"On Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he hadn't known about the trouble [Suaad Hagi Mohamud].
"When we became aware of the case last week," he said, "we asked our officials in various departments to give us some information."
Yesterday [Toronto MP Joe] Volpe said: "I can't believe the Prime Minister didn't know about this. If he didn't, he should have the heads of two of his senior ministers
on a platter." (John Goddard, The Toronto Star, 21 August 2009)
How could Prime Minister Stephen Harper not know of Suaad's very public plight?
"I watched the last several elections in the United States very closely. I tend to watch mainly American news because I don't like to watch Canadian news and hear what Allan (Gregg, a pollster and CBC pundit who was in the audience) and everybody else is saying about me, so my hobby is to watch politics elsewhere." [said Harper to a Toronto business audience 21 October 2009] (Tonda MacCharles, The Toronto Star, 23 October 2009)
Well, that would explain it.
"The Prime Minister doesn't watch himself on the news. That is why he tends to mainly watch American news." [said Dimitri Soudas, Harper's spokesman]I hate to break it to our esteemed PM but he's not front and centre on every newscast, but he is the leader of Canada and needs to know -- must know -- what Canadians are thinking, doing, suffering. How can he possibly lead us when he relies on minions to tell him what the country is talking about? Minions always filter. When I was working in the provincial Ministry of Health, I noticed bureaucrats discussing how to manipulate the Minister with carefully vetted and filtered info so that she'd do what they wanted.
When Canada was talking about Suaad's terrible ordeal in Kenya, when the news was all over the TV, the newspapers, radio, the Prime Minister apparently remained ignorant because he doesn't like Canadian news. Apparently, Harper is so averse to seeing himself skewered on Canadian news that he much prefers watching American news and being interviewed on American TV. That means Harper not only doesn't keep an eye on the goings on in Canada, of our individual stories when we're in trouble, but also doesn't even want to talk to us. President Barack Obama may be a bit garrulous, but at least he takes his responsibility to Americans seriously enough that he both talks to them and listens to them. And he doesn't run up to Canada to do that.
And so while Harper was talking to Americans and listening to Americans, Suaad languished in Kenya just because he didn't want to see himself on the Canadian news.