Various federal departments claimed that they do not blacklist media organizations, according to response to an inquiry of ministries posed by Martin Shields, the Conservative MP from the Alberta riding of Bow River regarding a statement made by the media relations director of the Bank of Canada.
According to Holly Doan's independent, non-government funded media outlet Blacklock's Reporter:
Bank Governor Tiff Macklem’s director of communications Paul Badertscher in an email denied blacklisting Blacklock’s despite telling a deputy governor in an audio tape: “I do not want to be in a situation where we are allowing Blacklock’s to be asking us. So, yes, that’s where we’re at.”
Shields asked about the internal media blacklist at the Bank of Canada and if that blacklist was present in other ministries:
How did the BOC determine that they did not want to be in a situation where they're allowing Blacklock's Reporter to ask them questions; has the BOC received any advice or direction from anyone outside of the BOC, including the Privy Council Office or the Office of the Prime Minister, related to Blacklock's Reporter, and, if so, what are the details including the dates and summaries of the advice or direction; and what corrective action, if any, is being taken by the BOC, every other department or agency, broken down by each department or agency, to address any biases against Blacklock's Reporter, including what measures are being taken to ensure that Blacklock's gets their fair share of questions in government news conferences?
In the response, tabled in March, all ministries denied blacklisting Blacklock's by name, and several claimed to allow media access to all outlets at all times.
The statements are in stark contrast to the treatment of independent outlets like Rebel News by the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who refused to take questions from Rebel News at last year's leader's debate after a last-minute judge's ruling permitting Rebel News' participation in the post-debate scrums.
The Department of Finance, which oversees the Bank of Canada, is led by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and denied the blacklisting of Blacklock's or any media outlets:
...Blacklock's Reporter receives the same fair and equitable access to Department of Finance news conferences as any other accredited member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
Bank of Canada
The comment in question was an isolated occurrence and does not reflect the Bank’s media relations policies. The Bank recognizes that the media is a primary channel through which we communicate to the general public. As such, we maintain relationships with members of the media in order to promote accurate reporting of Bank publications. These relationships are guided by core principles of fair treatment and equal access. The Bank welcomes questions from any accredited media organization.
The Bank recognizes that the media is a primary channel through which we communicate to the general public. As such, we maintain relationships with members of the media in order to promote accurate reporting of Bank publications. These relationships are guided by core principles of fair treatment and equal access. The Bank welcomes questions from any accredited media organization, and as such no changes to its policies are required.
Freeland once tried to ban Rebel News' Sheila Gunn Reid and True North's Andrew Lawton from a press availability at a Defend Media Freedom conference she was cohosting in London, UK. Objections from foreign press forced Freeland to backtrack.
The Canada Revenue Agency noted that:
Press conferences hosted by the CRA are publicly announced via media advisories posted on the CRA newsroom and published to a third-party newswire service. All accredited journalists are welcome to RSVP, attend and are given equal opportunity to pose questions (one question and one follow-up question as per journalist practices).
Agriculture and Agrifood Canada responded that they work “diligently to respond to requests from all media outlets, such as calls and emails from journalists, in a timely manner”.
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions said:
CED responds in a timely, transparent and thorough manner to the information needs of its various audiences, including members of the media and does not filter requests for information from the media, including during press conferences.
Fisheries and Oceans admitted the press conference protocol is first come first serve, but invited journalists to follow up with media relations for clarification if time did not allow for a question.
Indigenous Services Canada replied that agency “news conferences coordinated by ISC are conducted in a fair and unbiased manner where all members of the media are provided equal opportunities to ask questions.”
National Defence, the Communications Security Establishment, the Military Police Complaints Commission, and the Military Grievances External Review Committee claimed to be committed to openness and transparency, and to “ensure that all media are treated with the same attention and respect“ but also alluded to a loophole that “when press conferences are held at the National Press Gallery, all Press Gallery members may address questions to the speaker representing our office.”
Environment and Climate Change Canada media relations claim the ministry strives to be “inclusive and equitable when working with media.”
Rebel News is currently suing Justin Trudeau for blacklisting Rebel News from the Qualified Canadian Journalist Organization distinction, which could result in the forced down-listing of Rebel News in search engine results, including YouTube and Google. The QCJO distinction also allows Rebel News to provide a tax receipt to subscribers. To support our fight for fair treatment under the law and to see our legal filings, please visit WeAreSuingTrudeau.com.
READ THE ORDER PAPER QUESTION RESPONSE HERE: