By Harvey Oberfeld
August 12, 2015
With Nigel Wright taking the stand today in the Mike Duffy trial … I’d bet most of the public will be more interested in his testimony than anything else going on in the election.
Because the man EVERYONE will be focussed on will not really be Wright or Duffy: it’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
What did HE know and what did HE do in the Senate scandal(s) … especially with regard to Wright’s payment of $90,000 to Duffy, so he could repay money improperly claimed from and subsequently owed to the Senate.
You would think Harper already realizes he has a reputation … a bad one … as a “control freak” … imposing HIS will, HIS views, HIS rules on not just those within his own caucus, but even on “public” servants as well . To the point many have accused him of disrespecting the public’s right to information and even the free flow of information in an open and vibrant democratic political system.
Yet even now …in the midst of an election campaign … the ugly hand of control-and-censor has apparently been imposed by the Tories at Harper’s campaign events.
According to the website “ipolitics.ca”, not only is the party carefully controlling who gets to attend Harper’s campaign “events” by issuing/requiring tickets, but they ”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.”
You can connect to the ipolitics site here … and read the entire article HERE
Whatever happened to the days when politicians WANTED everyone who attended a rally or event to TALK about it with their friends, to spread the word and the message?
What this looks like to me is a total attempt for the party strategists to control “the clip(s)” …ie. to decide exactly which part of whatever Harper says gets out to the public.
Controls even apply to the media who attend: in Vancouver Tuesday night, a CKNW reporter was interrupted and escorted out of a Harper “rally” when she tried to interview people attending.
Campaign professionals shape the PM’s speech/remarks in a way that they can almost always control and accurately predict the “clip du jour” the media will eat up and spit out, so stopping reporters from interviewing even “supporters” on hand is over-kill … of yet another freedom.
What this is about is preventing any member of the “public” …you know, an ordinary voter … from catching something unusual and putting it out on social media.
Surely, it’s bad enough to control access to Harper’s events during an election campaign by issuing tickets. Do the “lucky” recipients really need to agree to a gag order before getting in?
And this has, according to ipolitics, occurred at a number of Harper events, so I don’t believe this would happen without the knowledge and the approval of the Leader, his closest strategists and campaign organizers.
What they want is propaganda-like control of the message that comes out of EVERY campaign event by prohibiting anyone from leaking anything else out. In today’s social media universe?
Just what Harper needs … this kind of smell surrounding his campaign events … where even those attending BY CONTROLLED INVITATION and TICKETING are considered suspect.
It is truly remarkable and I believe just reinforces the negative image Harper suffers from with many … including some dedicated Tories.
Earlier this week, The Tyee ran an updated list of what they say are Harper’s abuses of power. You can check it out HERE
It makes for scary and appalling reading.
And maybe Chantal Hebert of The Toronto Star said it best Tuesday night on The National talking about the Duffy trial, Wright and all the PM’s woes:
“It has turned a proud vote for the Conservatives into a discreet vote and sometimes a bit of a shameful vote in the case of some. It’s hard to go around and say “Look at my guy …how great he is’.”
Yes, even Harper’s campaign itself keeps providing more and more ammunition for the NDP and Liberals.