In contrast to the popular public belief, we need more bullies, better bullies, and training should begin at an early age. Not to inflict physical harm or violence but to ensure we have a citizenry capable and competent to stand against other bullies.
Today we encourage weak behaviour and compliant attitudes. It is this lack of individual self confidence, which has allowed the Country of Canada to fall victim to hazardous individuals.
The BC government led by Gordon Campbell is a classic example. As the head of a majority government Campbell had the full authority equal to any autocratic government, kingdom or dictatorial regime. Under the present day British Parliamentary Democracy that Canada and its Provinces finds themselves operating, every leader of every majority government enjoys absolute authority. If left unchecked by those who were elected to represent the same party, in this example members of the BC Liberal Party, the leader could potentially devastate the Province, its laws and principles.
Campbell was considered by many to be a bully. It has been reported he had members of his Cabinet completely controlled, afraid to speak against him and even had members leave the meetings in tears; he was such a cruel tyrant. And this is why we need more and better bullies.
There will always be tyrants. This society will never rid itself of the potential for this personality type to reach positions of power, in business or government. What we need is more self confident strong individuals who will, not for one instant, allow themselves to be treated in a condescending or disrespectful fashion. Almost the entire BC Liberal Party Cabinet of former BC Leader Gordon Campbell were weaklings, unable to stand against the bully tactics. The intimidation and insidious manipulation implemented and orchestrated by Gordon Campbell, along with the manner those who didn’t bow down to him were ostracized, was a wonder to behold.
Today Christy Clark is failing. She is not as effective a bully as Campbell but is a bully none the less. Her skill is the insidious feminine charm and smile while she conspires against you behind your back. Other members of her cabinet and team who have fallen under her spell will work against cabinet members who haven’t. She is simply not effective as an “in your face” yeller as Campbell was with his peon followers.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is of the same character. His entire Party of Conservatives are afraid to stand against him. Even though many knew the large undemocratic measure passed in the House of Parliament last week, Bill C 38, was wrong and went against their better judgement, they were all too afraid. Harper was a better Bully.
Strength, determination, strong will and self confidence. Someone prepared to stand in your face, nose to nose. A man or a woman able to call bullshit, bullshit. When someone pushes, to push back.
If Harper had only five good bully’s in his Cabinet or Caucus, when one stood up and said, “Bull crap Stephen, I will never support such a ridiculous measure, this is plain wrong, screw you.”
Then a couple more could easily stand too. And then the rest of the weaklings who agreed would no longer be too shy to stand with them.
Currently we do not have enough bullies. We are raising spineless cowards who haven’t a lick of self confidence. The only confidence they acquire is when they reach the next level of some absolutely useless, brainless, video game.
I call ‘bullshit’ on the anti bully campaign, I say raise more and make them better and smarter. That way village idiots like George W Bush could never destroy democracy again and Canadians could elect real representatives to their legislative houses. With strong characters we might even get real news delivered by the profit driven enterprises we commonly refer to as media. Maybe, like what happened in Regina, Saskatchewan in 2002, we would find reporters quitting, refusing to deliver lies to the masses.
Don’t count on it though. Reporting jobs are scarce and the control is country wide. There are too few well trained bullies and too many spineless editors.On Can-West Global ControversiesFrom Silenced hereFrom Wikipedia on Black Press, the owners of all news papers published in the Northwest
The message is clear.In August 2007, a story in the Victoria News sparked a complaint from an advertiser and led to the firing/resignation of three senior Black Press employees. Victoria News reporter Brennan Clarke quit the publication after a story he wrote about buying cheaper cars in the United States led to a complaint from Victoria car dealership Dave Wheaton Pontiac Buick GMC.
Black Press claimed the article was not balanced, and said that reporters and editors should not purposely jeopardize advertising revenue with their stories, because that revenue pays their salaries. The company also fired the Victoria News long-time editor, Keith Norbury, in part because of the complaint, and Black Press's Vancouver Island Newsgroup regional editor, Brian Lepine, resigned in protest. The Canadian Association of Journalists publicly questioned the credibility and independence of the Victoria News, wondering how many stories Black Press kills behind the scenes because of advertising concerns.An open letter to Canadian journalists From June 2010
A few weeks ago, many journalists nodded knowingly at this Tweet by Canadian Press reporter Jennifer Ditchburn.
