Thursday, February 23, 2006

Chairman Charest's Iron Fist

Yesterday, a very significant story that has been ignored by the English press in Canada, finally got mention in the Globe and Mail -- although it was buried on page 14. Jean Charest's government is politicizing the entire communications sector of Quebec's bureaucracy. The article says "as of April 1, more than 300 information officers from all ministries will be under the direct control of the Premier's office." In essence, Charest is forcing the people paid to communicate to you -- the public -- to become partisan.

To be sure, political offices are already intimately involved in how governments communicate, but this strips all public objectivity from the process. No longer will there be a check and balance between political spin and the real goods. This is how it's done in countries like China kids. It is a deadly blow in the cage fight between style and substance, and a real work boot to the nuts of our already doubled-over democracy.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Peter said...

Communicators are responsible for providing the government message to the media/public. They are the mediators, the in-between, the messanger... not to be killed... except by a Stephen Harper federal government.
Communicators are told what to say but relay the message in a muted, responsible, clear version/message.
However, by politicizing the communicators, the public will not receive the proper message. They will receive a tainted, spun speech of rhetoric and platform.
Some might reasonably question, "Would there be a difference?" In response to that, if you think that you're not receiving the truth now, just wait.

10:09 AM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger K-Dough said...

Peter- what does Stephen Harper have to do with this?

10:14 AM, February 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News flash! Warren Kinsella over on Comments Please had this to say about this post:

"Didn't know about it. Interesting. Thanks.

Me? As I get older, I'm getting closer to the American approach: acknowledge the upper reaches of your bureaucracy are politicized, and have a change over whenever there's a change in administration.

If nothing else, it would end the press braying about the usual stuff. Would make meetings last less time, too."
Posted By Warren K / Posted At 2/24/06 11:27 AM

1:46 PM, February 24, 2006  
Blogger K-Dough said...

Anon- I know- I actually asked him to check it out.

With respect to his comments, I'd have to say that it's not just the "American" approach. It works that way here too. Either way though I think politicizing the bureaucracy is a bad move.

WK said "acknowledge the upper reaches of your bureaucracy are politicized, and have a change over whenever there's a change in administration". But in Charest's model, it won't just be the "upper reaches", it'll be the average mnistry and program area level communications staffer. How will new administrations weed through the massive mess of stay-on political staffers? If they just fire everybody, what about job security? What about knowledge transfer? It's just a big stinky kettle of rotting fish.

2:17 PM, February 24, 2006  
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