feel a chill?

It’s not just in the air.. things are getting a little scary..

full on legally/nationally/internationally scary.

RCMP has been further muzzled (like they weren’t quiet enough before), read about it in a Toronto Star article. Full article below for you to read, if that link dies.

And a fun take on the incredibly NOT fun ‘S.O.P.A’ can be found here on reddit.

It seems to me that all this .. like pretty much all our problems now (besides actual survival problems like clean water, shelter and food to eat) are based on money.. and even some of the survival problems are due to currency. What we need now are people who can’t be bought. That is a power stronger than greed.

 

Full article from the Toronto Star:

Government puts tighter leash on RCMP public statements

November 20, 2011

Tonda MacCharles

OTTAWA—The federal government may have a fluent bilingual communicator in its new commissioner Bob Paulson. But it has moved to keep Paulson and the Mounties he now leads on a much tighter leash, some even say muzzled.

The Star obtained a copy of a new communications protocol that requires the RCMP to flag anything that might “garner national media attention” to Public Safety Canada.

Everything from “media advisories, news releases, background info, media lines and talking points for spokespersons and senior officials/members” must be vetted.

Statements by RCMP members who appear before parliamentary committees would likely be massaged by the federal government beforehand, as the document clearly defines a “major event” as “an incident, event, announcement, and/or speaking engagement likely to garner national media attention.”

Signed Sept. 20 and effective immediately, the policy says the Mounties must consult and get approval from Public Safety for communications regarding non-operational matters “PRIOR (emphasis in original) to public use” for almost everything.

On “major operational events,” all communications need to be shared with Public Safety Canada officials “for information only” prior to public use.

According to the document, the goal is to ensure advance notice of “communications activities,” “consistent” interdepartmental co-ordination, better “strategic” communications planning, and more “integrated Government of Canada messaging.”

“The circulation of the information provided will be treated with sensitivity and, as appropriate, will be limited to a select few senior officials at Public Safety Canada.”

It also requires the RCMP to flag “opportunities” for “ministerial event proposals” — meaning police announcements the minister might like to get in on for public relations purposes. Indeed, the Stephen Harper government has developed a whole protocol for what it calls “MEPs.” The protocol extends the reach of those to the RCMP.

RCMP commanding officers across the country originally expressed concerns that the protocol might tie their hands in dealing with media on locally important issues, or in issuing statements like Amber Alerts, dangerous persons warnings, or handling local news of raids, or search warrant executions. They have been told it won’t.

On its face, the document says that communications on major operational events need to be approved by RCMP National HQ Communications and shared with the government, but “consultations with Public Safety Canada should not prevent the RCMP from engaging the public and the media in a timely manner on operational issues.”

However, some inside the RCMP, including two sources who commented on condition they not be identified, it sounds like a way to gag the Mounties or reduce the RCMP’s independence to handle “anything that is controversial,” as one insider put it.

“We’re starting to sound like the House of Commons during question period where they skate around everything and it’s all spin, spin, spin,” said another.

Others such as executive staff relations representative Abe Townsend do not see it as a major shift.

“From my point of view,” said Townsend, “it doesn’t affect our operational ability to provide public safety to Canadians or provide a police service to Canadians—that’s what the focus of the vast majority of our members is.”

Another senior RCMP official, who spoke off the record, said the government just wants to ensure it’s not surprised or embarrassed. He said the protocol isn’t a threat to real independence.

The RCMP, already one of the more notoriously slow and difficult government agencies to respond to requests for information from media, dragged its feet on the Star’s inquiries about the new protocol.

Indeed, for more than a week after the Star received an anonymous tip, the RCMP declined requests for a copy or comment. On Wednesday, when Paulson was appointed, the RCMP told the Star it would “not be released.”

Michael Patton, communications director for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, also shrugged off questions about it, saying there are “a million” protocols.

Only after the Star received a leaked copy Friday, and asked again for comment, RCMP media relations emailed the same document and a brief pre-approved statement, saying it merely “builds on existing practices on communications issues of common interest.”

“Effective information sharing between the RCMP and Public Safety ensures that both are well placed to appropriately respond to the public when necessary. The RCMP will continue to provide timely information to the public on matters of public safety,” said the statement emailed by Sgt. Greg Cox.

Linda Duxbury, an expert on the RCMP and workplace culture within police agencies, said on the day Paulson was named that a longstanding problem at the RCMP is its “culture of silence, organizational silence.” She said one of the biggest challenges will be to ensure members feel “safe to speak up.”

Certainly, individual members of the RCMP are already prevented under the force’s disciplinary Code of Conduct from speaking to media without prior internal approvals.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1089656–government-puts-tighter-leash-on-rcmp-public-statements?bn=1
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About yolandalenin

I talk a lot. ______________________________________________________________________ I write even more.
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