The Sixth Estate Weekly Flack Awards are given to Cabinet ministers and their mouthpieces for going below and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating both contempt for the public and a disturbing lack of intelligence on their part, by issuing press releases so far below the already low standard of official communications that the mere act of reading them makes you feel as though you have lost several IQ points.
I was sorely tempted to give this week’s prize to veterans affairs minister Steven Blaney and his paid personal shill, Codie Taylor, for announcing the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong on December 4 — even though the actual Battle of Hong Kong started on the 8th. In some weeks that would have been enough.
But he’s only first runner-up, because this week Steven the Minion was upstaged by his boss, Stephen I, and the intellectually defective gaggle of juvenile, incompetent stuffed shirts on the Prime Minister’s Office press team for their appallingly banal coverage of the new Canadian-American border accord:
How about Canadian travellers? How will the Action Plan help?
Let’s take Marie as an example. She travels on a holiday to the U.S. and uses pre-clearance facilities at the Canadian airport. This is fine if Marie is travelling directly to her destination. But, if she changes planes in the U.S. to fly to a second destination, her baggage, which has been already cleared at the pre-clearance point in Canada. This can lead to missed flights, lost baggage and frustration all around.
Under the Action Plan, Marie’s bags would be screened once in Canada… This will save her and the airline time and money.
If the best case you can come up with for a border security treaty takes the form of a simplistic hypothetical scenario expressed in language suitable for 10-year-olds, something’s wrong. This is a government press release. There is no need for Marie here. Nor is there any need for Marie later on in the press release, when she decides to import a refrigerator and again saves money because “Refrigerator Import Company” — apparently a real company, according to whoever wrote this press release, but I rather doubt it — will be saving on its paperwork.
The hilarity only gets better when you turn to the related press releases on “What the Action Plan Means for Privacy” and “What the Action Plan Means for Security.” Now, go read those, and count the seconds before you realize there’s a problem with these press releases on two very important subjects which concern Canadians deeply. The answer is below the ad box, since I don’t want to give it away. Solve this problem yourself, Marie of Refrigerator Import Company!
If you guessed they’re the same, you’re right! The real question, I suppose, is whether there’s a Privacy press release out there too, or whether they just figured no one but Sixth Estate and reporters read the News.gc.ca website anyways, so it hardly matters.
There isn’t actually a named official in this coverage, so I’m holding the communications director, Angelo Persichilli, responsible, alongside Stephen I himself, of course. They get this week’s Flack Awards.Tweet