To the barricades!
Worth a few minutes to read. This will probably be one of the more sensible things you'll read from most media over the next while.
So my dry cleaner asked me this morning about the feuding between the Parliamentary Press Gallery and the Prime Minister's Office. And my first email this morning asked what I made of the fuss. So I suppose it is time for me to discuss all of this, at horse-tranquilizer length. First: anyone tempted to write and lecture me about journalistic navel-gazing seriously needs to stop reading this blog altogether. Journalistic navel-gazing is one of this corner's three mandates, along with general Ottawa navel-gazing and fun musical interludes. (Blanket coverage of Belarusian human-rights abuses is a sort of bonus.)
Anyway. When my dry cleaner asked about the PMO-PPG unpleasantness, I said, "I think it's a problem. And I think we're over-reacting." He agreed: "I basically give these guys" — i.e., the new Harper government — "a B+ so far."But here's why it's a problem ...
My thoughts on his points:
Number 1 - welcome to what the rest of Canada experiences. Can I suggest some good ESL or French Immersion courses?
Number 2 - a compromise should be able to be reached on this one, but I do enjoy the current press conferences as opposed to the shout fests.
Number 3 - How many Cabinet meetings versus Question Period? Regardless of past practice, I don't necessarily agree with command media performances. There are certainly more ways than one to corner a Minister should the need be required. Be creative.
Number 4 - I seem to remember a few photo ops in Harpers first couple of weeks where the pool reporter was politely asked not to ask any questions. Said reporter proceeded to ignore the request. A test maybe? Could explain the current situation.
Personally I think Harper is establishing the fact that he is the Prime Minister of a new Conservative government and everything is not the same anymore. He is establishing his style. I would hope and expect to see some compromise all round on this issue as time goes on. Nothing wrong with a little change though.
If we still followed tradition as the only benchmark women wouldn't be voting, the Red Ensign would still be flying and "off the record" would still mean something.