Anyone thinking that facts and truthful statements are flowing more freely from federal offices would be shocked to read a recent report from Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation regarding Ottawa’s “spin doctor” salaries.
Thomas claims information services staff on the federal payroll cost taxpayers 263 million last year.
“Canadians are seeing their money – a quarter billion dollars’ worth – used against them: not to provide them with information, but rather to delay, conceal and spin the information, so as to enhance the image of the party in power,” Thomas says.
Anyone who works in the media would probably have a hard time disagreeing with Thomas’ comments.
The provincial government has set themselves up, media – wise, in a fashion similar to the federal government by forcing all enquiries of a goverment agent or department to a communications officer.
Most of the time these media relations people don’t even know about the local issue in question. They have to contact those involved, find out the facts and then “spin the gospel” back to the person making the inquiry.
It’s more often than not a pointless exercise, as information is santiized, neutralized and made so generic as to be mostly useless.
Every government office, in every community, that has permanent staff should have someone qualified to speak to the public and answer questions pertaining to their business., who can do so honestly and directly.
It’s ridiculous to think that farming questions off to a media figure within an organization is going to provide citizens with better or more truthful information regarding local issues. The policy has nothing to do with clarity or openess; it’s an expensive burden on the taxpayer, providing bafflegab but little else.