It was a great day for freedom of the press in Canada in September 2021 when Rebel News won an emergency injunction against the Leaders' Debates Commission. The commission had tried to prevent our journalists access to cover the federal leadership debates after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election in the middle of an alleged pandemic. He campaigned across the nation while the rest of us were told to stay home and save lives.
Yet, for the second time in a row, Rebel lawyers went up against the parliamentary authoritarians. And just like in 2019, we had another win. Our Rebel journalists, myself included, were granted access to the media scrum at the debates and Mr. Trudeau absolutely seethed at our questions.
Now that the judge has formally published the reasons for her ruling, I wanted to catch up with one the lawyers who worked on this case — Chad Williamson.
Chad refers to the judges’ decision as a common sense one, and that she saw “through the thinly veiled nonsense that the government had come up with to try and distinguish Rebel and other persona non grata journalists from the Media Party.”
Justice Heneghan saw the Leaders' Debates Commissions and their arbitrary creation of a two-tiered accreditation process for what it was — “unreasonable, procedurally unfair and lacking in discernable rationality and logic.” She further explained that there is room in the nation for the expression of opposing points of view and that Rebel News “did not ask to impose its views, but for the opportunity to participate in coverage of matters of importance during a federal election.”
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