Friday, March 12, 2010

Is Stephen Harper Involved in Another Ethics Violation and Does it Matter?

The place is a buzz (yawn) with news that Stephen Harper is going to be going live on YouTube.

You are able to post questions on the site; in fact as soon as you log on to the site Big Brother's name is emblazoned as the king of every bloody thing you see these days.

However, as Kady O'Mally brought up yesterday, is this ethical?

Now I don't mean is it ethical to have your face and name in every nook and cranny of the land, but it seems that Google is presenting this enormously expensive free advertising, and well ... that's against the law.

Now when Canada was a democracy someone in the media would say, "excuse me Mr Prime Minister but did you realize that you were breaking the law?" But since we have no democracy and virtually no media, and Harper is now head of the Party of Privilege; nothing will be done about this. Nothing.

He will go on YouTube with pre-scripted answers to soothe the weary souls of the masses, and he will get away with breaking the law. Blatantly and in our faces.

Isn't a dictatorship lovely?

According to tireless PMO spokesperson Dimitri Soudas, the tab for today's prime ministerial reply-to-the-Speech-from-the-Throne livestreaming festivities -- which, unlike CPAC and CBC, offered young Canadians the opportunity to view the House feed without the unnecessary filter of the replies from opposition parties -- as well as next week's virtual town hall is being picked up by Google Canada.

That would, of course, be the very same Google Canada that is
registered to lobby ... the very same PMO on copyright and telecommunications issues, which raises -- well, a question or two about how appropriate it was for Google to offer -- and, for that matter, for PMO to accept -- what likely comes out to a fairly generous gift. After all, Youtube may be free, but the PM isn't exactly being treated like your average cute-cat-video-uploading customer, is he?

On my local news last night when they covered the story, they mentioned that other leaders would be viewed as well. But apparently Google ran out of those little bite things, or whatever they feed themselves with, because as soon as Michael Ignatieff stood up to give his speech ... poof ... it was gone! Convenient.

The reason from the ethics guidelines, that prime ministers can't receive gifts is because:

The purpose of prohibiting public office holders or their family members from receiving gifts is to preserve confidence in the integrity of public decision-making.
Confidence in the integrity? We have no confidence in this man and he has no integrity.


  1. So right, Emily. And I just spent 1/2 an hour trying to submit a question about Pro-choice rights protected. I finally got it in - but it wouldn't accept it for the longest time - kept saying it was "just like similar questions" - and then showed me questions already onsite about Marijuana legalization &/or the Citizens Coalitions??! thought it might be some flagged word, but no matter what I tried, didn't work, til I finally got to a page where I had to vote IN my own question for submission.
    Very strange, indeed! Give it a try & see what you get.

  2. I already did. I tried to ask the question "do you think it's ethical for a prime minister to accept such a generous gift from a lobbyist?"

    It also took me to the marijuana category.

    Clearly he's not just going with scripted answers, but blocking questions he doesn't want to have to answer at all.