The Sixth Estate Flack Awards are a regular series created last December to recognize ministers and their subhuman mouthpieces for going below and beyond the call of duty in crafting the very worst in government press releases. Communications incompetence is actually a specialty of the current regime. Since creating the awards, I have recognized ministers for incompetence in math, rambling conspiracy theories, and forgetting to write the press release altogether (but publishing the title anyways).
One of the most common problems is an inability to grasp basic concepts of time, like how long ago 1870 was or whether it’s entirely appropriate to get visibly excited about the fact that the government is providing emergency aid for a storm… that happened four years before the announcement. That’s the category into which this week’s winner fits:
Peter Kent… today commemorated the importance of the Creation of the Dominion Parks Branch and the birth of Parks Canada as an event of national historic significance. “Since it was established a century ago as the Dominion Parks Branch, Parks Canada has worked tirelessly to protect Canada’s diverse national heritage and encouraged Canadians everywhere to appreciate, experience, and enjoy all of Canada’s national treasures,” said Minister Kent…
The designation commemorates Parks Canada’s 100 years of world leadership in conservation and tourism.
Now, I don’t mind the fact that the government wants to celebrate Parks Canada’s 100-year-long history (even if it’s a history they don’t particularly like). But someone should point out the obvious here: January 2012 isn’t Parks Canada’s 100-year anniversary. The real year, depending on how you want to define it (sorry, historians are big on semantics when it comes to dating origins), might be 1911, or 1908, or 1885.
The press release even alludes to a start date in May 1911, and doesn’t explain why the 100-year anniversary celebration is therefore in the wrong year. Maybe they just forgot about it until some time last month.
The minister responsible for Parks Canada is Peter Kent, and his press secretary is Adam Sweet. I wonder if he’s any relation to Conservative MP David Sweet.Tweet