Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stephen Harper's Weak Performance at Business Round Table Raises Red Flags

On February 8, Stephen Harper held a business round table in Calgary. In true fashion, the press got very little advance notice, were given barely a minute for photo-ops and were told absolutely no questions.

As one reporter noted:

Business reporters don’t usually write about press restrictions (or freedom of press) but my experiences in reporting on prime minister Stephen Harper’s two events in Calgary this past Monday left this reporter no option but a discussion of freedom of press and that “pink elephant in the room."

Kempton was experiencing what the Canadian media has been forced to live with for the past four years, as their role in covering our government has been reduced to cutting and pasting from PMO press releases, and publishing photos that have already been airbrushed and deemed fit for public consumption.

Kempton was spared however, being roughed up by the RCMP, who travel with Harper to protect him from embarrassing questions or candid snapshots.

He suggests that the elephant in the room is the fact that Harper is shutting out the media, in a democratic country, where freedom of the press is essential. However, we already know that government secrets are now a whole herd of elephants, that most in our mainstream media have accepted as the norm.

This business reporter also says tongue in cheek:

Of course, this reporter is being facetious in suggesting the PMO to NOT inform the local media and simply distribute “approved photos and videos”. In fact, if PMO takes on the role to distribute “approved photos and videos”, then it is functioning no different than the China’s government controlled mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency (the sole government approved news source if and when the Chinese government declare a news as “embarrassing/sensitive” including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake).

Welcome to Harper's world. He has been taking his own photos and providing his own video for some time now, which is clearly no different than the China’s government controlled mouthpiece .

But for me, the elephant in that room was not the suppression of the media, but how awkward Stephen Harper looked. Almost embarrassed, as he fidgeted and spoke barely above a whisper.

What is he afraid of?

Is he now realizing that his poor judgement has tanked this country's economy. From high-risk mortgages, to pork barrelling. From signs, TV ads and big cardboard cheques, instead of an honest effort to stimulate the economy?

Is it the fear that once these local businessmen realize what he's done in this horrible Buy American trade deal, that they will dicover that he's a fraud?

Is it the brewing scandal over lobbying practices that is threatening to bring down his government?

The public works scandal that may involve the secret selling of government buildings, though guess what? They're not talking.

Is it the possibility of being charged with war crimes?

I suppose any or all of the above, but this nasty man who has become the poker of eyes, is clearly off his game.

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