Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
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.
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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About Mia Rabson
Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.
Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.
She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.
Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.
Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.
In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.
She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.
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