Sunday, August 9, 2015

Openness And Transparency: Not In Harperland

The gulf between the open and reasonable persona Stephen Harper tried to convey during last week's debate and the Nixonian truth about the man is a yawning one indeed. Until and unless Canadians become widely aware of that reality, there is still very much a chance that he could win the upcoming election, an eventuality many are fighting hard to prevent.

I suspect that even if people are not really that interested in politics, they expect their elected representatives, especially their prime minister, to be open and reasonably accessible, especially during an election campaign. They might be surprised to learn that this is not the case with Stephen Harper and his cabal.

While it has been reported in alternative media, the fact that a vetting process is in place for anyone wishing to attend an event where Harper is present (no one can attend without an invitation) is not widely known; the MSM has made little mention of it. However, we now learn that there are several other restrictions being imposed on those who wish to touch the hem of Dear Leader's garment:
Members of the public who attend Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s campaign events are being required to agree to a gag order before they can walk through the door, iPolitics has learned.

While attendance is by invitation only, and attendees are vetted by the Conservative Party before receiving a ticket, those who want to attend a campaign event in person are also being asked to agree to a number of conditions including not to transmit any description of the event or any images from it.
In a move more befitting a totalitarian regime than a democratic society, hopeful attendees must cast aside any semblance of self-respect and the accustomed rights of citizenship and embrace the following:
“Holder (of the confirmation of registration) is prohibited from transmitting or aiding in transmitting any description, account, picture or reproduction of the Event,” according to information contained on the invitation website for an event Harper is planning in Brampton East on Monday.
A Tweet or a Facebook posting? Don't even think about it.
“Holder and his/her belongings may be searched upon entry, and Holder consents to such searches and waives any related claims that might arise against Conservative Fund Canada, the Electoral District Association concerned, and the facility. If the Holder elects not to consent to these searches, Holder will be denied entry to the facility.”
For anyone who might chaff under such restrictions and contemplate rebelling, a strong warning about the futility of resistance is being issued:
“The confirmation of registration and entry to the event is a revocable licence: it may be withdrawn, admission refused or Holder expelled from the premises at any time for any reason without recourse by Holder.”
The contrast with the NDP and the Liberals is jarring:
Other parties often encourage participants to tweet comments or photos from party rallies, sometimes even asking them to use a particular hashtag in a bid to build social media buzz around an event.

An NDP official said the party’s campaign events with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair do not have any prohibition on transmitting comments or photos.

“People are invited to bring their friends and are encouraged to take photos and share their experiences however they choose.”

Olivier Duchesneau, spokesman for the Liberal Party, said his party’s events are open to everyone because Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants to meet “as many Canadians as possible.”
It has often been said that people get the government they deserve. Let us hope there are not too many voters out there who enjoy being treated with suspicion, disdain, condescension and contempt by a national leader who pretends to be representing their best interests.

The Emperor clearly has no clothes.


  1. I thought that the "ticketing" of campaign events was unnecessarily restrictive, the gag order is simply so reminiscent of certain 1940s regimes that its downright scary.

    1. Extreme politics is Harper's stock-in-trade, Rural. How the rest of us feel about it seems totally immaterial to him and his apparatchik.

    2. It makes one wonder what kind of waiver the press must agree to in order to report on the event?

    3. Another sad and under-reported fact is that Harper apparently will only be taking limited questions from those members of the press whose organizations have paid the stipulated fee to be on the Harper campaign bus, Rural. That was the case when he announced the election last Sunday, and it is my understanding that will continue to be the case throughout the campaign. Why reproters agree to such restraints is beyond me. A press boycott would be better, in my view.