“My Friday giggle… a spokesperson who emails me “on background” and then says: I can’t answer your question.”
It’s a bit of gallows humour about a problem that began as a minor annoyance for reporters working on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and has grown into a genuine and widespread threat to the public’s right to know.
Most Canadians are aware of the blacked-out Afghan detainee documents and the furor over MPs’ secret expenses. But the problem runs much deeper.
Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the flow of information out of Ottawa has slowed to a trickle. Cabinet ministers and civil servants are muzzled. Access to Information requests are stalled and stymied by political interference. Genuine transparency is replaced by slick propaganda and spin designed to manipulate public opinion.
The result is a citizenry with limited insight into the workings of their government and a diminished ability to hold it accountable. As journalists, we fear this will mean more government waste, more misuse of taxpayer dollars, more scandals Canadians won’t know about until it’s too late.
It’s been four years since Harper muzzled his cabinet ministers and forced reporters to put their names on a list during rare press conferences in hopes of being selected to ask the prime minster a question. It’s not uncommon for reporters to be blackballed, barred from posing questions on behalf of Canadians.
More recently, information control has reached new heights. Access to public events is now restricted. Photographers and videographers have been replaced by hand-out photos and footage shot by the prime minister’s press office and blitzed out to newsrooms across Canada. It’s getting tougher to find an independent eye recording history, a witness seeing things how they really happened — not how politicians wish they’d happened. Did cabinet ministers grimace while they tasted seal meat in the Arctic last summer? Canadians will never know. Photographers were barred from the fake photo-op.
Those hand-out shots are, unfortunately, widely used by media outlets, often without the caveat that they are not real journalism.
In the end, that means Canadian only get a sanitized and staged version of history — not the real history.
Meanwhile, the quality of factual information provided to the public has declined steadily. Civil servants – scientists, doctors, regulators, auditors and policy experts, those who draft public policy and can explain it best to the population — cannot speak to the media. Instead, reporters have to deal with an armada of press officers who know very little or nothing at all about a reporter’s topic and who answer tough questions with vague talking points vetted by layers of political staff and delivered by email only.
In addition, the Access to Information system has been “totally obliterated” by delays and denials, according to a scathing report by the country’s information commissioner.
Requests are met with months-long delays, needless censoring and petty political interference — the most cringe-worthy recent example involves a bureaucrat forced to make a mad dash to the mailroom to rescue a report on Canada’s real estate holdings after a senior political aide ordered the report “unreleased.”
Politicians should not get to decide what information is released. This information belongs to Canadians, the taxpayers who paid for its production. Its release should be based on public interest, not political expediency.
This breeds contempt and suspicion of government. How can people know the maternal-health initiative has been well thought out or that the monitoring of aboriginal bands has been done properly if all Canadians hear is: “Trust us”?
Reporters have been loath to complain about this problem. But this needs to change. This is not about deteriorating working conditions for journalists. It’s about the deterioration of democracy itself.
Last month, reporters gathered in Montreal at the Canadian Association of Journalists’ conference to discuss these issues. On behalf of our members, we are calling on journalists to stand together and push back by refusing to accept vague email responses to substantive questions that require an interview with a cabinet minister or a senior civil servant. We are also asking journalists to stop running hand-out photos and video clips.
We are also calling on journalists to explain better to readers and viewers just how little information Ottawa has provided for a story. Every time a minister refuses to comment, a critical piece of information is withheld or an access request is delayed, Canadians deserve to know.
Finally, we are asking editors to devote the time and money it takes to dig beyond the stage-managed press conferences to get to the real story.
This is not about ideology or partisanship on the part of journalists. Journalists aren’t looking to judge the policies of the Conservative government. Rather, we want to ensure the public has enough information to judge for themselves.
Journalists are your proxies. At our best, we ask the questions you might ask if you had a few minutes with your prime minister or with Environment Canada’s top climatologist. When we can’t get basic information, we can’t hold your government to account on your behalf. In order to have a genuine debate about matters of national interest, people need information. In order for citizens to be involved and engaged and make smart choices at voting time, they need information. It’s time we got some.
President, Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery
Mary Agnes Welch
President, Canadian Association of Journalists
President, Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec
President, Alberta Legislature Press Gallery
President, New Brunswick Press Gallery
President, Newfoundland Press Gallery
President, Quebec Press Gallery
President, Press Gallery of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly
President, Saskatchewan Legislature Press Gallery Association