or MPs. Dissent and debate are not stopped within the party and parliament. But fictional accounts, biased speculation and irrelevant focus on trivia by an off-the-rails MSM are stopped: eg.
(why don't you hug your children, Mr. Harper - does that show us you are a cold and evil person?); (Well, yes, Mr. Shapiro 'may' be biased and has ignored significant breaches..but..you still have to obey him, don't you, Mr. Harper?); (Well, someone who supports war, any war, is just like Bush and Bush is Evil - so, are you like Bush because you are going to Afghanistan?); (Oh, we know that the Liberals sent the military to Afghanistan but still, shouldn't there be a full debate and vote?)..
It is not stopping disclosure and accountability. The MSM should never be considered the venue for such - the first stop on that road is the government's willingness and committment to accountability and disclosure. The MSM most certainly didn't disclose the Liberal machinations of the past decade.
Nothing came from them but adoration. The Liberals disclosed nothing - about the money laundering in Quebec, the kickbacks, the PR pledges to international aid never delivered, the patronage appointments, Radzwanski's bankruptcy deal followed by his lucrative appointment; the enormous expense accounts for personal luxuries (lunches, dinners, first class travel to holiday sites for 'business meetings' and so on)....
The MSM reported none of this.
But, they gave us front pages of Chretien eating beef in a restaurant (that was how the Liberals dealt with Mad Cow Disease); they reported, happily, how Chretien flew the cabinet to Toronto, at taxpayer expense, to hold a cabinet meeting in Toronto (that was how the Liberals dealt with SARS).
They reported Parrish's firing by Martin - implying that it was for her anti-American 'stomp on Bush' actions..when it was really for her criticism of Martin. They didn't tell us that - that Martin/Chretien never permitted dissent.
They report gleefully, any and all anti-American comments but never report any pro-American comments.
They report, falsely, Martin's continuous litany that SSM is a 'Charter Right' - ignoring that the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, stating that it was NOT a Charter Right, had nothing to do with human rights and was properly a decision based in the legislature. Martin lied to the people; the MSM didn't report this; they spread Martin's lies.
And so on. The MSM have denigrated from their duty to report FACTS, from investigating and uncovering and reporting FACTS...to acting as an enormous propaganda machine, creating a FICTIONAL reality that ignores, hides and deviates from the truth.
I therefore applaud Harper's open rebuke of them. If the MSM has no intention of returning to their original duty and intends to continue to act as a propaganda machine, working within a distorted and malicious perspective - the perspective of The Canadian CaveDweller - then, he is absolutely right to ignore them. CaveDwellers should be ignored...and left with their shadows and their fictional tales.
Posted by: ET | 2006-03-18 7:14:42 AM
Hey the MSM is in a snit because a) their beloved Liberals lost the election and b) the Conservatives , who have been constantly maligned by the MSM , are simply preventing side issues , which the MSM love to dwell on , from derailing their election promises. Their main objectives will be difficult enough to implement with a hostile , unelected Liberal dominated Senate , and the last thing they need is for the MSM grandstanding over a side issue.
The MSM behaves as though they have a right to dictate public policy rather than factually reporting events , and seldom let facts get in the way.
Posted by: willy | 2006-03-18 7:28:58 AM
Speaking of Radwanski, Timothy Denton remembers him from school days - less than fondly.
Posted by: Billy B. ByTown | 2006-03-18 7:36:18 AM
And the URL for Denton's recollections -
Posted by: Billy B. ByTown | 2006-03-18 7:38:13 AM
One only has to look south to see what happens when you have a hostile left wing press. There is no placating them, as they do not operate within any reason or good intentions, or good will. They will do and say anything, even demonizing their own country to serve their own selfish interests.
They are as far left and as fanatical as trueleft is, and like him will trivialize over the least thing, till the next big trivial matter arrives. While the corruption, lies and everything Liberal will be quietly swept under the rug.
