The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

September 25, 2008

Prime Minister sets our watchdogs on the press?

 
‘Keep them out!’ Mounties stop media from asking Tory questions   
OTTAWA — It’s a blurry, democratically dangerous no-man’s-land that governments and RCMP spokespeople do not like to publicly explore. The line between legitimate RCMP security duties and the media management imperatives of a politically sensitive Prime Minister’s Office appeared to be scuffed once again this week on the election trail. Mounties protecting Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a campaign event in Surrey, B.C., were ordered Tuesday evening to stop reporters from approaching a high-profile Tory candidate. “Keep them out,” Harper aide Ray Novak shouted at the RCMP security detail as journalists approached Dona Cadman. CTV’s Rosemary Thompson was literally yanked aside by one Mountie as she approached the retreating group – which did not include the prime minister.
 
Cadman, a Conservative candidate, is famous for sparking bribery allegations against her party by telling a journalist last year that her dying husband, former Reform and Independent MP Chuck Cadman, claimed to have been offered a million-dollar insurance policy to change his vote in Parliament. It’s an unresolved storyline the Conservatives, understandably, don’t want pursued during an election campaign. Cadman, who has dodged questions from the national media before in the campaign, told a local community newspaper Wednesday she’s concentrating on her own back yard. “We’re talking to the local media, which is much more important than going national or regional,” she said. The incident followed an earlier episode in the campaign’s first week when the RCMP was employed to thwart a CTV camera crew in St. Eustache, Que., on the day the Tories suspended campaign spokesman Ryan Sparrow. “I want that camera out of there,” Harper spokeswoman Carolyn Stewart Olsen told a Mountie, who somewhat apologetically obliged. But is it within the RCMP’s mandate to stop the media from doing its job?
 
 Several officers matter-of-factly said they were acting on orders from the PMO – although the official RCMP line, delivered after the incident became a major media story, was that hotel management sought the eviction. Many on Parliament Hill believe the PMO’s use of RCMP security to thwart reporters has increased under a Harper government that is obsessed with communications control. Stories abound, for instance, of security officers stopping camera cut-away shots from non-PMO-approved positions. But the most infamous case of RCMP deploying its resources for essentially communications reasons came under the watch of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien at the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver. An inquiry into the pepper-spraying of protesters concluded that the Mounties had “succumbed to government influence and intrusion in an area where such influence and intrusion were inappropriate.” Testimony at the inquiry suggested government officials were consumed with the poor optics of large demonstrations. “By whatever educational or other communications means available, the RCMP must instill in its officers … that they are to brook no intrusion or interference whatever from government officials,” inquiry commissioner Ted Hughes concluded. It would appear to be an inquiry forgotten not just by the Mounties and current government, but by the Liberals in opposition.
 
The Liberal campaign war-room issued a news release Wednesday decrying Tory heavy-handedness. “The job of the RCMP is not to prevent the Conservative party from being embarrassed,” said the Liberal party release. “They are there to protect the prime minister against genuine physical threats and they should never be used as a political tool.” http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5g6YesTXAYfsanGLSDxXgDxHF_vWw
 
We already know what a liar, dictator, control freak  the PM is..
 
see also
https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2008/09/25/prime-minister-stephen-harper-and-the-federal-conservative-party-of-canada/
https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/misapplications-of-the-laws-in-canada/
 
https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/?s=RCMP
https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/bullies-free-speech/
 

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