One of the principal responsibilities of journalists, particularly during elections, is to hold politicians accountable with tough, but fair, questions. Reading and understanding the policies and platforms of parties is vital to a voter making their decision on election day. But a politician’s capacity to answer challenging questions from real journalists on the fly is often the only chance folks might have to gauge the candidate’s character.
With so many media outlets receiving massive subsidies from government funding, it is hard to deny that the quality, substance, and impartiality of journalistic inquiry is on the decline in Canada. Watching the question period of the federal leaders’ debates further evidenced this. Not only did Rebel News need a federal court judge to overrule Trudeau’s handpicked debate commission to insist that we be allowed in the debate, but when we were allowed in, Trudeau demonized us instead of answering questions and Jagmeet Singh couldn’t even be bothered to answer us. Apparently, they feel their judgement is superior to that of a federal court judge. Meanwhile, journalists wasted valuable time during the question period by lobbing softball questions that amounted to “how are you feeling,” instead of engaging in real journalism.
On the other end of the spectrum, we are seeing increasingly popular parties like the People’s Party of Canada and the Maverick Party, and even independent candidates like Derek Sloan, who are happy to speak with us, even though we ask them tough questions too.
So what about the Conservative Party of Canada? Unfortunately, it has been a mixed bag. It seems apparent that an element within the CPC is so obsessed with poll chasing that they are happy to abandon their base if it means they might gain a per cent or two on the Liberals. Certain party agents have gone out of their way to exclude Rebel News from events, while others simply refuse to return calls. Erin O’Toole said very little about Western Canada in the leaders’ debates. The stronghold of conservatism in Canada seems abandoned by the very party it helped build.
Are there any authentic conservatives left in the Conservative Party of Canada? Any folks willing to answer tough questions? Any candidates who are not ashamed to support the West?
Well, we found at least one.
We showed up at the campaign office of Tom Kmiec, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard, hoping he might be willing to answer some of those tough but fair questions. He answered the door sporting an ‘I Love Canadian Oil & Gas’ shirt and unflinchingly agreed to an interview. I told him I had a lot to get into given that many of his colleagues had been dodging us, he said, “let me have it.”
It was refreshing to have a candidate for political office from a major party answering questions and being accountable to their potential voters, instead of hiding behind closed doors and office staff.
If you are sick of reporters lobbing softballs and you would like to support our tough but fair journalism, you can chip in at RealReporters.ca.