As ET mentioned, they prop up their crooked allies, the left, while demonizing their sworn enemy, anyone west of Brantford, or in any way Conservative. They have indeed become a propaganda arm for their favorite interest, the left.
There probably is no better example, as ET pointed out than SSM. How do you pass a law that the majority of the country is against, unless you have a captive media which will in turn have a captive audience which has no interest in the truth, only a social agenda? It was frightful to see the social engineering being perpetrated by a supposed balanced media in concert with a lying government. Simply incredible.
The days of these people presenting a balanced, truthful approach has long been gone. It is simply become a fact of life in this modern, socialistic world.
Harper has watched, and has learned.
Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-18 8:06:03 AM
Nice to see your grasp on reality is as tenuous as ever. I've got better things to do that correct all your errors, but here's a couple.
First, the Supreme Court did not state that same-sex marriage was not a charter right (and seven provincial courts of appeal said it was). It refused to answer the question in a reference, since it was clear that the government wasn't going to appeal the lower court decision and .
Second, if the dread MSM didn't cover, just as one example, the sponsorship scandal, then why did the Globe and Mail's Campbell Clark win a Mitchner award for breaking the story?
The media must report FACTS, you say? YOu wouldnt' recognize a fact if it bit you in the ass.
Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-18 8:10:42 AM
Right, deepblue. The MSM have moved from an obligation to factual and investigative reporting, to a role, established by themselves and eagerly accepted and encouraged by a corrupt government, as 'collaborative authors' of a one-sided fiction.
That's how the MSM and the Liberals have co-authored the Canadian Cave, an isolate, smug, condescending and irrational haven-for-non-participants and non-thinkers in the global world; and the Canadian CaveDweller..a smug, condescending mindless twit, wallowing in logical fallacies and emotive hysteria (aka Senator H-P, C. Parrish, Chretien, Martin and etc)...
This fictional perspective, which is always biased, is propaganda. In some countries, the MSM collaboration is on the side of the government; in other countries, it is on the side of the opposition. In many western countries, which have fallen into the sinkhole of a socialist welfare state perspective, the MSM is firmly on that side. After all, this perspective is the domain of postmodernism..and there's nothing like postmodernism to enable fiction.
Yes, I fully agree with your outline of SSM. Here, we had a proposal which, as you say, the majority of the country was against. Martin's attempt to move it beyond and outside of the electorate's discussions, was to send it to the SCC. He hoped that the SCC would state that SSM was a Charter Right, i.e., a human right. That would shut up discussion by the electorate.
The SCC refused to do so and instead, flung it back - stating that such a decision (ie the nature of marriage) was not within their jurisdiction but was within 'the exclusive legislative authority' of Parliament. That means that the gov't alone, not the courts, have the power to define marriage. Therefore, whether the country approves or rejects SSM - is entirely up to the legislature. Marriage of any type is not a property of the constitution; it is not a human right.
Martin refused to acknowledge this basic ruling and instead, with the help of the leftist MSM, went around stating that SSM was a 'Charter Right'. It isn't; the SCC specifically said that the definition of marriage is the exclusive domain of parliament. That means - it must be debated and voted on by the people and/or the people's representatives.
Marriage is a decision of the people. This means it must be debated by the people. The nature of marriage is not derived from an Order From the Supreme Court Because It is a Charter Right...with Martin thundering that he will Obey the Charter. Obey the Charter - What nonsense. Again - the SCC refused the case; the definition of marriage is the 'exclusive legislative authority of parliament'.
And the MSM ignored what the SCC had really said...and..gleefully went along with asserting that we, the people, have no right to debate and decide on SSM...because it's a 'Charter (Human) Right.
Harper is right to reject this self-assumed power of the MSM - their power to fictionalize, their power to build and support the Canadian Cave. Harper is trying to demolish this Cave and enable Canadians to move out of being CaveDwellers. Of course, for many, the Cave is a haven, where they can sit and pontificate about the stupidity of others. But, for other Canadians - the fresh air and sun are finally in view.
