Alberta's UCP government accused their NDP counterparts Monday of hypocrisy after they barred several media outlets, including Rebel News, from a Monday presser in downtown Calgary.
"Rachel Notley is a hypocrite," said Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides. The NDP has barred several media outlets from participating at their press conferences…because Rachel Notley doesn't support his outlet."
"I think all Albertans can see Rachel Notley's hypocrisy on full display here, with the NDP's history of silencing and hand-picking favourable journalists," he said.
Security at the Telus Convention Centre booted Rebel News reporter Alex Dhaliwal on Monday after informing them he could not attend the presser. The guard said, "The person that rented the space [did not permit it]," but did not elaborate further.
Dhaliwal intended to ask questions about the anti-police rhetoric from NDP MLAs and candidates slated to represent the party in the upcoming provincial election. "Some of their comments are considered incredibly inflammatory given that across Canada, we have seen a rise in violent crime, particularly stabbings and shootings," he observed after the presser ended.
Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis said Notley and the NDP have "zero credibility" when tackling crime and keeping Albertans safe.
"For years, the NDP has been advocating defunding the police, insulting law enforcement with hateful comments, and championing extreme leftist policies that would flood our streets with taxpayer-funded drugs," said Ellis. "This is what the NDP truly supports."
In October 2021, the NDP MLA Rod Loyola said an Edmonton police badge "gives you the right to beat up citizens and not have to face criminal charges."
In June 2020, Calgary-Bow candidate Druh Farrell wondered about domestic abuse within police families after watching videos of officers assaulting non-Caucasians.
"There's some sick rage there," said Farrell. "I bet it goes home with them, and the outcome goes largely unreported."
Both tweets have since been deleted.
The removal of two journalists, including Keean Bexte from Counter Signal, comes days after NDP Leader Rachel Notley pushed back against Alberta Premier Danielle Smith for limiting the media to one question each at her pressers.
Alberta's NDP critic for ethics and democracy condemned the premier's policy and demanded an apology in a statement posted to Twitter.
"Journalists are the proxy for the public, and they serve a critical role in Canadian society by questioning elected officials. This kind of attempt to prevent journalists from doing their jobs is dangerous for our democracy," it read.
On Friday, Notley boasted, "Leaders take questions — it's part of the job."
On Sunday, she claimed, "I will be holding a news conference tomorrow…I will take media questions…as I have done for 15 years." However, Notley refused a question from a Western Standard reporter during Monday's presser.
A UCP press release accuses Notley of "attacking reporters who ask questions she doesn't want to answer."
In response to questions from True North about her office's role in the Thomas Dang hacking scandal, Notley's communications director said, "We don't have dealings with True North." Notley also removed the Western Standard from her press release distribution list.
"Rachel Notley often says one thing but does another, and this is a prime example," added Nicolaides. "She can't be allowed to hide behind cheap attacks and accusations against all of these outlets.
"This bully behaviour needs to be called out, once and for all. The UCP faces tough questions from the media daily. Notley should do the same," he said.