The Trudeau government spent more than $130,000 of taxpayer money in legal fees in an attempt to ban the publications Rebel News and True North Centre from federal election debates, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
The government’s blacklist failed due to a successful court injunction granting journalists from The Rebel and True North access to scrums after the official leadership debates. A federal judge described the government’s actions as “troubling” and “unreasonable.” The Liberal government spent $131,281 on the blacklist.
Micheal Chong, the Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton Hills in Ontario, stated, “On principle, media outlets such as True North Centre for Public Policy and Rebel News Network should have been accredited to cover these debates … I don’t think we want to get into the business of the government … deciding which media should be accredited or not.”
During the recent election, the commission that ran the debates only rejected five out of some 200 applicants. All of these bans appeared to have come from either Rebel News or True North Centre. Meanwhile, state-funded foreign media were accredited by the government without a problem.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Andrew Lawton (who was one of the journalists the Federal Government attempted to ban) said that “instead of admitting they made a mistake by not accrediting us, the government spent six figures fighting against our press freedoms in court.”
“Even since the election, the Leaders’ Debates Commission has maintained it had the right to arbitrarily decide which journalists get to cover the debates and which ones don’t. It was wrong then and it’s still wrong,” Lawton added.
After the federal government initially had their request rejected, they again decided to launch an appeal so to ban the publications.