What Election? Business as Usual on Canada.ca

In a post a little over a year ago, I looked at Netiquette for the 2014 Ontario election. I found that a link on Ontario.ca to the premier’s page had been deleted, that the top announcement on the premier’s page was of the election call, and that the premier’s page had been frozen. I concluded by asking what the “hyper-partisan Harper Government” would do for the 2015 election. Now we can see.

There is no mention of the election on Canada.ca. There is also no mention of the election on the Prime Minister’s page. Yes it was frozen when the election was called on August 2. The page was clearly in election mode by then, boldly trumpeting all the Harper Government’s achievements and maintaining its 24 Seven newsreel. The only place I could find any mention of the election at all was an announcement that Parliament is dissolved at the top of the home page for the Parliament of Canada. But, despite that announcement, you could enter your postal code just below and find your MP. There was no mention that he or she was, but not is, your MP, precisely because Parliament is dissolved.

I do not take issue with the Harper Government using its home page to recount its achievements. That, after all, is the record on which it will be judged. Nevertheless, I think the Canada home page and the Prime Minister’s page should have announcements about the election. Web pages for a democracy should remind us that it is now time to exercise our democratic rights, and these do not.

If the Harper Government is re-electing, this and all the other vestiges of politicization will not change. If the Harper Government is defeated, I hope that its Liberal or NDP successors will launch a comprehensive review of the politicization of governmental institutions, and redraw the line between politics and government.

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