Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Prime Minister's Office Oversteps its Boundaries

PMO allegedly misuses the RCMP to muzzle press

A Charlottetown hotel lobby became the scene of an absurd spectacle today, as RCMP officers, allegedly operating under orders from the Prime Minister's office, removed journalists waiting to speak to Conservative party MPs convening for their summer caucus meeting.

"Obviously, much of what we're doing is confidential," said Rahim Jaffer, the party's caucus chairperson explained.

So confidential that the Prime Minister's office has RCMP officers performing duties that should rightly be performed by hotel security? Not bloody likely.

If the Prime Minister's office did indeed issue the orders to have the media hustled out of the hotel lobby, this could--and probably should--be construed as an abuse of power. If the party had hired off-duty RCMP officers to work as security (with the hotel's permission, naturally), and paid them from party funds, this would be an entirely different issue. At persent, however, the picture being presented to the Canadian public is very different.

Managing the party's media coverage by defining boundaries around which it can be covered is one thing. Using the RCMP to enforce those boundaries is another entirely.

Frankly, it's wrong.

To be entirely fair, at least this abuse of the PMO's power didn't involve the use of pepper spray, as did Jean Chretien's 1998 abuse. However, a "kinder, gentler" abuse of Prime Ministerial power is still an abuse of Prime Ministerial power.

Unfortunately, Jean Chretien escaped responsibility for his abuse of power, even despite the fact that the APEC pepper spray incident involved several incidents that easily qualify as criminal assault.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper rightfully shouldn't have the same luck. Fortunately, the offense and necessary penalty are much less severe.

7 comments:

  1. Already trying to spin this...
    If, if, if... how about it's an abuse of power...and goes against his "transparency"...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who's spinning. I said exactly that it's an abuse of power.

    Thanks for trolling... reading! I mean, thanks for reading.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A Charlottetown hotel lobby became the scene of an absurd spectacle today, as RCMP officers, allegedly operating under orders from the Prime Minister's office, removed journalists waiting to speak to Conservative party MPs convening for their summer caucus meeting.

    "Obviously, much of what we're doing is confidential," said Rahim Jaffer, the party's caucus chairperson explained.

    So confidential that the Prime Minister's office has RCMP officers performing duties that should rightly be performed by hotel security? Not bloody likely.

    If the Prime Minister's office did indeed issue the orders to have the media hustled out of the hotel lobby, this could--and probably should--be construed as an abuse of power. If the party had hired off-duty RCMP officers to work as security (with the hotel's permission, naturally), and paid them from party funds, this would be an entirely different issue. At persent, however, the picture being presented to the Canadian public is very different.

    Managing the party's media coverage by defining boundaries around which it can be covered is one thing. Using the RCMP to enforce those boundaries is another entirely.

    Why not say exactly how you feel about it...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Because I did. At this time, the PMOs alleged orders to the RCMP are unconfirmed.

    If the PMO gave the orders, it's an abuse of power.

    All the same, the Conservative party has no business using the RCMP to remove journalists from a hotel. These hotels have security of their own, and it should be hotel security filling that role.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, first time we agree.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think it's a cut-and-dried issue. There isn't room for much disagreement.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Not only is it an abuse of power but it's bad political strategy.

    Having gone to the Maritimes for the caucus meeting, this would have been a superb opportunity to lighten up on the communications, maybe even let a few figures float a trial balloon or two. It would have made "I know you don't like me or what we've done this year much but I'm here, not hiding out elsewhere" that much stronger.

    As for the RCMP, can't these guys grow a bloody spine? You don't enforce the law by abusing it, and the rule of law means you tell those who give orders to abuse it to go stuff themselves. "Sir." Instead the force allows itself to just be used over and over again - and has learned that it can abuse citizens on its own, in turn.

    Sigh. Having reached hell in a handbasket, we slip even further into a government of men and not of laws.

    ReplyDelete

Post your comments, and join the discussion!

Be aware that spam posts and purile nonsense will not be tolerated, although purility within constructive commentary is encouraged.

All comments made by Kevron are deleted without being read. Also, if you begin your comment by saying "I know you'll just delete this", it will be deleted. Guaranteed. So don't be a dumbass.