New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois are blocking a House of Commons committee from discussing the egregious arrest of Rebel News reporter David Menzies by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland's police escort.
Heritage committee member and Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu accused the committee's NDP and Bloc members as “blocking” the committee from “scrutiniz(ing) Monday’s egregious attack on press freedom.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's partners, she said, “endorse the arrest of a journalist for asking the Deputy PM a question in a public setting.” Taking to X, formerly Twitter, the MP from Sarnia—Lambton shared a letter directed to Liberal MP Hedy Fry, who chairs the heritage committee, discussing the incident.
On Monday, Menzies attempted to ask Freeland about the Liberal government's failure to list Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. Freeland, along with other Liberals, including the prime minister, were attending a memorial for victims of Flight PS752, a Ukrainian commercial airliner that was shot down in January 2020 by the IRGC shortly after departing from Tehran.
All of the plane's passengers were killed, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.
While putting questions to the deputy PM on the public sidewalk, Menzies was then bumped into by a plainclothes RCMP officer, who accused Menzies of assault before arresting him. He was later released without charges.
Video of the incident has since gone viral online, and has been widely condemned by supporters and critics of Rebel News alike.
“The Committee on Canadian Heritage has a duty and responsibility to address press freedom and free expression, especially when it comes under attack,” the letter reads. “The committee must fulfill its mandate and provide greater scrutiny of the January 8 arrest of a member of the independent media and attack on press freedom and freedom of expression.”
The letter is signed by the committee's Conservative representatives — Marilyn Gladu, Kevin Waugh, Rachael Thomas and Martin Shields — but was not signed by NDP MP Peter Julian and Bloc MP Martin Champoux.
“All committee members must recognize this incident as a dangerous precedent,” the letter concludes. “Shameful,” was Gladu's response to the lack of support from the MPs outside the Conservative party.