Harper To Answer His Own Questions Only?

This is weird. Today I
got an email that I don’t think was intended for me. Not sure how it
ended up in my inbox. Turns out it’s an email from Prime Minister
Stephen Harper to his press secretary Carolyn Stewart Olsen. In the
email, he discusses all manner of business. But one part of it
raised my eyebrows a bit: a section where he discusses the recent
controversy regarding his decision to hand-pick which reporters are
allowed to ask him questions. I offer it to you here:

… further to this,
Carolyn, I think it would be prudent for us to begin the process of
deliminating the potential for criticisms of me and the government
from all future press conferences (funny, eh, how “press
conferences” starts with PC!!! maybe we could use that as a joke
sometime?) by initiating a strategy of, not only directing who gets
to ask me questions, but also, what the questions are that will be
asked. (it seems to work very well for Bush).

Here are some
questions, then, that I think would be good to be asked of me at the
next PC (ha ha). You know which of the coughjournalistscough are the
ones who we can count on, Carolyn, so you decide which of them gets
to ask these questions. Try to spread the questions out, in terms of
covering reporters from all across Canada.  You know, from BC to Quebec. And
make sure to include some from those reporters who are my so-called
“detractors”. If they refuse to ask them, just inform them that
the back of the reporter line is a long ways away from the TV

Question: Mr. Prime
Minister, what is your opinion of the newest American Idol, Taylor
Hicks? (by the way, Carolyn, I think he’s great! He sounds both rock
and roll, and churchy. And he kind of looks like me, don’t you
think?) Followup: Any idea as to where the next Canadian Idol may
end up coming from? (would it be too pushy of me, Carolyn, to
suggest an Albertan might win?)

Question: Mr. Prime
Minister, do you think the Oilers will win the Western Division in
four straight? (Carolyn, there might be a chance here for a joke
about “that’s the kind of majority victory I wouldn’t mind having”.
Do you get it? Funny?) Followup: Should all Canadians be proud
of the tenacity of the Edmonton Oilers? (would it be too pushy of
me, Carolyn, to suggest an Albertan team might win? Can you find out
for me how many Canadian players are on that team? Also, is mentioning Gretzky in relation to the Oilers taboo?)

What do you think? Are
these a bit too soft-ball? Will the public catch on? Maybe we
should put one in there that is more, you know, directly related to
government stuff. How about this:

Question: Mr. Prime
Minister, the government seems to be running pretty smoothly these
past few months. Better, in fact, than all those years of wicked
Liberal domination. What do you think, then, sir, is the best thing
about what your government has done so far? (Carolyn, get the boys in
research to find something suitable as an answer.) Followup: Can I
have your autograph? (don’t forget to order more 8X10′ head shots of

Anyways, Carolyn,
that’s what I’m thinking regarding that. On a related topic, I think
I need to get a new barber. One that knows how to do that Taylor
Hicks look. Seriously, I think we should play up on the similarities
between me and him.

And it goes on from  there.

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