Thursday, September 17, 2009

On reasonable expectations

It's rare for the Harper government to come up with a new form of government secrecy that they haven't yet trotted out many times before. But the Cons' response to the news that they hadn't bothered answering an e-mail from the NDP looks to have managed the feat:
For the record, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, responded late yesterday to a Globe and Mail story published online that morning. The story quoted New Democrat spokesman Karl Belanger saying that it was “telling” that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Guy Giorno, has yet to respond to an email sent to him several days ago by NDP Leader Jack Layton’s chief of staff, Anne McGrath.

The NDP said the email was to follow up on questions the Conservatives had raised about NDP policies during an Aug. 25 meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mr. Layton, attended by both Ms. McGrath and Mr. Giorno.

Mr. Soudas offered this response.

“Why would we reply to people who leak e-mail correspondence?” he wrote in an email.
Leaving aside the NDP's absolutely correct point that it's the Cons who have gone out of their way to leak actual private conversations, let's keep in mind what the "correspondence" actually involved: an e-mail from the NDP to the Cons, period. Which means that no information could possibly have been "leaked" from the government because...well, it didn't actually provide any information capable of being leaked in any meaningful sense of the word.

But apparently the Cons are managing to claim that their failure to respond somehow constitutes a confidential non-communication. So as far as the Cons are concerned, their government's silence on the NDP's policy proposals - or presumably any other issue - is nobody's business but their own.

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