Sunday, June 02, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- I'll quickly link to a few Robocon stories which I han't yet blogged. Karl Nerenberg noted that the Federal Court decision finding widespread election fraud using the Cons' voter database was only the beginning, and Jean-Pierre Kingsley was hopeful that the ruling would lead to needed improvements in Elections Canada's authority. But the continued obstruction of the Cons themselves makes it clear that the public interest couldn't be lower on the Harper government's priority list.

- Meanwhile, as a stark contrast to the Cons' determination not to let anybody get to the truth underlying Robocon, Don Butler reports on the type of investigation they order when they're looking for an enemy to blame. And the general theme is one of using a sledgehammer to attack a fly - even though the fly is in fact nothing more than a piece of lint.

- Which is to say that we shouldn't assume that anybody around the Cons is able to maintain much by way of intelligence - as even those inclined to be capable of critical thought are likely to have it Poilievred out of them.

- But the good news is that the Cons are having a much tougher time deflecting from their own failures. And while part of that is the result of the most effective opposition leader Stephen Harper has faced, Edward Greenspon writes that the press gallery is doing its part:
When he came into office, Harper threw out long-held rules of government-press engagement. He sowed fear and showed favouritism. Access was severely restricted and doled out based on perceived friendliness of given journalists. Public servants were forbidden from providing background on serious policy matters. A system was introduced by which the PMO, rather than the gallery, decided who could ask questions at press conferences. The List, as it came to be known, was an early flashpoint. The PMO refused any compromise. A Fourth Estate short on self-respect quickly folded. In time, a number of Ottawa reporters were subjected to harassment and vilification and PMO minions exerted pressure on publishers to reign in recalcitrant reporters and editors.

Now, weeks into the Senate-PMO scandal, it is the government that looks uncertain and the journalists determined...

It is pure folly to dismiss Stephen Harper. For sure, his loathing of the media predisposed him to underestimate the brewing Senate scandal as the frothing of gallery members envious that some in their ranks had been elevated to a higher calling. But as prime minister he has repeatedly proven to be most lethal when seemingly down and out. And he knows how to play out the clock.

The sniff testing never ceases in Ottawa, but for now a noteworthy shift is in the wind. The PM lorded over the media for a long while, but he’s missed the smell of a gallery losing its fear.
- Finally, Sixth Estate takes a look at how Canada's regulatory systems are functioning under the Cons' honour-system philosophy.


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