Friday, March 2, 2007

Cochrane's speech had quite an impact

The full text of David Cochrane’s speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade, which you can read in its entirety two posts down, has generated a lot of discussion over the last two days.

My blog is less than a month old so, up to now, I was getting about two hundred hits per day. Word of mouth is an amazing thing because, soon after the post appeared, I was getting almost a hundred hits per hour! The hits are still coming at a pretty steady pace, so I know that Cochrane’s speech is having an impact.

Thanks for this must go to Ed Hollett, Simon Lono, Craig Welsh and the six or seven others who flagged the Cochrane speech in their blogs.

The entry seems to have touched a nerve, because the majority of comments (on this blog and elsewhere) applaud Cochrane for expressing his views. Naturally, some people didn’t agree, and that’s fine too, though those people who accused Cochrane of political bias or hidden agenda did not get the point.

What Cochrane advocates is open discussion and debate of the issues; an environment where questioning the government’s approach is not equated with a lack of patriotism. This is essential to any healthy democracy.

I am a big fan of disclosure so, for those who don’t know me, it is no secret that I do a fair bit of consulting work for the oil and gas industry. That said, I am not a mouthpiece for the industry. I am at a point in my career where clients pay for my ideas and advice, and respect my counsel. They do not expect me to shill for them. My opinions – which will gradually unfold in the weeks and months ahead – are honestly held and based on a career that includes 12 years of journalism and 15 years in communications, working with technology, mining and oil and gas companies, as well as public sector and not-for-profit clients.

My political affiliations? I have none to any particular party. In the federal election of 2006, I volunteered to handle media for Liberal candidate Siobhan Coady, but this does not make me a Liberal. I simply have a great deal of respect for the candidate. In the last provincial election, I voted PC, because I liked Danny’s business background and believed that he could get the best deal for the province in resource development. Where I stand on that is a subject for another day…

2 comments:

Mike Kehoe said...

You show me one reporter of Cochrane’s status (and pay scale) who would or should not advocate “open discussion and debate of the issues; an environment where questioning the government’s approach is not equated with a lack of patriotism. This is essential to any healthy democracy” and I will show you one that must be a complete loss to the profession.

Cochrane issued a very worthwhile plea for democratic rights of free speech in his talk. One that business “come out” and be willing to challenge the policies of the Williams government and not be afraid and not pay a price. This is nothing new. Reporters and columnists have been saying it for years if not centuries.

A lot more cows have to come home before business comes out of its cloister to exercise its right to fair public comment. It just works so much better for them when they operate behind closed doors and away from the glare of the lights of David Cochrane and others in the media.

That’s regrettable perhaps but true. Get over it David and start opening the doors to the back rooms. You’ll find they have lots to do and say then.

I on the other hand will then find your speeches even more interesting.

WJM said...

A lot more cows have to come home before business comes out of its cloister to exercise its right to fair public comment.

Moo?