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Event Cancelled Due to PMO Gag Order: Organizers

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March 17, 2006

Event Cancelled Due to PMO Gag Order: Organizers

by Anthony Fenton

"Canada's Role in Afghanistan," a panel hosted by the University of Calgary's Center for Military and Strategic Studies (CMSS)," was cancelled due to Prime Minister Harper's recent decision to place major limits on the media's access to ministers, organizers say.

CTV reported that the Prime Minister's Office issued an order restricting interaction with the press to discussions of the "five priority areas identified in the [Conservative] campaign."

"In order to keep a grip on such events (those that distract from priority areas), PMO will approve of all ministerial events," the order allegedly said.

A CMSS spokesperson told The Dominion that "only David Sproule, Canada's Ambassador to Afghanistan, was able to attend the panel. Therefore, we decided to cancel it."

The CMSS spokesperson affirmed that it is their belief that the decree made by Harper's office led to the immediate unavailability of the other speakers, which were to include Omar Samad, Afghanistan's Ambassador to Canada.

At press time, the Foreign Affairs department had not responded to requests for information about Samad's cancellation.

Anthony Fenton

» CTV: Harper tightens leash on his ministers: report

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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