How much of a paranoid idiot does someone have to be to think the Prime Minister of Canada is personally intervening to prevent a Ministry of Natural Resources scientist from discussing "a recent study on an ancient flood that swept across northern Canada 13,000 years ago when massive ice dams gave way at the end of the last ice age."?
According to the unnamed writer at the Herald in a column titled Media Chill, " Prime Minister Stephen Harper's reputation as a control freak -- the accusations have flown for years -- were again reinforced this week with the revelation that Canadian scientists with Natural Resources Canada need pre-approval from the minister of natural resources, Christian Paradis, to speak with journalists. Whether this is Harper himself or his chief of staff, Guy Giorno, we can't say, but it is the latest in a line of evidence supporting the accusations of muzzling"
The writer continued with histrionics like, "to micro-manage it to the extent that reporters must submit questions so the expert can deliver government-approved scripted responses, as was the case, is paranoia of Orwellian proportions" and "It's ominously totalitarian."
The only thing ominous about this is the low standards to which the Calgary Herald must hold their editorial staff.
Anyone who has has any government experience knows that only specifically approved spokespeople can speak to the media in an official capacity. For anyone other to do so requires bureaucratic procedures to be followed.
This is not unique to the current government. This is a policy that applies to just about every level of government in every country. Someone should have explained this basic fact to the Herald's anonymous editorialist.
Most large corporations have identical policies. If the Herald had wanted to write about how private industry can deal with this situation more easily (it usually involves a call to your boss and an instant yes or no response) than the public sector (where a series of calls, emails and approvals are needed), that would be one thing.
But to suggest a conspiracy that goes all the way to the highest elected office in our land suggests paranoia bordering on mental illness.
Is this what the media has come to in this country?
Of course, a clue is how I happened across this little gem of a piece. tweet-happy Antonia Zerbisias pushed this as confirmation of the evil Harper plan to suppress free speech. Yup, the same Zerb who doesn't quite get that her wish to ban Sun-TV news is a genuine suppression of free speech as opposed to the invented ones by Stephen Harper she babbles incoherently about.