Listen, there are lots of things I find disturbing about this government’s performance so far. Seriously. Lots and lots. But nothing upsets me more than the way they’ve attempted to shut-out and manipulate the media, or those who disagree with them.
This is the one issue that all of us, regardless of partisan leanings, should be able to get behind. Even if you support the Conservative government, you still need to know what they’re up to.
And remember, this government was elected, above all, on a promise of transparency and accountability; as in, transparent and accountable to us. The news media, regardless of its faults, is our number one source for information on what’s going on in government.
(As a side note, during the last election campaign my communist opponent loved to opine at all-candidates meetings that “Stephen Harper is the face of George W. Bush in this country.” It’s not the most accurate statement that’s ever been spoken, but it’s a great way to get applause from a Toronto crowd. Try it some time. Anyway, the point is that this move to control the media reminds me more of the Bush White House than anything else Harper’s done so far.)
We need our government to open up. Let ministers and MPs speak their minds; hold frequent press conferences; give reporters full access. Of course, if we do that, we’re also going to need to learn to be more forgiving of politicians who talk like normal people. And bloggers who write longwinded ranty diatribes.