Team Harper Leadership and the RCMP: They’re not the Royal Canadian Media Police, guys.


At least we now know which member of the PM’s entourage was responsible for siccing the Mounties on the media in Surrey earlier this week:

“Keep them out,” Harper aide Ray Novak shouted at the RCMP security detail as journalists approached Dona Cadman.

CTV’s Rosemary Thompson was literally yanked aside by one Mountie as she approached the retreating group – which did not include the prime minister.

Ray Novak is, of course, the PM’s executive assistant Principal Secretary – although it’s not clear whether he is currently working on the campaign – like, as a political staffer – or in his official capacity. All ministers – including the PM –  are allowed to have one exempt staffer travel with them during an election, at taxpayer expense, whose job is to stay in touch with the minister’s office — even during an election, a minister is still a minister, with all the accompanying ministerial responsibilities.  So is Novak on the plane to liase with Langevin on the PM’s behalf?  We’ll let you know when we hear back from the campaign. If he is, presumably he was only acting out of concern for the Prime Minister’s personal safety — although since Harper had already left the building, it’s difficult to see how he would have been in danger, given that the marauding media were armed only with pointed questions for Dona Cadman.

Meanwhile, campaign communication(s) director Kory Teneycke was once again conspicuously absent during the post-rally skirmish, although he showed up not long afterwards to talk to the reporters held at bay by the RCMP. Unlike last week’s standoff in the vinyard, however, he didn’t apologize for sending in the security detail to protect his party’s selectively mute candidate from the national media, claiming that, as he hadn’t seen it happen, he wasn’t willing to comment.

The CBC’s Paul Hunter posted a partial transcript of the ensuing scrum, in which Teneycke offered a new definition of what “local campaigning” means — hint: it doesn’t involve talking to the media – national or local.

(Note: I’ve corrected the spelling of “Teneycke”):

Reporter: Why was the RCMP used to keep us from asking a question of a candidate today instead of just letting her answer the question?

Teneycke: Well I didn’t see that happen so I’m not going to comment on that. In terms of local candidates, local candidates’ priority is campaigning in their local ridings and not talking to the national media. Their priority is obviously getting elected in their riding.

Reporter: But the local media’s here.

Teneycke: I didn’t say talking to local media, I said their priority’s getting elected in their local riding. That’s what their priority is. We have a national campaign tour with national media with us and we have media availabilities every morning in which journalists can ask questions of the prime minister and we have events every day in our war room, generally with members of cabinet. So I think there are many opportunities to talk with the party and the campaign at the most senior levels throughout the campaign.

Reporter: But shouldn’t the local candidates be free to decide what their priorities are?

Teneycke: Their priority is to campaign in their local riding and just because a candidate doesn’t want to speak with you doesn’t mean they have to.

Reporter: Is she allowed to speak with us?

Teneycke: Candidates, as I say, their priority is campaigning in their local riding. If the candidate had wanted to do a media availability they would have — did not — so they didn’t.

Reporter: Did you actually ask them, did you say there were members of the national media here and they’d like to speak with you?

Teneycke: We did not ask them to do a scrum. As I say, national media can ask every morning of the prime minister questions, we have events every day in the war room.

Reporter: So does that mean when we’re on the national tour we’re not allowed to seek interviews with your local candidates because we get access to your prime minister?

Teneycke: Well, you can seek interviews with any number of people. I’m sure you can call any candidate’s office and request an interview and it’ll be up to those candidates as to whether or not they choose to take interviews. I think with campaigns from all parties, the priority is to communicate with national media from the national tour and we arrange many availabilities for you to do that.

(On a side note, it appears that Kory needs to catch up on his ITQ reading, since nobody back at the Lancaster Road barracks seems to have told him that the daily briefings bit the dust shortly after the campaign got underway. Last week, there were only two live-action events – only one of which took place in the War Room – and a hastily arranged afternoon conference call with Michael Fortier, and this week, there was exactly one media event – the late afternoon joint appearance by John Baird and Lawrence Cannon to respond to the Liberal platform launch. )


Team Harper Leadership and the RCMP: They’re not the Royal Canadian Media Police, guys.

  1. Our popinjay reporters are upset they are being treated like any person would be if they rushed the stage and it’s jarring them because they think they are part of a priest-class and should be treated accordingly.

  2. Kady,

    Just finished watching (CBC) Stephen Harper explain the RCMP shooing. He claimed it was a “security” response in light of potential credible terrorist(?) threats to his person–or some such. Are you people in the press now suspected of carrying out terrorist plots?

    Be careful. Shooting paint guns in the woods north of Toronto just got one guy from the city a guilty verdict. And BC is full of woods.

  3. Harper Cons are in a spot with Donna Cadman. If they turf her she’s free to say anything she pleases (which is, I imagine, why she’s the candidate for the region in the first place), but if they keep her, they have to make sure the press doesn’t get to her, because any answer she makes, even “No comment” will be interpreted as the conservative muzzle — leading to the rhetorical questions as to what, exactly, they’re trying to muzzle.

