You may recall that when we visited Queen’s Park on July 25 to cover the latest demonstration by members of #YahooNation, inexplicably, a Queen’s Park Security guard told me that I was no longer permitted to film our reports upon the lawns of Queen’s Park.
The reason: I wasn’t an accredited member of the Queen’s Park press gallery. That struck me as somewhat odd.
Yes, I know there are accreditation rules for journalists covering what goes on inside the legislature when it’s in session. But outdoors? In a park? Where everyone and anyone freely gathers? How could that be? It is, the “Queen’s Park” — as in a park for her majesty’s subjects to gather, be it for picnicking or protesting.
Furthermore, I informed the guard that I had been covering the #YahooNation protests since April without any incident. He acknowledged that this was indeed true, but he and his colleagues were “getting pressure from above” to lay down the law.
I never got an answer as to who was asserting this “pressure” or the nitty-gritty details of the “law.” Although we did hear from an insider that the Premier himself, Doug Ford, was not happy with our exclusive interview with Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios.
Karahalios voted against her government on Bill 195 — which many slam as undemocratic — and for having the temerity to do so she was promptly booted out of caucus. That interview aired the day before my encounter with the guard.
So it was on July 25 that I reported from a traffic island situated off Queen’s Park property.
I did not put up a fuss with the guard because I wanted to do some research and see if what I was being told was true. And you know what? In the days that followed, I couldn’t find a scintilla of evidence that backed up the guard’s claim that I had to be a member of the Queen’s Park press gallery in order to report from the lawns of Queen’s Park!
In fact, at considerable cost, we hired a lawyer to look into this matter and to accompany us on a return visit to Queen’s Park on August 1.
It was similar to what we did in earlier this summer when we asserted our right to report from Nathan Phillips Square when city hall security guards threatened to charge us with trespassing (and on one visit, even had Toronto Police remove us from the square), despite the fact that an illegal tent city was occupying the property!
But that’s the thing with Rebel News: we don’t bend the knee to bureaucrats or bully-boy members of law enforcement.
We fight back.
And it wasn’t much of a fight at Queen’s Park.
With our lawyer in tow, Queen’s Park security surrendered immediately. Again, they were unable to cite any section of any legislation that would’ve prevented us from practising journalism on the lawns.
I don’t want to make this rant seem as though I have any grudge against Queen’s Park security whatsoever.
Until that one encounter in late July, the officers had been friendly and accommodating to us, allowing us to report.
And I truly believe they are “getting pressure from above.”
The question, again, is who is asserting this pressure? Who is getting the guards to enforce laws that apparently do not exist?
In any event, score another victory for Rebel News in taking back the public square. But it did come at a cost in terms of our legal fees.
So if you could help us out, please make a donation to www.JournalistDefenceFund.com.
Thank you — and keep fighting for freedom!