Sunday, May 28, 2006

From an alternate universe...

(Small Dead Animals and Celestial Junk were two of the many conservative blogs that mocked the reaction of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s demand that his office decide which reporters would be permitted to ask Himself a question. The following was retrieved from a pod that entered this universe through a tear in the space-time continuum. --DD)

PM: And now Comrade Kate McMillan may ask her question.

DT: Many thanks, Comrade Prime Minister. My question, as you know, has to do with freedom of the press. Recognizing that the press, largely composed of members and sympathizers of the disgraced ancien régime, frequently do not offer the respect that the Comrade Prime Minister is due, and do not speak for the broad masses of the workers and peasants, what steps will you take to ensure that the people are properly informed in the future? Thank you, Comrade.

PM: Thank you for your question, Comrade. If more reporters were like you, we would cease to have a problem with them. But for the most part they do not accept the will of the people, and continue to raise questions where none is warranted.

With my Party, I am planning an initiative to ensure that the people receive the information to which they are entitled. We shall be instituting a program of licensing journalists, which is not that radical a departure from the current practice of issuing press credentials. From now on, those credentials will simply have to be earned. As in the case of doctors, lawyers and accountants, certain minimal standards must be met.

Journalists who wish to practise their profession will shortly require a period of training in the basic rules and ethics of the profession. Once this training is complete--Comrade Levant will be the new Commissioner for Journalism, and will oversee the training--an oath of loyalty to Canada will be administered. We expect our first class to graduate sometime in 2007.

Until then, we shall keep the people informed with a regular series of press releases. Anyone with questions will be able to reach us at an email address or a toll-free number --1-800-GET-FACT. An operator will be standing by. Please stay on the line to retain your calling priority. (Laughter)

Journalists already in the profession will be permitted to practise--until they get it right. (Laughter and applause) But we are free not to talk to them--this is, after all, a free country. (Applause) Of course, they all have the option of going back to school.(Laughter)

Once again, Comrade, thank you for your question. (Prolonged and stormy applause)

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