meet the press

it looks like harper is taking a few pointers from the bush administration when it comes to relations with the press. he has banned reporters from the floor where the cabinet meetings are held, making them wait downstairs until a minister is good and ready to talk to them. he has said that cabinet meetings are private, and that it is a constitutional issue. however, traditionally, journalists would be given advance notice on these meetings, even though the government kept the agendas secret, and it was common to see them flock to cabinet members as they left the room, sometimes getting some very candid, and even off-the-cuff remarks from the politicians.

i guess that is what harper is trying to avoid. the conservatives have been caught saying some really stupid things in the past couple of years, from everything dealing with race issues to homosexuality. and the liberal government before was often caught in some verbal miscommunication and stupidity as well. it looks like harper has learned something from all of that, and is tearing a page out of bush's playbook. it seems he wants to be able to control what his ministers say, at least when it comes to the natural jouranlistic buzz that swarms right after a meeting, as well as controlling how prepared reporters are allowed to be, even catching them off guard.

i just hope this makes journalists a little more resourceful, and don't become cowed to the government like the u.s. media had become up until only recently. harper is clearly trying to pull some of the teeth that the media has, because the media ravaged the liberals, with appropriate cause, and would most likely tear him apart if he made a bad move. there's a transparency to the government that was missing when the liberals were running the show, and now it seems to be missing again. harper said he would do things differently when he took over, and it looks like he's setting out to prove that. this may or may not be a smart play. it could backfire on him, because after all, hell hath no fury on a journalist scorned.

there's the benefit of the doubt, which i would love to extend to harper, but for some reason there is something absolutely bothersome about him. maybe it's because as soon as the election was over, he returned to doing his best howard hughes impression. he just seems to be alergic to other people. it just makes you really wonder what this government has to hide when it resorts to secret meetings seemingly just for the heck of it.

i do, however, have to give him props for showing up in afghanistan to support our troops, which is all the more important in terms of timing, because more and more of our troops seem to be coming home in body bags, with yet another soldier killed today. so far the haper government is standing strong. we'll see how far that lasts once public support erodes.

(source 1)

(source 2)

(source 3)