    I wonder what would happen if a reporter just decided to go question her on their own, and documented the runaround they received.

    It could make for some fun headlines.

  4. jwl:

    If you can’t resurrect Ayn Rand, Stephen Harper is a close second? How can that be?

  5. How much do you get paid by the Little Shop of Tories, jwl?

    Nah…I bet you volunteer to display this level of “insight” on a public forum…what I call the “american idol syndrome”.

    What was the RCMP doing? Protecting the candidate from a violent…question?

    Clearly the CPC simply lacks the gonads to let their candidates speak.

    The cowardice this party displays is just incredible…


  6. Perhaps someone should point out to the Conservatives that their candidates are running in a national and not a local election. They are seeking to be part of the federal government so of course should be available to national media.

  7. How much do you get paid by the Little Shop of Tories, jwl?

    For some, it’s a labour of love. Also, I suspect nothing better to do is also reason enough.

  8. um, anybody watching CPAC ??

    I see harper answering “questions” from the media all the time

    My favorite question so far “if you were a vegetable what type would you be and why”??

    I wonder if Caty helped with that one???

    Oh yeah, anyone hear any comments from Mrs. Dion???

    just askin

  9. I think “Lunch Bucket Harper” only wants to interact with “ordinary” Canadians who have been vetted by the RCMP. Invasion of the Body Snatchers anyone?

  10. Bob, how funny you should ask! From today’s Star Phoenix:

    Recently, there were reports that some Liberal party insiders wished to “muzzle” Krieber and limit her access to the media during her cross-country solo campaign.

    “I’m speaking to you, aren’t I?” she said in response to those allegations.

  11. Come on. Harper has Savile Row suits to protect.

    Harper to small child with finger paint: “Don’t touch the sweater vest, it’s Chanel!”

  12. Kady says -> Recently, there were reports that some Liberal party insiders wished to “muzzle” Krieber and limit her access to the media during her cross-country solo campaign.

    “I’m speaking to you, aren’t I?” she said in response to those allegations. <-

    With apologies to Lewis Grizzard, I say; Shoot Low, Boys–They’re Ridin’ Shetland Ponies.

  13. The Conservatives and Mounties have a lot to answer for this growing scandal.

  14. Sorry guys, it’s not ‘normal’ for political agents to sic RCMP officers on reporters so candidates can duck questions.

  15. PPG: Trivial Pursuit (TM), Canadian Edition

    Rosemary Barton tries for the yellow pie (History), while back in Ottawa, ITQ tries for her brown pie (Arts & Literature) by referring back to an earlier blog.

    Paul Hunter, meanwhile, was unsuccessful in garnering a pink pie (Entertainment) for the “damning” transcript.

  16. Has anyone in the dredded “librul media” pointed out to the RCMP Commissioner that the “C” in RCMP doesn’t stand for Conservative ? If not maybe they should before the Harpercrats manage to drag the Force’s reputation further down into the sewer.

  17. This is the Palin effect reaching north. Why talk to the media when they will agree to distribute your picture without any interview. If the Tories are citing the availability of cabinet ministers are they implying that none of thier incoming MPs are being considered for cabinet?

  18. From Peacekeepers to Ass-Kissers, thanks Stephen Harper

    Stephen Harper on a united Canada:

    “Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion…” Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994 Harper on Canada

    Harper, likes NAFTA, which returns Canada to a mere producer of raw materials and a source of cheap oil and water. Selling out Canada to the US continues to be the Reform-Conservative agenda.

    Stephen Harper has his head so far up George Bush’s back passage that George could get a gig as the two-headed freak at a traveling sideshow.

  19. Hi Kady

    I am not sure if Patrick Boyer is allowed to talk to the media (local or national) after the babysitter, I mean, the PM’s ‘communicator’, Kory cleared things up. But if he is, I was hoping someone could ask him about this:

    It is a archival CBC story about when Kim Campbell ran the notorious ads demeaning Jean Chrétien’s facial deformities. A couple of minutes in they talk about a number of Tory candidates who distanced themselves from the national campaign (Could you imagine that today? Me neither!). Boyer, now running counter Ignatieff in TO, says:

    “To make a caricature of a national party leader is, simply, putting a distance between me and this party.”

    Can someone has him what has changed? Or is it just that some caricatures are okay an others not (I thought it was Lieberals who were supposed to be all relativist liberals?)

  20. Mike`s right
    It`s the Palin tactic up north, why would that surprise you that the Harper party of Canada would emulate the right in the US?
    Bush lite should not have any coverage unless he provides newsworthy statements. Refuse to print photos or screen any monologues until he allows an honest discussion of issues.

  21. Pingback: Ray Novak, Stephen Harper’s gay lover – Principal Secretary in Canada’s PMO – Protégé of Tom Flanagan (U. of Calgary) – Corporate Canada’s Catholic Cabal – Abel Danger