PM not consumer of Canadian media?

November 2nd, 2009

Photo by Kyra Hoggan: Harper’s visit to Castlegar, with local Conservative MP hopeful Rob Zandee at podium in background

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper caused controversy last week after telling Toronto business leaders that he prefers to watch American news programmes instead of Canadian.

He told the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Convention that he watched “mainly American news” and suggested it was his hobby “to watch politics elsewhere”. The Toronto Star says his “words ring true” in light of the interviews he’s given to American broadcasters like Fox News and CNN.

Three of Harper’s cabinet members, Jim Flaherty, Peter Kent and Tony Clement, questioned the veracity of his statement, stating they “assume” he must digest some Canadian news issues. But Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said “I think the prime minister is too busy to sit there being vainglorious and watching himself on TV.”

Political opponents were quick to draw attention to the admission by the Prime Minister, whom they claim has always had American interests at heart during his career.

The Star quoted NDP leader Jack Layton, who said, “Perhaps if he watched Canadian news more often, he would understand the negative impact of his policies on Canadian families. And if he actually likes Fox News better than Canadian news, then Canadians ought to be concerned”.

Liberal Bob Rae likewise pointed out that politicians, “all have an obligation to know what’s going on”, and noted he found the admission “quite shocking”.

A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office clarified that Harper watched hockey on national networks, but took his news from American networks.

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