I think that blogs and bloggers have an important role to play in diminishing the propaganda power of the MSM. We saw how important that was in the US during their recent election - and we've seen how, during the 'Cartoon Fiasco' - how important blogs were in exposing the corruption of the Danish imams.
Posted by: ET | 2006-03-18 8:58:17 AM
I can tell by your comments that you are in hell. Without the Left in power and the media stroking them for doggie buiscuts, you feel left out. Your causes are on the back burner.
You are miserable, bitter ... lashing out at ET and others who happen to approve of everything you disaprove of. Your hurt is pretty big and you are pretty small. I like about you.
Let me cheer you up with a little joke.
Two condoms were outside of gay bar
one condom said to other
Wanna go in and get shit-faced?
There, now I'll bet you are smiling. Just concentrate on the lighter side of life, go get yourself a facial, and stop pretending you even understand what ET is saying.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-03-18 9:11:39 AM
>“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”<
This sounds like the mantra of the modern Liberal party, and is certainly the state of Canada today, but of course they are the words of Joseph Goebbels.
Sad to think we have learned so little. I hope Canada can find the fresh air and sun you speak of ET. I agree the new media, the blogs, have a huge role to play.
Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-18 9:29:39 AM
Stephen Harper is dealing properly with the MSM. They are almost all liberals and have a hard time accepting the reality that they don't run Canada any more. Smug commentators like James Travers and Chantal Hebert believe that they need to tell the PM what to do and then criticize him when he is not doing it. Too bad.
The PM owes nothing to the media. He has a country to run and is accountable to its citizens. When Parliament gets back into session we'll see how he handles it. Until then, the MSM should shut up, get out of the way and give him time to get ready.
Posted by: Herman | 2006-03-18 10:34:19 AM
" the MSM should shut up,"
Close down the media and don't question authority.
Know...where have I heard that before??
Anyway I've finally realized how to REALLY piss you ShotDumbers off:
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
At no time was I more proud to be a Canadian then the last election when a majority of Canadians DID NOT vote for the Harper agenda. Watch closely as he MOVES EVEN MORE TO THE CENTER in an effort to win those strongly liberal Canadian
One more time!
O Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux.
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix.
Ton histoire est une épopée,
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Posted by: Justin rules | 2006-03-18 10:53:15 AM
I am a bit late to this discussion but I have to agree with ET.
Current mainstream media is too far left in its history of accepting government socialism and are but peddlers of socialism as practiced by Liberal governments. Their unwillingness to bare the corruption that existed for the past decade speaks volumes.
Harper is a prime target and his natural distrust of mainstream reporting is understandable.
As a staunch supporter of Harper and conservatism , my belief is that the clamp down until parliament convenes in April is absolutely necessary while the respective ministers get a firm grip on their ministries.
And once again I reiterate the corruption that existed in the past decade only existed because of willful blindness and and the enabling of a submissive left leaning mainstream media.
Posted by: Joe Molnar | 2006-03-18 10:54:34 AM
Is this the same Stephen Harper who was opposed to "gag laws" a few years ago? Now he is gagging members of the Red Tory oops I mean Conservative Party. I wonder if the REAL CONSERVATIVES in the Red Tory cabal will rebel and assert their right to free speech. After all they are mature adults and not sheep!
Posted by: Stephen Gray | 2006-03-18 10:58:04 AM
Stephen: I think you're in the wrong post....sheep, that's the Bareback Mountain post about 3 posts down. :)
Posted by: MarkAlta | 2006-03-18 11:54:32 AM
My point is that the MSM has reneged on its original mandate, and therefore, no government and no citizen is under any obligation to discuss with, or read, or honour, the current Canadian MSM.
Its original mandate was to search for and report information. All and any information, regardless of political and ideological taint - by investigation, by questions, by analysis. It reneged on this mandate when it TOOK A POLITICAL AND IDEOLOGICAL POSITION, when it moved into the constraints of that position, and defined 'the news that's fit to print' only within the constraints of that perspective.
