Never mind the fake lake. There will much be more like it as Prime Minister Stephen Harper descends into his deepening well of megalomania and the corresponding need to control everything.
Just imagine, one of these days we may have foreign TV reporters standing in front of a multi-million-dollar pristine virtual Parliament building even as the déclassé boots of the unwashed and disenfranchised masses, not proud to be on pogey in Muskoka, churn the actual Parliamentary lawn into a sea of mud and discarded picket signs!
Someone in the Prime Minister’s Office is probably working on it right now!
After all, this fake Muskoka cottage country scene -- a bargain at a measly $2 million from the prime minister’s perspective -- is entirely in character for a leader who won't let senior civil servants, high military officers or ministers of the Crown respond to a school kid's letter or a weekly newspaper reporter's query without submitting a "Message Event Proposal" directly to the Prime Minister's Office.
Really, you can't make up stuff like this! The average MEP, according to the Toronto Star, "typically includes the following subtitles: Event, Event type, Desired headline, Key messages, Media lines, Strategic objectives, Desired soundbite, Ideal speaking backdrop, Ideal event photograph, Tone, Attire, Rollout materials, Background, and Strategic considerations." (Emphasis added.)
You can see the provenance of the fake lake quite clearly in Harper's nuttily consuming MEP process. "It's hyper-extreme control, complete with threats and everything else," said a senior official anonymously quoted by the Star. He was speaking of the MEPs, but the same thing goes for the summit coverage, of course.
Why let foreign journalists, who are quite possibly not as tame as the local variety, anywhere near the visiting bigshots when you can stick them behind a razor-wire fence on the tatty old Canadian National Exhibition grounds, complete with an ideal speaking backdrop?
(One can only hope the federal Conservatives didn’t go to their Alberta brethren for advice on this diorama, or the fake lake may turn out to be in Northumberland instead of Muskoka!)
At least our Dear Leader doesn't claim to have been born at the lake atop Baekdu-san (formerly Mount Logan, formerly Mount Trudeau, and before that Mount Logan again) in the Yukon … yet, anyway. The cost of fabricating that site in southern Ontario for the foreign press would be really freakin' something!
Mind you, the cost of two days of security for the G8 and G20 summits is pretty freaking' enormous too -- $1.2 billion for 48 hours of security. Plus the fake lake, of course, which in fairness we may later be able to declare to be a fake national park.
When the dust settles, the security bill for prime minister's two-day beanfest may rise to $2 billion if the direst predictions are proved right.
That's a minimum of $200 million more expensive than the supposedly outrageously overpriced long-gun registry that these same Conservatives worked so hysterically to eliminate on the grounds the cost didn't justify the security delivered. And the long-gun registry had the potential to do some good and to be around for more than a couple of days, neither of which can be said of the G8 and G20 summits.
But then, who said a Dear Leader has to make sense? Keeping police and citizens safe doesn't play very well to Mr. Harper's gun-nut base out here in New West, whereas having your picture taken with a bunch of foreign bigwigs in the real Muskoka apparently does.
Security at a billion dollars a day? Cheap at the price … if you're a megalomaniac.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.
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