Monday, February 12, 2007

PAB = Soviet-style agency? Cool.

I find the following, from an article by Darcy Henton featured in Saturday's Edmonton Sun, absolutely hilarious. This is mainly because it is just so untrue.

Liberal Leader Kevin Taft has called for the public affairs bureau to be disbanded, claiming it is doing political work for the Tory party rather than just informing Albertans about services and programs.

He calls the bureau the Tories' "secret weapon."

"It's the Tory equivalent of the old Soviet TASS news agency. It's the key to managing public opinion."
The PAB definitely does not do political work for the Tory party. And, since the bureau is non-partisan there are a fair share of both liberal and other left-wing employees who work there. I know this on a first-hand basis and I can say with complete certainty that I have never been asked to do anything other than inform Albertans about services and programs. Furthermore, I am not a Tory.

The bureau is actually a better solution than embedding public affairs officers within the branches because it provides a means for movement and flexibility and keeps things fresh. It keeps new ideas flowing and actually is a deterrent to political activity. People get reprimanded for being overly political and those who work in communications and were involved in any Tory campaigns had to take a leave from their job in order to do so.

Public relations has long since been chastised as a profession of spin-doctors and secret-weapons. And while some unethical practitioners may take part in these sort of activities, they are not ones which are condoned by the industry as a whole. We've gotten a bad rap.

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