Most certainly, a journalist can write within a political and ideological position; we readily become aware of his ideals and can judge his conclusions within those constraints. But the MSM is supposed to provide us, the public, with all the information. Not just one side. And, it is not suppposed to lobby and market and promote one position. It is supposed to 'inform' us.
But, the MSM in Canada has moved out of this mandate and into partisan ideological promotion. That's propaganda.
Chretien and Martin readily used this expense-free tool of propaganda; it was, after all, their propaganda. Therefore - all the public would ever see, in their era, was front page 'photo-ops' of Chretien/Martin eating beef, pontificating about SSM, hugging the new G-G - all blather, all propaganda for their political agenda.
Did we ever hear about the real dealings in our government? No.
Harper rejects propaganda. That is why he is rejecting the MSM - because they are NOT operating as a news/information system. They aren't interested in information. They are only interested in promoting a particular ideology - that of the left.
Their problem now, within this goal of leftist propaganda, is that they have one agenda - to denigrate Harper - and their questions and interactions with his ministers are not about the governmental agenda but about this denigration.
Are they interested in accountability and ethical government? No, not at all - they are interested only in Harper's snubbing of an incompetent unethical 'ethics minister'. It's the snub they focus on - not the fact that Shapiro is, himself, incompetent and unethical.
Are they interested in Canada's international role? No- they are only interested in living up to our CaveDweller Role, which means, being anti-American and where we do nothing in the world, other than make superior comments about how 'ugly it is outside the Canadian Cave'.
Are they interested in good government? No; they are only interested in denigration of Harper. Since this is their sole agenda, then, Harper is completely right in rejecting them and their actions.
Will the Canadian MSM ever return to its original mandate - that of providing the public with all the information?
I think that blogs are vital in this task - they provide information. Consider the important roles of Steve Janke's 'Angry in the Great White North' blog - and what it's uncovered. And the important role Captain's Quarter's played and continues to play. And Kate's SDA...
These are the investigative blogs. The MSM has, for the most part, reneged on this commitment and deserves to be ignored.
Posted by: ET | 2006-03-18 11:56:32 AM
I agree with ET that much of the MSM have forgotten their mandate. Instead of finding and reporting on information, they have become propagandists. That they are increasingly recalcitrant in that regard doesn't make their complaints any more legitimate; in fact, quite the opposite. They are like trolls with a slick production machine behind them. CBC National in particular has incrementally gone from reporting the news to pure commentary that pretends to be news. Watch their Afghanistan reporting in particular, you'll see the pattern: After a cursory "(X) has occurred", there is an immediate "but (our reporter has decided that this, instead is the story)", at which point we hear the views of some entrenched Liberal bureaucrat masquerading as a reporter.
In coverage of federal politics, too, Liberal PR opinion pieces and anti-Americanism have supplanted straightforward reporting of events. In the middle of a report last week Paul Hunter dredged up an Ontario Liberal MP who warned that Harper shouldn't act too much like George Bush. Hnkwwah? Is that advice from a defeated Liberal really "news"? Or is it just a tag team of Liberals propagandizing at taxpayer expense against those feared non-Liberals?
Since the CBC and others have taken it upon themselves to promote one particular ideology, one that is essentially a note-by-note reiteration of the views and electoral strategy of the formerly dominant party, I don't see why Harper should be taken to task for not playing by their rules. If the media just reported on events instead of giving it their (and the LPC's) take on it, Harper's keeping them at arm length would be ill-advised, but as long as the MSM are largely propagandists for the Liberal left, and as long as they arrogantly continue to insist that their opinions are "news" for all Canadians, Harper shouldn't feed them, he should continue to to what he was elected to.
Of course, the media will continue to make his unwillingness to play into their hands a big "story". Unfortunately for them, though, anyone who's not from the broad Left will recognize what an unadulterated load of crap that is, and how arrogant they are to assume that their new irrelevence is a capital concern for the rest of us. They made their bed, and all that.
