This fall election in Canada is like nothing we have experienced before. We have a blackface scandal, protestors and supporters clashing, and now we actually have the Prime Minister’s own campaign preventing a journalist from doing his job. The only conceivable reason? He’s from a conservative outlet.
As The Post Millennial reported yesterday, the journalist in question, Andrew Lawton from True North, was denied access to a Trudeau campaign stop despite the fact that he sent an RSVP for the event and is a well-known and respected member of the press.
Lawton confronted the Prime Minister from the crowd: “Why have I been banned from covering your press conference? Why are you banning media, Prime Minister?”
Since yesterday’s debacle, it appears that the Trudeau camp has doubled down, as today Lawton was detained by a Hamilton police officer for 15 minutes and questioned for trying to do his job.
Lawton’s editor Candice Malcolm came to his defence on Twitter:
The Post Millennial reached out to Lawton who said, “this whole chapter has made me question what country I am living in. This is a country that always prided itself on free speech and the free press. And specifically, the Prime Minister who always said that he is embodying the values of transparency and accountability. You can’t be transparent and accountable if you are quite literally picking and choosing who can be media.”
Lawton continued, “I was accredited by the government of Canada for an event two months ago. The federal government and the British government think I’m accredited media; The British courts think I’m accredited media; The Canadian courts think I’m accredited media. But the Liberal Party of Canada says I’m not. ”
On the topic of his fellow journalists’ silence, Lawton added, “I’ve had no interactions from any reporters on the tour. I’ve had no support from them. They may or may not know the depths of what’s happening. This is a big issue. If we allow the government or the Liberals to start to pick and choose one or two people who aren’t allowed to cover, then their rights are at peril too, they’re just not aware of it.”
Despite being blocked, detained, and questioned, Lawton plans to continue covering the Liberal campaign.
As we wrote yesterday, the Liberal government is currently planning to distribute $600 million to the struggling establishment media. Media labelled as “Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations” by the government will qualify. This massive media bailout appears to be just the beginning of an attempt for the government to manipulate and control the press.
Not only has Prime Minister Trudeau made it clear what kind of journalism he prefers, but also which journalists he and his team seem willing to punish for holding the wrong views.