Monday, March 1, 2010

Sorry David Akin But Again You are Dead Wrong

I am so tired of our media trying to spin stories, that part of my mission to work with others to take this country back, is to call out some of these so-called journalists who say really stupid things.

And no that doesn't mean that I expect them to be anti-rightwing or pro-leftwing, but I do expect them to be honest. This country is in serious trouble with a government that acts in almost total secrecy, and a media that helps to keep their secrets. Jack Layton recently referred to it as an attempt to build walls around the truth.

Earlier this month Gloria Galloway wrote an in depth piece on the struggles that legitimate journalists have in obtaining information from this government. And she states.

In 2006 and early 2007, reporters in Ottawa noticed that documents requested through federal Access to information and Privacy (ATIP) laws were taking longer and longer to arrive. Information officers in various government departments privately blamed a new requirement, imposed by the Harper government, that requests be vetted by the Privy Council, the departmental arm of the Prime Minister's Office.

Access to information for the media has become a huge problem, and government control of information, has reached epidemic proportions. This is very serious and needs immediate attention.

The tipping point may have been the discovery that a staffer of then Public Works minister Christian Paradis, ordered the unrelease of a sensitive document, eventually only allowing 30 pages of the 137 pages to be handed over.

Dimitri Soudas went into typical damage control, threatening to fire anyone who pulled that stunt again, but everyone knows that is was business as usual for this government.

According to the Hill Times: Cabinet ministers' offices regularly interfere in ATI requests, says Tory staffer.

Cabinet ministers' offices had been under orders to pressure bureaucrats to pare down the amount of information released under the Access to Information Act up until The Canadian Press recently broke the story on how one political staffer killed the release of a document, forcing the Prime Minister's Office to get involved and to do some damage control, says one Conservative staffer.

"Since we formed government, the PMO has been pressuring us to take a hard line on ATIP requests," the staffer, who did not want to be identified, told The Hill Times.

This is not only completely unethical but should be totally unacceptable in a democratic country.

Amir Attaran, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and a frequent user of access system, is critical of the Information Commissioner's Office and said the apparent interference by Mr. Togneri is more than shocking. "He clearly counselled the concealment of the records, that's a no-brainer, and it's a question of what defence he has," Prof. Attaran said.

Dean Beeby, the CP reporter who broke the story on how his access request was handled by Minister Paradis' office, is a veteran ATI user who has been using the system since it came into force in 1983. He said the ATI system has "pretty much ground to a halt" and that he's "never seen the system so broken."

Enter David Akin, Stephen Harper's little puppet on the Hill.

Canwest News Service Hill reporter David Akin said he was unsurprised by the Paradis incident, adding that it's par for the course for both this Conservative government and previous Liberal governments. "It's not that the Conservatives are particularly bad at this compared to any other group. Governments are bad, I can't stress that enough" .....

Now remember David Akin was also the pseudo-journalist who tried to defend being held hostage on a plane, by suggesting that he has to write for 'conservative' Canadians too. I can't imagine 1/3 of Canadians supporting kidnapping, but who am I to judge.

Akin also recently got into a flap over a story he wrote about Harper's interview with Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, because the headline (which he quickly stated was not his doing) called it shameless exploitation. After his hissy fit, the headline was changed to something like "And God sent down his second son, Stephen Harper ... )

Smarten up! This is no longer good enough. You can't justify this government's abhorrent behaviour by comparing it to governments past. I was one of seven children, and if we tried that nonsense with my mother, she'd say "if they jumped off a bridge would you do it too?" It is WRONG and I can't stress that enough!

Everyone, with the exception of Akin and 90% of what passes for Canadian media these days, recognize the danger signs. Clues Mr. Akin .... 2006 and 2007 reporters in Ottawa noticed that documents requested through federal Access to information and Privacy (ATIP) laws were taking longer and longer to arrive ... and ..... never seen the system so broken.

It might be Dimitri's job to run interference for the PMO, but it's not yours. David Akin - consider yourself prorogued.


  1. Incredibly important issue & "symptom" of democracy eroding. Excellent post! Thanks.

  2. Thank you. I am humbled. I do appreciate that it's tough to work on the Hill and read your comments regarding the difficulties you have with asking questions.

    But you've got to understand that there is a growing distrust and resentment with the media, that has been amplified since the last prorogation.

    A government not willing to answer questions is simply not acceptable. I know it didn't start with Harper, but it needs to end with him.

    So while I can appreciate your difficulties, they are only compounded when the behaviour is excused.

    We have to let this government know that we will no longer tolerate the secrecy and something this serious can't be just swept under the rug.

    Who knows, maybe they'll lighten up a little, which will definitely make your job easier.