Posted by: EBD | 2006-03-18 12:58:48 PM
Harper’s "famous five" as indicators of a snap election?
The pieces seem to be falling into place. The last piece was Harper’s muzzling of his ministers, and the instructions to all and sundry to talk just about his Five Points.
The evidence points towards Harper preparing to call a snap election, before the Liberals have a chance to select their leader and raise funds to pay off their election debt:
• The recent changes to the laws have put the Liberals in a relatively worse position than the New Tories, who rely on many small donations from thousands of members, as compared to the Liberal fat-cat financing of the past.
• The Liberals are leaderless, and are dragging their feet in selecting a leader; having many contenders would allow the Tories to decide to run against the weakest ones as and when they choose to.
Why call an election within a few months? Because the Liberals are in disarray. Because the wheels might come off the New Tories if they start trying to implement their full platform. Because their honeymoon might end. Because the longer it takes before the next election, the more distance the Liberals can put between themselves and the corruption charges of the recent past.
But what is the key indicator of Harper preparing for a snap election? Quoting the heading of Jeffrey Simpson's column in Saturday March 18 Globe & Mail, it is because of the "unbearable lightness of Harper's five vows".
Simpson does a superb job of analysing these five points which Harper wants his ministers to talk about, and concludes: Harper's famous five are "political winners and policy busts", and are on the table because they are "what the Conservatives think they need to win the next election."
Simpson tears strips off the famous five:
• the GST cut "represents a $5-billion political bribe".
• The Accountability Act outlined in the Tories platform "will be a mishmash of non-solutions to exaggerated problems".
• The daycare promise is a wash (his assumption) as politics and as social policy, slightly negative.
• The tough-on-crime stuff "flies in the face of the evidence" and an overblown response.
• The patient wait-time guarantees "reflects the shavings on the iceberg of the health-care system".
So why the muzzle on his ministers, and his insistence on the famous five being talked about and nothing else?
My bet? Because he is preparing for a snap election once his famous five are implemented, based on "I honoured my promises, so re-elect me to a majority government". Run against a disorganized Liberal Party. Throw some bones to Quebecers through the francophone step and some tax rights, to buy more Quebec votes. Choose two or three of the Liberal candidates and slam each one in succession (Stronach: no substance; Brison: Mr Emailer; Rae: really a socialist ... you fill in the blanks).
Manufacture a false crisis, and call the election based on it. Then appeal to Canadians to be fair and give his government, which delivered on the famous five, a chance to provide honest government as a majority government. During this election, avoid detailed discussion of the real policies of the New Tories at all costs.
Then, should he win a majority government, implement his neocon policies in the first four years...
Cunning fellow, that policy wonk. But I wonder how much of this strategy came from Brian Mulroney?
Posted by: CuriosityKilledTheCat | 2006-03-18 6:06:49 PM
I watched a globe and mail reporter on a forum before the election and he was hoping for a Conservative win. He said he could end up with so many storylines due to the Conservatives lack of discipline and knowledge on government ministerial duties. This was the whole rebound for the left after losing the election. Let the media at them and the public will be begging for the Liberals to get back in power. There is going to be a learning curve and until then Harper is taking the right approach.
Those on the left seem to be complaining the most but still voted 60% in favour of keeping the same thing as before, you know, restricting access. Once again, funny. So was Duke.
Posted by: Lemmytowner | 2006-03-18 6:23:02 PM
curiosity - I've always found Simpson, the few times that I can stand to read him - one of the most obtuse and 'mentally frozen' journalists around. He's stuck on stupid, completely frozen in his devotion to Trudeaupia and the Liberal left.
The five points were part of the LAST election campaign; they were a key part of that campaign's success. The fact that Simpson doesn't agree with them - is irrelevant.
I strongly disagree that Harper will call an election in a few months. Why should he? Elections are expensive and Harper isn't foolish.
