“False. Total lie. Mindless. Childish.”
Saturday morning I woke up to discover the Federal Minister of Industry, James Moore, took to Twitter to respond to one of my tweets, which he deemed “false”.
It started with his tweet below, which I never saw, because I “have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user”.
I remember this “blocking” occurred roughly a year-and-a-half ago during The Freefall Festival. I was debating the merits of Conservative cultural policy on Twitter with Moore during Jonathan Goldsbie’s Enchanted Streetcar Ride. Soon after I mentioned that our hashtag #route501 was trending above the Ontario provincial budget, Moore proceeded to block me.
Anyhow, the narrative begins with this tweet:
Heavens. I sure hope not…. Thank you NDP for the enlightening mail out. “Hope is better than fear”… Indeed pic.twitter.com/8ZfzilcCun
— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) December 6, 2013
As if hope was the exclusive providence of mindless platitudes…. But this is a story about specific facts, so I will refrain from commenting further. Because I am blocked from seeing tweets by Minister Moore, it came to my attention when it was quoted by Kelly Nestruck, Theatre Critic for The Globe and Mail (who has not blocked me, yet).
Grammatically, you are. MT @JamesMoore_org Heavens. I sure hope not…. Thank you NDP for the enlightening mail out. pic.twitter.com/ZpiU8yOHM2 — J. Kelly Nestruck (@nestruck) December 6, 2013
When I saw this, what didn’t come to mind was grammar or Layton. What occurred to me was that Moore’s tweet was extremely rich. As a Cabinet Minister his staff would have been responsible for putting together one ‘Enemies List’ for incoming Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, and he would have received a second list to be brought up to speed on the “enemy” situation from the people that brought you Industry Minister Christian Paradis.
So given that Moore was involved with not one, but two sets of enemy lists during the cabinet shuffle several months ago, I tweeted this:
@nestruck @JamesMoore_org Haha funny except he really did have binder of arts enemies & pass it on to predecessor & this is well documented.
— Michael Wheeler (@michaelcwheeler) December 6, 2013
Of course by “predecessor” I meant “successor”.
There followed a brief conversation between Nestruck, playwright Sean Dixon and myself about whether the NDP used apostrophes properly in their mailings. Went to bed early enough to avoid The Raptors embarrassing themselves, and woke up to this tweet:
@michaelcwheeler @nestruck False. Total lie. Mindless. Childish.
— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) December 7, 2013
I was confused by this tweet by a Minister of the Crown in response to allegations that he and his office created lists of enemies at the request of, (say it in your best Duffy Baritone) The P.M.O.
On July 16, 2013. The Globe and Mail reported Harper’s office
“sent a memo asking for lists of “enemy stakeholders” for new cabinet ministers.”
Is The Honourable James Moore calling The Globe and Mail “liars”?
On July 17, 2013. Recent Harper Cabinet Minister Peter Kent heavily criticized Enemy Lists:
“For those of us of a certain generation, it evokes nothing less than thoughts of Nixon and Watergate.”
Is The Honourable James Moore calling Conservative MP Peter Kent “mindless”?
On July 24, 2013. The Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt reported over 200 civic-society groups, including Amnesty International Canada and Oxfam Canada, had asked for access to enemy lists, but were being stonewalled by the Harper Government:
“It is worrying more widely… with respect to the state of democracy in Canada. Plain and simple, in a healthy democracy government does not publicly talk of its critics and detractors as enemies.”
Is The Honourable James Moore calling Amnesty International “childish”?
I am asking these questions non-rhetorically, because for Moore’s tweet to be truthful, then the answer to each must be “yes”.
So we are left with two versions of the truth:
A massive conspiracy involving The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, a broad spectrum of civic society, and even a member of Moore’s own caucus, which has colluded to make us falsely believe Cabinet Ministers in The Harper Government created and received ‘enemy lists’ during the last Cabinet shuffle.
Harper Cabinet Ministers and their offices made and received ‘enemy lists’ as requested by PMO.
Perhaps the Minister mis-tweeted and this was just a Fordian slip? Getting a bit tedious being asked to believe in the absurd as plausible these days.
The Minister responded to this post on Twitter this morning. Through the magic of embedded tweets, his tweet and my response below.
Gotta side with Moore on this one. Nothing in any of the reports suggests he made an enemies list and/or passed it on to successors or PMO. The reports only suggest that the PMO asked for on to be prepared.
I know you enjoy being a contrarian sometimes, but this surprises me.
The only reason we can’t tell you who is on this list is because the government refuses to comment “about internal communications”. But we do have proof that these documents were ordered to be created as part of the shuffle. I mean, even Peter Kent believes they exist. You do not?
Or course the list was made by staff, for use by Ministers.
If anyone thinks this is pure paranoia, click the link under the Franke James picture. That this government keeps lists of artists and actively engages in censoring them is a matter of record and not opinion.
Michael, it was false, a total lie, mindless and childish of you to make such ridiculous claims about the goings-on in our federal government. You know what you said is untrue, and yet you said it anyway!
There isn’t and never was binders. They used Duo-tangs…
Add ridiculous to the list. Untrue is a repeat.
I would really love to have this conversation with Minister Moore via Twitter, but I can not, because I am blocked. If I was able to communicate I would say two things:
No one is saying you sat down with a big pen and said Fee Fi Fo Fum, Who Will I Write On My Big Bad List? We also assume you don’t do your own photocopying.
A wide variety of media has commented on a July 4 2013 memo from the PMO regarding “enemy stakeholders” lists to be created for new Ministers, of which you were one. That’s why the NDP mailer arrived at your place with that phrase on the envelope. If you think about that, it’s pretty messed up you would then blame someone else these lists causing an atmosphere of fear.
I had a frustrating exchange with Mr. Moore over this myself (& all I did was link to your post – it’s like the guy was just waiting to pounce!)
For your reading pleasure:
Thanks for the link. Quite the exchange.
It is the first time I’m aware Moore has denied explicitly there was any list.
He also seems determined not to address The Globe article which states the
PMO asked each Cabinet Minister’s office to make a list. I agree with your sense he seems “ready to pounce”, see Crystal’s tweet above.
What a fascinating exchange Alexander. Thanks for engaging, and thanks for sharing.