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Harper calls that campaigning?

Let me go back briefly to last night’s Dion/Turner town hall in Halton, and then contrast it to what Stephen Harper did. Dion co-hosts a town-hall that had 1400 people show up in what was an open invitation to the public to attend (and everyone was invited to this event – including non-Liberals), takes open questions from the crowd for an hour, and prior to that takes questions from both reporters and bloggers. The questions aren’t screened or controlled.

Now check out what Harper calls “campaigning” while he was down in London:

Harper met with plant managers behind closed doors before showing his face to the media in a tightly controlled event remarkable for its brevity. Staff from the Prime Minister’s Office had stipulated only media carrying cameras or video recording equipment would be allowed to witness this moment in history…once inside, a Harper staffer buttonholed me and said: “No questions. We let you in, but there can be no questions. Promise?” I agreed. Moments later, at the behest of the same PMO staffer, a General Dynamics official confronted me again and warned: “No questions from the floor. That’s the deal. Any questions and it’s over.” …Harper finally arrived, shook hands with workers, removed his safety glasses and smiled for the camera, awkwardly. “Great product, guys,” he said. “We’re sending it around the world.” With that, the event was over in 71 seconds and Harper’s handlers whisked the media away...For a prime minister seeking to increase his support among voters in London, the entire brief episode could be described as an opportunity lost. It was a strange way to soften up this political turf.

I would call this attempt at tight media control another example of Stephen Harper showing utter contempt for the workers of this plant, for the local media, and most of all for the local London voters. You’ve seen the same sort of thing with Dianne Haskett in London a couple of years ago, you’re seeing a bit of that with Gloria Kovach in Guelph not bothering to show up for the first couple of candidate’s debates (and referring a question about Stephen Truscott’s compensation to the PMO’s office rather then answer it herself), and I’ve no doubt you’ll see it attempted during a federal election campaign.

4 comments to Harper calls that campaigning?

  • Sam

    The Oakville town hall turnout and crowd reaction should encourage Dion to have a snap election asap .. even before the byelections as Harper is threatening. Enough is enough .. let Canadians decide now.

  • Robert Gibbs

    “Hey Canada, I’m Stevie Harper and I’m a celebrity too. I want Canada to know that I’m, like, totally ready to MIS-lead.”

  • That is totally disgusting – & puzzling.
    And why such a huge motorcade? Does Steve think he is PM of North America?
    Sounds totally American-style.

    If that’s campaigning then he doesn’t know what that word means.

  • Torontonian

    Who were the proles lucky to be even near Stephen when the cameras took their photos?

    Did they vote Conservative in the last election? Did the put up lawn signs last time round?

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