Friday, September 19, 2008

Harper gags military

In a continuing pattern of secrecy, the Cons have put a gag order on the military from discussing with the media various issues until after October 14th. While National Defence claims they don't want to influence the election, it's quite the opposite. This didn't happen, far as I can tell, during the last election.

This is clearly an attempt to limit free discussion of what's going on in Afghanistan. What's happened to require a gag order? Did some massacre happen that Harper is afraid to let Canadians know about? Or have some of our Afghan allies abandoned us and the Americans after getting fed up with us?

That kind of suppression simply is not healthy for a democracy, and fits clearly with the pattern of running a government on a need to know basis, rather than giving the people as much information as needed to make a rational decision.

Who do they think we are? Stupid? Even in Britain there's much more open discussion about what's going on in both Afghanistan and Iraq -- sometimes too much, but at least it's the kind of engagement and dialogue one expects in a Parliamentary democracy. This is not the United States. This is Canada.

The Fathers of Confederation chose a Parliamentary system for a reason. If Harper wants a separation of powers like in the States, he should put forward a constitutional amendment and have the people vote on it under the 7/50 rule. If he wants to gag discussion, then he should get Parliament to invoke the notwithstanding clause (which of course can't be done right now since the House of Commons stands dissolved during the election).

Otherwise, let the reporters do their job, and the public relations arm of DND do their job in a non-partisan fashion like they have done for decades.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this step. Harper gained another black points, however there are many information canals (or there are not?) with Afghan news, so if "something" happens, we will know it anyway (at least I believe it :)) I just wish this weeks to pass quickly, because this political fuss is almost unbearable...