Roundup: Communications in the New Order

It’s a tale of a media request gone horribly, horribly wrong – in the tragicomic depths of communications groups in the bureaucracy comes this incident where the Ottawa Citizen asked a simple question, and the tangled email chain that resulted. The request was late, the information he requested was pared down to nothingness, and one can tell that even the comms officers were frustrated when the information got edited down to nothing by the senior officials. It is an awful incident, especially when compared to the fact that it took the same reporter 15 minutes to get answers from NASA. While some people will point to this and say “Look! Culture of secrecy!” I’m not entirely convinced. Rather, it seems this is more indicative of the culture of fear and intimidation that the Harper government has instituted as they have centralised communications and messaging to such a degree that not only has the process been so bogged down by doubt that nobody wants to say anything lest they get slapped down, but even if they did provide an answer, the overseers in PMO are just as likely to not approve said message, and pass along a weak “approved” version, several hours later.  Such is life in the New Order, unfortunately.

Here are the statements in the House from Jean Chrétien and others at the 20th anniversary of the Charter. Also not to be missed are Thomas Mulcair’s statements two years ago about the Charter and the “imposition” on Quebec – sentiments he echoed today in his party’s own release. The Conservatives, meanwhile, sent out a press release co-signed by the ministers of heritage and justice, in which they talked about John Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights. Kady O’Malley rounds up the various statements and plaudits here. Here’s a look at laws that the Charter impacted, and how the courts dealt with them before and after the Charter’s inception. And here’s a look at how Harper used to decry the Charter as giving the Courts the power to make “arbitrary” decisions – even though that’s exactly what the Supreme Court smacked his government down over with the Insite decision.

Despite Elections Canada moving to investigate Conservative Headquarters in connection to the Guelph robo-calls, the party still insists they’re not under investigation (which is technically true, if you’re going by the “isolated incident” defence).

Bev Oda defends cuts to foreign aid saying it’s more about accountability than the amount of dollars spent.

There was a massive corruption sweep in Quebec yesterday. The meaning of the arrest of Tony Accurso is discussed here.

And here’s a look at the Communications Security Establishment – the agency that is tasked with intercepting terrorist communications and cyber-security in Canada. They’re growing up as their own independent agency after being hived off from DND, but there remain concerns about just how much oversight they’re subject to.

Up today: “Tom”/Thomas Mulcair moves into Stornoway.