Politics
2 min

Zealous sidelining of opposition voices

Not content with hectoring civil servants into silence or simply ignoring their advice, those overzealous PMO staffers (or "25-year-old jihadis" as Bob Rae has called them) have decided to step up their zealotry and actually prevent the media from hearing Michael Ignatieff speak at events Harper is at. During an event sponsored by the Indian High Commission on Friday, staffers took away the podium after Harper spoke and hustled the media out before Ignatieff was due to speak. Sure, the prime minister’s spokesman apologized for “overzealousness” on the part of the staffers, but seriously? It’s moving beyond the usual presidential envy that Harper exhibits and getting dangerously close to the territory where opposition voices are not just sidelined, but silenced.

Last week's unresolved issues are due to come crashing down on the government during question period today. It’s hard to know what's going to land first: Jason Kenney and his staffer’s fundraising letter (which he now says would never have gone out had he not been travelling to Pakistan); the “offensive” ethnic-voter plan revealed in the documents accompanying the letter; the way the Conservatives have rebranded the Government of Canada as the “Harper Government” in media releases, which are now “product” for journalists; or a return to tried-and-true embarrassments like Bev Oda or In & Out. It seems there are so many to choose from.

While the disgraced former public service integrity commissioner is due to appear before a Commons committee later this week, there is outrage about her severance pay and the nondisclosure agreement she signed upon leaving.

It seems that Laurie Hawn, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence, has been working overtime sending out emails slagging critics of the F-35 fighter purchase. Perhaps he needs some other responsibilities if he has so much time on his hands?

There is debate about whether cabinet ministers using “easily hacked” iPads is more or less secure than carrying paper binders.

Oh look, another report that says that our lack of a national childcare plan is negatively affecting our economy. Don’t tell Diane Finley! She’ll break out her talking points on how the Liberals want to force parents to have strangers raise their children!

Oh look, yet another ruling that the Tamil migrants from the MV Sun Sea aren’t a security threat.

Up today, Elizabeth May says the Green Party is about to release their own attack ads since pundits have declared that they work. Is this a reversal of her long-stated opposition to them? Are the Greens getting cynical? I’m more willing to think that May is about to do something rather clever. I guess we’ll find out just what that is later this morning.