Friday, April 1, 2011

The Star Finally Exposes The Truth About Harper's Press Restrictions

What follows is a copy of today's headline story in The Star. I was unable to find it online after reading it in my home delivery, so I cannot provide the link. Therefore I am taking the liberty of reproducing the entire story.

While Andrew Coyne expresses outrage in a Twitter message that this is headline news, I think it is far overdue that the general public learn of the methods the Harper camp is using to control the P.M.'s image. Although this has been well-known since the start of the campaign by bloggers and users of Twitter, newspapers with wide circulation have not reported it until now, as far as I know. Significantly, there is no mention of the story in our so-called national newspaper, The Globe and Mail.

Tensions rise as Conservative leader imposes daily cap on queries from reporters at campaign events
HALIFAX— The cost to travel with Stephen Harper’s campaign? $10,100 a week.

The number of questions Harper takes each day? Five.

Looking like an over-controlling politician? Priceless.

The bright yellow fence that kept reporters penned in far from the Conservative leader Thursday during a campaign event here was an apt metaphor for his first week dealing with the media — controlling and restrictive.

Now Harper is facing questions about his questions. Namely, why he isn’t willing to take more. And he’s refusing to answer. Harper takes only five questions from the media each day — four from the reporters on his tour and one from a local reporter. His political rivals place few restrictions on how many questions they take.

That’s produced tension between the Conservative leader and the journalists following his campaign tour as it criss-crosses the country.

Harper has settled into a routine in his first week — a morning announcement, followed by a media availability. Journalists on the campaign tour get four questions — usually two in English and two in French — and a local reporter is given the chance to lob a question at the Conservative leader, as well. But the situation boiled over Thursday when Harper was asked — using one of the five questions — why he refused to take more than a handful of questions from reporters each day. Harper refused to answer, but when pressed, suggested he would be open to addressing any issues he hadn’t already discussed.
But he never explained his rationale for not fielding more questions.

“In terms of questions, is there any specific issue that I haven’t addressed that you want me to address?” Harper asked.

“If there’s another subject, I’ll answer,” the Conservative leader told journalists behind the fence, more than 10 metres away.

Later, Harper supporter David Cameron, who was at the event, came up to the journalists to express his frustration with their questions.

“You guys reporting the news or making it?” he asked.

Senator Michael MacDonald, a Harper appointee, tweeted: “Lovely day on Halifax waterfront for PM’s trade status. CBC reporters (Terry) Milewski and (Jennifer) Ditchburn were like attack dogs afterward — pathetic!”

In fact, Ditchburn works for The Canadian Press.

MacDonald later wrote that he withdrew the comment.

The New Democrats soon issued a news release noting that MacDonald — who was vice-president of the Conservative Party of Canada before Harper put him in the Senate in 2009 — earned $132,300 last year and rang up expenses totalling $257,142.

Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said later the Conservative leader has several media interviews with radio and television stations across the country this week.


  1. It appears the original story was removed from The Star's website and replaced with this.

    But the comments in response to OS remain - check it out.

  2. I blogged on this at my place. (I can't paste a link in?) My co-blogger said that this story was online, she read it, but it has since been pulled and replaced. The comments on the previous version remain though. ?????

  3. This isn't an isolated incident. Today a CP story on Harper patronage was also pulled from news sites across the country:

  4. Oh FCS. Support democracy. Pay for a paper once in a while will ya?

  5. The fact that it made it into the print edition doesn't change the fact that a story was removed from the website version.

  6. This hopefully hits you. The Owner of Fox News has subsidiaries involved in wiretapping governmental officials and PRIVATE Citizens. Simultaneously there have been government officials who have exclusively only been consulted by, or interviewed by Fox News. A baren fixture of this is my representative (Not by choice) Rep. Peter King (Monarchist,...I mean Republican).

    This politician (Not a leader) Mr. King, on the topic of wiretapping, was recently quoted saying: "It's a Disgrace, it's wrong to hack into anyone's phone. but especially at a time of the worst national disaster in the history of our country."
    But the domino didn't start with Rupert Murdoch's other foreign presses. . There is a symbiosis of corruption between Fox News and Peter King (Who happens to be the Chairman of The Dept. of Homeland Security). If you want to see what Rep. King's office wiretapping of my phones, and other tyrannical suppressive actions he's caused, look down this rabbit's hole (By The way, Rep. King denotes that wiretapping is a disgrace affiliated with national disasters, but when I candidly invoke a national disaster for my government to observe gun control regulation, I'm immediately wiretapped.) :

    The letter from the officer who was present at the ilegal search and seizure is completely authentic.