Government press releases have probably never been, shall we say, the go-to source for reasoned and well-informed commentary on the issues of the today. They are, rather, propaganda, pure and simple. But they have taken a definite turn for the worse under the Harper regime. This turn isn’t merely a decrease in critical commentary — that wasn’t there to begin with. Instead it’s the addition of an absurd, sneeringly juvenile tone which takes the already negligible value of the government press release and sinks it even further.
For instance, there’s Steven Blaney, who used an unnecessarily excited national press release to announce that he would be attending “a picnic, a beach landing, and a commemorative ceremony all at the same event!” (exclamation mark in the original, as if it was some sort of magic trick). Then there was John Baird’s official complaint that D comes after C in the alphabet. Until this week hit the trifecta, I wasn’t sure I needed to memorialize it at all. But then the following three arrived in rapid succession:
Since the apparently 12-year-old gossipers who run ministers’ offices have obviously taken over the PR playground, I’m going to announce the silliest press release of the week on a regular basis. The winner gets a Flack Award.
Third place for this week goes to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and his communications director Michael Patton, in the day-late-and-a-dollar-short department, for announcing on Friday that
Government of Canada Assists Nova Scotia with 2007 Storm.
Better late than never, right, Vic?
In any other week, agriculture minister Gerry Ritz and his shill, Meagan Murdoch, would have taken the prize for this painfully unsuccessful attempt at turning cancer fundraising into political humour:
Minister Ritz to Shave his ‘Stache
The sharp wit and cutting barbs of the House of Commons have nothing on the challenge awaiting Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz as he slides into the barber’s chair and unveils his upper lip in the name of Movember.
Journalists are “invited to attend” what Murdoch describes rather grandiosesly as an “EVENT: Moustache shave off.”
However, it was a tough week in the race to be the worst communications director in Ottawa, and I’m sorry to say that the best efforts of Murdoch and Ritz weren’t enough to beat the early entry from immigration minister Jason Kenney and Candice Malcolm, entitled “Super Visa Earning Rave Reviews.”
I don’t know anything about the government’s new “super visa,” which allows parents and grandparents of immigrants to visit for up to two years at a time, but Candice has certainly convinced me that there must be something wrong with it. If there wasn’t, why would she feel the need to assemble a “press release” consisting of no less than 23 block-quoted purported endorsements from lawyers, newspapers, and opposition politicians?
So, the first Flack Awards go to Candice Malcolm and Jason Kenney. Check back in next weekend for the next round.Tweet