“Independent journalists are able to ask questions of politicians that truly hold power to account and inform the Canadian public. You have led Albertans to believe that this is something you value, " IPG president, True North's Andrew Lawton, wrote in the open letter to Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley
The document, penned in response to Notley removing reporters from The Counter Signal and Rebel News from a Monday morning campaign announcement, was signed by senior staff from the four independent right-leaning news outlets.
Western Standard columnist Nigel Hannaford was permitted into the NDP campaign announcement but was called "homophobic" by premier-wannabe Notley and denied the opportunity to ask a question.
"Fostering a system where politicians can cherry-pick journalists’ questions while blacklisting random outlets is an affront to the basic tenets of democracy, and runs contrary to the expectations that Albertans have for a free press.
You have stated on social media that Albertans deserve a leader that takes their questions, and you proudly declared you would take media questions and follow-ups. But your behaviour indicates the opposite.
On April 14, Premier Danielle Smith announced that she will be limiting journalists at press events to one question each in order to accommodate a greater variety of questions. This prompted you to portray Premier Smith as a censor and yourself as a defender of press freedom.
You claim to support the values of openness and transparency, but the hypocrisy here is too great to ignore."
In 2016, Notley banned Rebel News journalists from attending press conferences before an independent investigation into her actions determined she did not have the authority to do so.