This Open letter to Canadian Journalists should really be read by readers of Canadian media as well, as it affects all of us, and our right to know what our government is doing in our name and with our tax money:
Civil servants – scientists, doctors, regulators, auditors and policy experts, those who draft public policy and can explain it best to the population — cannot speak to the media. Instead, reporters have to deal with an armada of press officers who know very little or nothing at all about a reporter’s topic and who answer tough questions with vague talking points vetted by layers of political staff and delivered by email only.
Politicians should not get to decide what information is released. This information belongs to Canadians, the taxpayers who paid for its production. Its release should be based on public interest, not political expediency.
This breeds contempt and suspicion of government. How can people know the maternal-health initiative has been well thought out or that the monitoring of aboriginal bands has been done properly if all Canadians hear is: “Trust us”?
— Canadian Association of Journalists, April 2011
A question to ask your Conservative – and other visitants – during the current election campaign is:
- What will your party do to repair what Stephen Harper has done to the taxpayer’s ability to know how the government is spending our money?
(Perhaps you’ll get an answer from the Conservatives by email from the election’s public affairs staff…?)