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Jason Kenney (Sean Kilpatrick CP).jpg"Logistical problems."

That's how Jason Kenney, the Minister of Immigration, dismissed an extraodinary, made-up event where six government employees - supposedly neutral bureaucrats - pretended to be new Canadians during a national broadcast of a reaffirmation ceremony on the Sun News Network.

That's right: they faked it.

Why?

Well, according to emails first obtained by Jennifer Ditchburn from The Canadian Press, the debacle began when one Tracie LeBlanc, the Senior Communications Advisor at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, was asked to find 10 new Canadians to show up for the televised citizenship ceremony.

But LeBlanc couldn't find them. So what did she do?

In an email dated Oct. 19, 2011, the day after the event in question, she wrote:

"[...] I anticipated that it would be low turn-out after doing follow-up calls yesterday, so I asked six Citzenship and Immigration Canada employees to come to the ceremony so that we'd have the right numbers."

Well, she got the right numbers but the wrong people. And the viewers were clearly duped.

Heres a clip of the broadcast: ((Alex Pierson: Ten new Canadians are taking their oath right now here at our Sun News studio in Toronto.))

Is the difference between news that's real and news that's fake, really just a 'logistical problem' as the minister said?

Isn't that the kind of thing that is supposed to separate countries like ours with a free press, from say countries like China where the Prime Minister is headed next week.

It's not an import most of us want.

A recent Ipsos Reid Poll showed that politicians rank at the bottom of the trust scale, just inching out car sales people for last place.

This likely won't help the whole brand.

Minister Kenney blamed the bureaucrats - a one-time error he said he regretted - which we all hope is true.

But doesn't the minister bare full responsibility here? After all, his office was involved in the coordination of this event.

Can we at least not fake the language?

When the news is manipulated, bureaucrats humilited, a citzienship ceremony mocked - that's just plain wrong. Nothing fake about that.

When almost 40 percent of eligable citizens don't bother to vote in the last election because they don't trust politicians, that's not fake.

That's a problem.

A real problem.

 

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