Thursday, January 27, 2011

Harper Government Charging Taxayers Millions for Dirty Work

Back in the day when Preston Manning was leader of the Reform movement, and Stephen Harper writing policy, the media unveiled something that Manning had instructed his candidates to do.

He told them to keep dossiers on their opponents, so that they would be prepared for any debate. And if they could dig up dirt, all the better, come election time.

These practices were not common in Canadian politics, and hence it made the story newsworthy.

Dirty tricks by the Corporate party of Canada, are no longer newsworthy, except when it involves taxpayer money. And that is the case with the latest discovery. The Harperites have cut down on opinion polls, since they don't really care what we think, and instead have hired agencies to keep track of media stories.

I wondered how they were able to come up with things so quickly. Often in the House of Commons, when a member of the opposition asks a question, someone from the government side will pull up a quote from a news story, turning it back on the person asking the question on our behalf.
The Harper government spends more money keeping track of what the media is saying than it does soliciting the opinions of ordinary Canadians, an Ottawa Citizen analysis of contracting records shows. The government has been steadily increasingly the amount it pays for private "media monitoring" services over the past three years, after dramatically slashing spending on public-opinion research. The prime minister's own department, the Privy Council Office, is the leading spender on media monitoring, the data show, having run up a bill of $3.8 million keeping tabs on newspapers, broadcasters and websites since 2008.
I would like to know who these companies are and what they are tracking. Fodder for attack ads? I mean, we pay their bills, shouldn't we get to know what we're paying for?

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