Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stephen Harper is a slippery little shit.

Well, we're almost done Month #3 of the Harper government, and it looks like ol' Steve wants to control the media as much as his good buddy George does south of the border.

Aside: Peter McKay had a meeting with Condoleezza Rice today, and he was so happy afterward he sounded like he'd just gotten the hummer of his life behind those giant wooden doors. "Oooooh, Condi, you're just as smart as I always dreamed you'd be!" I wish I was exaggerating that quote, but it's actually pretty bang-on what he said.

Canadian politicans have always been pretty open with the media; scrums in the marble-lined foyer of the Centre Block, in front of those stairs up which Chretien used to sprint all the time, are a Canadian tradition dating back decades. I like 'em.

Whoops! I guess Steve doesn't.

A few weeks ago, he took flak for only making his cabinet ministers available to the media at certain times, and for generally being standoffish when it came to talking to the press gallery. This week, though, there was some great footage of him "taking questions" from a room full of reporters, some of whom had duitfully lined up at one of the microphones.

However, instead of addressing the queue o' reporters, he called on this guy, Tim, who was standing at the back of the room. After making his remarks, Steve asked, "Tim, do you have any questions?"

The reporter at the front of the queue was livid. "You mean, you're going to let him ask a question instead of us who have been lined up here for fifteen minutes?"

Steve ignored her and addressed his buddy again. "Tim, any questions?" The rest of the reporters in the room immediately started to raise hell; only after a protracted squabble did Steve ask the woman leading the queue if she had a question.

Tonight on the CBC, Nazional National Post columnist Andrew Coyne acted as Steve's apologist. "You know, this might be a good thing. [Steve] is just trying to get his message out as best as possible." Well, Andrew, has it ever occurred to you — a member of the media, no less — that there may be other things Canadians need to know from their Prime Minister other than "his message"?

The American media was afraid to ask any anti-Bush questions for years after 9/11; I understood the first few weeks, but it took Rep. John Murtha's angry outburst only a few short months ago for the media to actually hold Cheneybush's feet to the fire on... well, anything. I just don't want us to go down the same path.

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