The Sun reports that the Prime Minister has gagged senior Canadian military officers from talking to the press pending approval from the PMO.
A top military officer said the Prime Minister's Office recently told Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier his speaking engagements had to be approved and his speeches would be vetted by Harper's staff.
Hillier was told to advise his top generals, admirals and commodores that the order applies to them.
OK, Gen. Hillier has used some language that definitely sounds like its coming from south of the border and has caused me to wince a bit, and has definitely been the most vocal of defence chiefs pushing the envelope as far as it can go when it comes to neutrality of opinion among military figures. But, at the same time Harper telling the nation's highest ranking soldier and ALL the senior officers they cannot utter a public peep without explicit approval from his mandarins, is more than a tad insulting to their intelligence and trust... Perhaps Gen. Hillier's recent comments have scared them a bit.
One wonders if this means that commanders will have to wait for approval to comment on casualities, search and rescue operations, or at parades where the media might be present. Perhaps Rick Mercer will have to contact the PMO next time he wants to skydive(see week of 28 Feb).
Or, more insidiously, would the PMO's vetting include altering speeches to promote the party agenda? Harper as already used soldiers as a backdrop much like Bush, so it does not seem without merit.