The Liberal Government under Justin Trudeau is either wildly inept, trying to hide something or (very likely) a fair amount of both. Attempting to cover their events as independent journalists is an absurdly challenging feat. Trudeau’s admiration for China’s basic dictatorship clearly extends to his treatment of media.
Whether it be the manhandling of our own Drea Humphrey or David Menzies who were attempting to do nothing nothing more than ask a few tough but fair questions of politicians, aka journalism, or Justin’s top secret event locations' back door exits across the country, as I witnessed first hand last year in Calgary. "Sunny ways" have set, and the public face of the Liberal Party of Canada is immersed in a dusk of banana republic tactics, state-controlled messaging and anything but the transparency you’d hope to find in a free and democratic state.
The access of non-state-funded media to politicians and their capacity to ask questions and hold them accountable is a staple of free societies and based on the evidence, that staple is growing scarce in Trudeau’s Canada.
Justin Trudeau’s has repeatedly tried and failed to exclude us from federal leader’s debates and then he refused to answer our questions despite the Federal Court of Canada ruling that we were indeed journalists and we were entitled to attend and ask them.
After failing to exclude us from the leaders' debates, Trudeau’s government also recently scrutinized 276 of our reports over the course of a year and determined laughably that less than 1% of that content was considered original news content. They then proceeded to declare that we are not a ‘Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization’ or ‘QCJO’, a title which amounts to an undemocratic journalism licence and punishes independent media both in terms of access to politicians and under the Income Tax Act. You can read more about this troubling development and how we are suing Trudeau to fight back at WereSuingTrudeau.com.
The dodging of real questions from real journalists has become pervasive among politicians in Canada generally, but it certainly seems worse amidst the Liberal Party ranks.
Last week Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Calgary and in typical fashion, details of her arrival and stop locations were not made widely available. By the morning of her arrival when we finally had some details available, again in unsurprising fashion, most of the media access was reserved to small pre-approved pool media. While pool media, which involves a few approved journalists capturing content and then sharing it, does make sense in some circumstances, say a few media joining a politician on an airplane or a situation with security screening, the Liberals have been employing pool media as a mechanism to allow only friendly and non-critical journalists to access elected officials.
One portion of the day was scheduled as open media availability, but the location was not disclosed. When we finally reached someone on the team to confirm the location, not only would they not disclose where Freeland would be speaking, they also insisted that the schedule was wrong and that none of her visit was available open to media.
Ultimately, this boils down to accountability. Part of the job of a politician is, well, serving the public and being accountable, but these Liberals are taking ivory tower elitism and isolation to a different level altogether. Fortunately, with their popularity slipping and their resulting increased dependence on the often volatile NDP, their lack of reverence towards voting Canadians and real journalism may spell their political demise come the next election.
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