Harper Puts Top General on Short Leash
" Prime Minister Stephen Harper has forbidden Canada's top military brass from speaking publicly for fear of detracting attention from his government's top priorities.
A top military officer said the Prime Minister's Office recently told Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier his speaking engagements had to be approved and his speeches would be vetted by Harper's staff.
Hillier was told to advise his top generals, admirals and commodores that the order applies to them.
A source close to Hillier said the general hauled in military brass to a closed-door meeting and verbally relayed the instructions.
GO THROUGH PMO
The senior military officer who attended the meeting said Hillier told brass they were to clear all media interview requests with the PMO. So far all requests for interviews have been turned down by the PM's staff.
"They don't want anything to detract from their five messages or lead to debate or discussion," said the source, who asked for anonymity to avoid repercussions himself.
Lower-ranking soldiers can still answer questions on their responsibilities and the programs they work in without having to seek PMO approval, the senior official said.