Monday, April 7, 2008

Critic: Government keeps public in the dark

This is from the Star. I wonder if the RCMP change re information about tasers is the doing of the government or the RCMP itself. Anyway there are lots of other examples where the secrecy is clearly a function of the government. Although the Harper government prates on in public about accountability in practice it makes everything secret that it can to avoid accountability.

Government keeps public in the dark: Critics - Canada - Government keeps public in the dark: Critics

Allauddin Khan/AP file photo
Canadians have an interest in what is going on in Afghanistan, says assistant federal information commissioner Suzanne YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT . . .
OTTAWA–Conservative MPs have been told to carry a card with them at all times reminding them what to do when dealing with reporters.

The wallet-size laminated card obtained by the Star instructs MPs to ask a series of questions before going to the PMO for permission to speak to the journalist.

Critics say this is just another example of the tight control that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office, and in particular his director of communications, Sandra Buckler, has over elected members.

Buckler did not respond to an email from the Star, nor did the Prime Minister's Office.

The card was given to Conservative MPs during a caucus meeting in the summer of 2006. Along with the card came a lecture from Buckler, said Liberal MP Garth Turner, a former Tory MP.

Buckler, he recalled, told MPs that they were not to speak to reporters without the PMO knowing about it, warning that could mean straying from the government message.

While some Tory MPs privately grumble about the tight reins on them, they keep their mouths shut for fear they will not only be passed over for promotions but be tossed out of the party.

The heavy-handed communications strategy has worked for the most part, particularly with backbench Conservative MPs.

Richard Brennan

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