My bet is that this government will last several years; his five platform points won't be implemented in a few months - and elections are expensive. But then, he'll get a majority, based on that platform.
Again, Harper is not muzzling his ministers. He's reacting to a dysfunctional MSM, that is no longer gathering and reporting on information, but is a propaganda machine of a leftist ideology. Chretien and Martin used the MSM as a propaganda machine. Certainly, no information was provided.
Possibly you are used to the cynical and manipulative tactics of the Liberals - whose only agenda was power. I don't think Harper is like that; he's interested in Canada and its governance. Not his own or his party's power. Quite a difference from the Liberals.
Neocon policies???? Would you please explain this?
Posted by: ET | 2006-03-18 6:41:58 PM
Harper isn't stomping on the freedom of the press. Good reporters can still dig and find out the news as they ought to be doing anyway.
Do their job, dig around, report the news, freedom of the press!
----oh wait, werent they the ones who had troubles with a cartoon or two............YEP
HOKEY DOKEY, scratch that last, about the press, they may need all the help they can get to ummmmmm CREATE some news!!!!
the press needs help.
YO Stevie, loosen up a bit and tell the ministers they can flap their gums and whistle thru their teeth
the left leaning liberal media needs a leg up!
Posted by: Canadian freedoms fan | 2006-03-18 7:19:00 PM
Please read some George Orwell - and fast. Your use of language is naive at best, idiotic at mid and totalitarian at worst. You're either a fool or a fascist but that seems to be the ShotDumbers clarion call: "Partisanship over Principles."
You waste all your breath (unfortunately not enough of it to actually shut you up) ranting against tyrants like Saddam and Castro yet you seem to march in step with their ideas of a 'free press'. You, as with most totalitarians, treat the press as though a 'dysfunctional' child when it's not preaching your own brand of truthiness.
So you'd have Harper slap the presses hands until it 'learns a lesson' and plays ball with the government.
My favourite part:
" I don't think Harper is like that; he's interested in Canada and its governance. Not his own or his party's power. "
I'm going to ignore my instinct and not call you a dumb fucking idiot, instead I'd ask, how do you explain his shifting proprities over the last few years?? How do you explain his shift to the centre?
Posted by: Justin rules | 2006-03-18 8:05:29 PM
So, let's get this straight. The Prime Minister focuses his government's communications efforts on the key points which the voters embraced in electing his party, in the face of a minority parliament and a hostile press. On those grounds, the Metropolitan of the Church of Simpson (Rideau-Orthodox) has declared Stephen Harper to be an apostate and thus anathema, even though he was clearly not even a parishioner.
Works for me. I'd wear that G&M fatwa as a badge of honour if foisted upon me.
Posted by: Paul Canniff | 2006-03-18 8:40:23 PM
The point was made that the voters might not want an election in the near future. But think a bit - could Harper persuade voters that a fresh election was a good thing?
Yes. If it is framed correctly (remember, Don't Think of an Elephant, by George Lakoff).
Imagine this: Harper pushes his famous five priorities through. In the meantime, every cabinet minister is busily reading every file he or she can find, looking for anything untoward.
How would you frame your next election call if you were Harper and you found three examples of potential, on the face of it, ethics transgressions by Liberal ministers in the old government?
You would not need to prove they were factually true: a claim and a prima facie case would be enough to support a new election based on the three cases. You would claim that the Liberals did not fess up, the corruption was more widespread than everyone thought, the Liberal senate was threatening to block you.
So you needed a new mandate and had decided to call a new election to get one. Run against the senate majority as the unelected ones, against the Liberals as corrupt, and aim for a majority government.
Tell voters you need a firm mandate to root out corruption on the Hill. That your famous five showed you were a man of your word, prepared to deliver what was promised. The do a pre-emptive strike while the Liberals were busy running their leadership race, and Quebec was in the middle of a provincial election ...
Plausible? You tell me.
Posted by: CuriosityKilledTheCat | 2006-03-18 9:13:15 PM
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