July 1, 2015


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Capital Chronicles

Please Mr. Harper. We want to hear.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to Winnipeg yesterday.

But unless you work at the virology lab or bought a ticket to attend a private dinner for the Frontier Centre, you would have had absolutely no chance to hear from him.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (centre) tours Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory with Dr. Frank Plummer (right), scientific director general, and Dr. Yan Li, chief of the lab's influenza and respiratory viruses section, which is doing research on the H1N1 flu virus.

WAYNE.GLOWACKI@FREEPRESS.MB.CA

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (centre) tours Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory with Dr. Frank Plummer (right), scientific director general, and Dr. Yan Li, chief of the lab's influenza and respiratory viruses section, which is doing research on the H1N1 flu virus.

There was an outcry when President Barack Obama came to Ottawa this winter because he had no public events planned. But he’s not our leader. Harper is.

The prime minister had no public events and no opportunity for the media to ask him a single question. He staged photo ops at the lab – photos of which were distributed to the media – but he wasn’t available to answer questions about it.

In the evening he gave a speech at a private dinner you had to buy a ticket to attend. The media were not invited to cover the speech either.

It makes me wonder in his speech made him so afraid of it being made public?

When the prime minister speaks, shouldn’t all Canadians get a chance to hear what he has to say? Or is he just the prime minister for the people who can afford to buy tickets to private events?

Doesn’t a prime minister have to expect to be held accountable for everything he says? Does he get to say things to a private group of members of a Conservative-minded think tank that most Canadians don’t get to hear about?

The Conservatives have gone out of their way to attack Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff as an elitist. Harper is supposed to be a man of the people. He’s Tim Horton’s while Ignatieff is Starbucks.

But how elitist is it for the prime minister to breeze through town and only be available to an elite group while the rest of Manitoba – and Canada for that matter – gets the silent treatment?

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