Freedom of the press can be attacked anywhere at any time.
Normally when you read a statement like that, you would think of places like China, Russia or parts of California that allow some freedom of the press but will crack down on it at a moment’s notice. The one place that most Americans would never think that statement would apply to is…
Yeah, that one.
I’m not joking.
The Great White North, the land of Hockey and something called Poutine fries has also become home to some intolerant actions by people who claim to be just peace-loving tolerant souls only trying to get along.
Thanks to a group of Canadian patriots though, it looks like this abhorrent attitude will not be allowed to succeed.
Possibly you recall last month when the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, found himself in a bit of hot water because of his fondness of dressing up in “blackface” almost 20 years ago. Even though back then this was considered acceptable, today’s #WOKE crowd will allow for no acceptions.
This tweet from Time magazine was the beginning of the onslaught for Trudeau.
Exclusive: Justin Trudeau wore brownface at 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ party while he taught at a private school, Canada's Liberal Party admits https://t.co/j3UobfYNIF
— TIME (@TIME) September 18, 2019
Enter Andrew Lawton, who works for a media outlet by the name of True North. Andrew is a seasoned veteran of Canadian politics and has dabbled in the goings-on of some of the crazy stuff that our political system has to offer. I met him a number of years ago at some event somewhere ( I’m 50 now so the memory fades) and he was a fellow podcaster so we had some mutual stories to share.
Long story short, the guy is a solid journalist who pulls no punches.
He also has an impressive resume of interviews because of his easy-going style and an impeccable reputation. Just a couple of the names he has talked with are former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and some guy named…
The same one that was not so woke just a couple years before.
Well, imagine Andrew’s surprise when he applied for credentials to cover Trudeau on the Liberal media tour bus and he was not just given the cold shoulder he was flat out ignored. There is a cost of 8k a week to be on that bus and True North was willing to pay for two weeks to have Andrew on that vehicle right after the blackface controversy.
According to Candice Malcolm, who is the Executive Director of the True North, this is what happened…
We learned that the Liberals were intentionally blocking us from reporting and refusing to acknowledge True North as a media organization or Andrew Lawton as a journalist. They gave us inconsistent and contradicting reasons, and told Andrew that he needed “accreditation” to join the bus.
Here’s the thing, though, there is no institution in Canada that grants accreditation to journalists. It happens on a case by case basis. In this case, it would be the Liberals themselves who would grant accreditation. And they were refusing — because we weren’t accredited.
This is the equivalent of showing up at the DMV to get a driver’s license and them telling you that they can’t give a license because you’re not a licensed driver — even though you’re an experienced driver!
This is happening IN CANADA!?!?!?! Sacre Bleu!!
Why in the hell are Prime Minster Dimples and his party blocking a journalist and his news organization from paying 16,000 Canadian dollars (don’t ask me what that is in U.S. money, been a while since I crossed the border) to ride on the bus and maybe get to ask some questions?
Did he pick that attitude up from summers with Fidel Castro?
Thankfully, that did not stop True North and Lawton from pursuing covering this campaign and the bus.
According to Malcolm, True North was going to have Lawton follow that bus.
I told them we were not giving up, and that Andrew would follow the tour bus until they let him on. I don’t care if we have to spend every last dollar in True North’s budget, I will personally pay for Andrew, if need be, and he will follow the campaign — by car, train, plane, whatever means necessary — to report the other side of the story for Canadians.
Andrew did just that and the Prime Minister had the cops pull him over according to his boss.
That is when the Prime Minister sent the RCMP to detain Andrew and stop him from following the campaign bus. It was completely out of line — something that happens in a dictatorship not a free country like Canada.
I was detained at roadside by a police sergeant, asking why I am “following everybody around.” He pulled me over while I was following the campaign bus, trying to figure out location of next campaign stop. After I explained, I was held for nearly 15 minutes. Who gave this order?
