When Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was in power, one of the tactics Harper used was to carefully control everything that went on in his government. That means that he prevented government scientists from talking to the media, fired senior bureaucrats in watchdog posts who dared to disagree with him, frequently muzzled Conservative Members of Parliament and Ministers, and much more. In case there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about who was in control, he even went the extra step of rebranding the “Government of Canada” as “Harper Government.”
Now that the government has fallen and Canadians are in election mode, Harper is continuing to run a tightly controlled ship. The Globe and Mail summarized some of the control tactics the Conservatives are using to shield Harper from any possible public criticism or debate:
There is no question Conservatives are closely controlling access to their leader. Those attending Mr. Harper’s rallies must pre-register and then produce identification at the door. Mr. Harper is not doing any door-knocking or main-streeting, where he might meet voters who don’t support him. National media travelling with Mr. Harper on the tour are limited to asking him roughly four questions each morning, with a fifth allocated for a local reporter in whatever city or town he’s visiting.
Will control tactics like these do more harm than good in the end? Only time will tell, but reporters and the other parties are certainly going to do their best to let Canadians know about this issue. Take, for example, the following video created by the Liberal Party of Canada to illustrate the approach that Harper’s government has used to keep potential non-supporters out of their rallies:
Can Canadians trust someone who will not freely answer questions and debate the issues? Can the bureaucracy withstand another term of being forced into silence?
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
Photo credit: TeddyBoy on flickr