It wasn’t that long ago that the media and opposition parties were taking the “Harper Government” to task for referring to itself as the “Harper Government” as opposed to the “Government of Canada” in official federal government press releases.
A CBC news article reported that “the opposition said the move is unprecedented.” The CBC never actually said who “the opposition” was that made that comment, but they did quote Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc as saying, “It’s not Stephen Harper’s government, it’s the goverment of all Canadians.” He was also quoted as saying, “You’d expect this kind of directive to be issued by the ministry of information in North Korea.”
A Toronto Star article on the subject quoted Jonathon Rose, a specialist in political communications at Queen’s University as saying “It is one thing for journalists or even the public to use the more partisan ‘Harper government,’ but it is another thing for the state to equate the Government of Canada with the leader of the governing party.” Jonathon Rose noted that such language is expressly forbidden under an Ontario law that prohibits partisanship in government messaging.
So I can’t help wondering why the media isn’t all over the similar rebranding of the Government of Ontario as the “McGuinty Government.”
Almost all recent Government of Ontario press releases mention the “McGuinty Government” in either the primary or secondary headline:
In fact, a quick search of the .gov.on.ca domain shows that “McGuinty Government” has been used in Government of Ontario press release headlines since McGuinty came to power in October 2003 (“McGuinty Government Creates Two New Ministries, Secretariat“).
I have to admit that I’ve never really liked it when political parties use government resources in a partisan manner, but they all do it. So why was Harper’s government called to task by the media and vilified by the opposition for doing something McGuinty has been getting away with for years? Why aren’t all those angry Liberal MPs accusing McGuinty’s press office of acting like the “the ministry of information in North Korea”? When the Harper Government referred to themselves that way in government press releases, CBC’s The National did a story on it; where’s their story on the McGuinty Government? Why isn’t McGuinty being vilified on the Internet? Why aren’t social media sites all a twitter? Why the double standard?