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Harper To Press Corps: Go Away, Hosers

It may not quite be Canada Day just yet, but here on Public Eye we're celebrating early.

So here's your second Canada-related post of the day. As we've noted previously, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the press have what might be called an acrimonoius relationship, and Harper has decided he just doesn't want to see the press anymore. It's not me, one can almost hear him saying. It's you:

The prime minister says the Ottawa press gallery seems to have decided to become the opposition to his Conservative government.

He told a London, Ont., TV station Wednesday that he is having problems with the media that a Liberal prime minister would never have to face.

So Harper says he will take his message out on the road and deal with the less hostile local media.

As the much-maligned-of-late National Post goes on to note, "two dozen Ottawa reporters walked out on a Harper event this week when he refused to take their questions." Harper wants his staff to pick which journalists ask him questions, and is opposed to holding press conferences until that condition is met.

If Canada is anything like America, however – and I think it's safe to say that it is, more or less, Molson ad aside – Mark Jurkowitz might not consider all this acrimony to be such bad news. As he wrote today, "[t]he White House and the media are not supposed to get along." He goes on:

Regardless of how loud the grumbling grows about the hostile atmosphere between the Bush administration and the media…an adversarial relationship between journalists and whoever occupies the White House is, in many ways, the natural order of things.

Any administration — with an enormous bully pulpit and the resources of the federal government at its disposal — is constantly engaged in an effort to convince the American public that its policies are working, its promises being kept. The news media — backed by major financial resources and wrapped in the protection of the First Amendment — should be constantly engaged in an effort to scrutinize and vet those very policies and promises.

So, Canadians: Sit back, relax, and, when it comes to press/politician relations, go right ahead and embrace the hate!
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