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) September 23, 2019
Lawton, who is well known to his colleagues in the press and the staff working for the Prime Minister, was given the heavy hand of having the Canadian Mounties called on him for doing his job. Even though it was a 15-minute delay it was totally unnecessary and what weak-minded politicians and their campaigns do to try and keep their “messaging” on target.
The last hurdle that Andrew and his group had to face was being barred from a Leadership debate being held last Monday, October 7th, in English. The Leaders’ Debates Commission handles these types of things and Andrew was denied accreditation to attend this event. Thankfully, they filed in court to remedy the situation.
As Andrew says in a post he did about this at andrewlawton.ca
I applied on September 24th for accreditation – one day after the Government of Canada accreditation portal for the debates opened up. I heard nothing until October 4th, which was the last business day before the Monday debate. The rejection was a mere two sentences long. The reasoning was that True North, in the eyes of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, to which accreditation had somehow been outsourced, is “actively involved in advocacy.”
So we did the only thing we could do by filing for an emergency injunction, which was granted after a hearing of less than 90 minutes, in which the presiding judge not only recognized True North and I as producers of journalism, but also accepted that we would be irreparably harmed, as would Rebel, by exclusion from a debate funded by Canadians for the benefit of Canadians.
The judge delivered his finding at about 4:45pm. Within 15 minutes I was in a car on the way to the debate location, where my press credentials were being printed off.
The good peeps won here.
When Andrew finally was able to get close enough to the Prime Minister to ask him a question he took the opportunity to try and find out what in the hell was going on with trying to limit Freedom of the Press with Trudeau campaign banning “certain” journalists.
Andrew’s question was this…
“This afternoon, a federal court judge ruled that I had a right to be here, to cover this debate as a journalist despite opposition from your Attorney General,” I said to Trudeau in the scrum. “This comes after two weeks of me being kicked out or not being allowed into your campaign rallies. The Conservatives have criticized you for being ‘not as advertised.’ You’ve advertised yourself as a champion of press freedom. Will you take a stand right now sir, as the leader of the Liberal party, and allow me to cover your campaign like every other journalist?”
Trudeau gurgled this response.
“We are a party, and we are a country that respects journalistic rights and who respects the freedom of the press and we will continue to,” Trudeau said.
Oh. Just like you respect all indigenous, black and brown people while slopping black shoe polish on your adorable mug? How does one say “Actions speak louder than words” in French?
Aside from the fact that Trudeau seems like a guy who would need to Google how to pull weeds and watch a video on YouTube to do it, I’m still wondering if this is actually his policy? Or is it some of the campaign hard-heads who wanted to make this an issue? This was an incredibly dumb move on Team Trudeau’s part.
Since when do the self-declared intellects fear words and questions?
I asked Andrew what was the reaction of those in the press after he and True North won a huge victory for Freedom of the Press in Canada.
When I eventually got to the debate media room I had a few people congratulate me privately, which I appreciated. Having worked in media for years now I know a lot of these people. Though the public support from the mainstream media was pretty much nonexistent. There was hardly any coverage of it, and even on Twitter there was very little attention given, despite this ruling ultimately protecting the rights of all Canadian journalists.
The media response to this is quite frankly sad and this event should have never happened. When others in the media became aware that one of their own was being blocked they should have spoken up and demanded it be corrected. They should have been strong advocates for the principle of the press not being interfered with within a political campaign. If any of the Canadian press wants to see how it is done here in the states, here is an article about when a CNN Reporter was banned Fox News backs CNN lawsuit over Jim Acosta’s suspended press pass. ALL the other networks joined that lawsuit to protect a competitor. They wanted FREEDOM OF SPEECH to be protected, regardless of their biases.
Thankfully, in the land of Canada today, we have people who are willing to put their reputations, money, and time on the line to make sure that the rights are protected of those getting us the story from the bus, the train or anywhere news might be made affecting you. That is critical for any country to have to be able to thrive and succeed.
Lawton v. Canada is a shining example of how to get it done.
Canada is better for it!!