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Help stop Rachel Notley's blacklist of journalists

Sheila Gunn ReidRebel Commentator
UPDATE: Heather Boyd's unacceptable recommendations to Rachel Notley

March 18, 2016

Heather Boyd, the retired journalist hand-picked by Rachel Notley to give her advice about media censorship has issued her report. It’s a 122-page hodgepodge, more than 100 pages of which are Boyd simply cutting and pasting the bylaws of press galleries from other provinces. Boyd was paid $10,000 for eighteen pages of writing.  

UPDATE: Today, Notley’s spin doctor sent out this e-mail to select ...

February 17, 2016

"We’ve heard a lot of feedback from Albertans and media over the course of the last two days and it’s clear we made a mistake. The government has appointed former Western Canadian Bureau Chief for Canadian Press, Heather Boyd to consult and give us recommendations on what the government’s media policies should be. In the meantime, no one will be excluded from government media events."

Rachel Notley is a bully. But now she's gone too far.

She's ordering armed security and the Alberta Department of Justice to crack down on reporters from The Rebel -- physically blocking us from reporting from Government of Alberta events, including the Legislature itself.

Here are the facts:

On January 29th, our Calgary reporter, Holly Nicholas, attended a Government of Alberta briefing about the oil royalty review. Holly checked in with the civil servants running the event, said she was with The Rebel, showed her ID and went in. As usual. But about 90 minutes later, one of Notley’s staff heard Holly was in the briefing. So the premier’s office sent someone in to find her, and kick her out, simply because she was with The Rebel.

Sheila Gunn Reid, our Alberta bureau chief, was also at the royalty review, standing with other journalists, waiting for the press conference. Same thing: when Notley's people heard she was there, they kicked her out too.

These were government events. Non-partisan by nature. Places journalists have every right to be.

On February 3rd, the NDP blacklist went to a whole new level.

Justin Trudeau and Notley had a press conference at the Legislature. Sheila showed up, as she has before. But this time she was told by security she was on a "no go" list – they actually said that. When she asked for an explanation, they called the head of security who ordered her removed -- all while Sheila had her camera rolling  

Security asked Sheila for “accreditation”. But that’s a bogus excuse. We have reported from the Legislature before. And just a day earlier we had checked with the president of the Legislature press gallery, Darcy Henton, who confirmed there is no such thing as accreditation to cover the government of the day, in the building that houses our democracy. Any working journalist is allowed in. Rachel Notley can't pick her favourites here. The Legislature is not her private property. It’s owned by the people, not by the NDP. She's not Hugo Chavez, but she's doing her best impersonation.

We weren't given a real explanation for why we were not allowed to do our jobs like everyone else in the media. We were given a cheap lie.

So we had a senior lawyer in Alberta, Fred Kozak, write a calm, polite letter to the Premier’s office, describing what happened and asking the government to confirm it wouldn’t happen again. We decided to give them a week to reply – a chance to do the right thing. You can see his full letter here:

Well, on Friday, we heard back – from a lawyer with the Department of Justice! It was a two-line letter. Notley's digging in her heels. Reporters at The Rebel -- and anyone even “connected” with us -- are “not journalists and are not entitled to access media lock-ups or other such events.” You can see the letter here:

Notley’s not even pretending it’s anything other than a blacklist. She’s admitting it. And she’s got a lawyer from the Department of Justice enforcing her enemies list now.

The Rebel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But all Albertans are entitled to freedom of the press. Notley is doing things we couldn't imagine even the Redford or Prentice Tories doing. Even they wouldn't throw out reporters for criticizing them. Notley promised us a more transparent and accountable government. But in reality, Notley and her NDP have given us a more closed, more censorious and more belligerent government than ever.

At The Rebel, we value freedom and we fight for free speech. So we are going to fight back. We had hoped our lawyer’s letter might have convinced them to do the right thing – but it didn’t.

So here’s what we going to do now.

First of all, we’re going to keep doing the tough, investigative journalism that we’ve become known for in Alberta. The fact that Notley has blacklisted us confirms we’re doing reporting that needs to be done.

Second, we’re going to ask the public to show Notley that here in Alberta, we support freedom of speech and freedom of the press for everyone. We don’t believe in the government bullying people, just because they have a different opinion. So we’re launching a petition, telling Notley that her enemies list just isn’t acceptable in Alberta.

Third, unfortunately, we have to sue the government. We’re not asking for money. We’re asking for a judge to declare that what Notley is doing is illegal – it violates our constitutional freedom of the press. Notley just can’t run the government like it’s her personal property, where she can bully anyone she doesn’t like.

Unfortunately, fighting for free speech isn’t free – this will cost us thousands of dollars. If you can help chip in to cover our legal costs, please do – you can do that right on this website. Unlike Notley, we don't have tax dollars and government lawyers to fight our battles for free.

Notley’s blacklist sets a dangerous precedent and we can't let it stand. Personal politics are not a valid reason to restrict the lawful activities of any media organization.

You might not agree with the Rebel. You might not appreciate what we do. And that's okay. We live in a society where we are all free to disagree. You don’t have to like us to agree that we have a right to be critical of the government in a free society.

In fact, being free to be critical of the government is essential for a free society.

Tags: Canada, Free, Speech, in, slowly, strangled

Views: 106

Replies to This Discussion

Define the term expert.

It's like Kafka, expert witnesses called in to prove the guilt of an accused. No defence evidence being offered.

Canada is now finished: they passed the anti-Islamic Blasphemy law.

It has been said that: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

But these leftist liberals cannot even learn from the recent past.

Trump is condemned, so the Canadians open their borders. Have they not seen what an open borders policy has done to European countries like Belgium, Germany, Britain and Sweden?

Of course the leaders of these countries and the EU are deying that there is any problem. They learn nothing from history or even events that happened one day ago.

What happens to a nation if all border controls are removed?

What would happen if every country on this planet removed every border restriction tomorrow?

Canada designates Proud Boys a terrorist group  ;

OMG. What has happened to those formerly tough, level headed Canadians?

Antony said:

Canada designates Proud Boys a terrorist group  ;

White guilt, liberalism, internationalism. The false idea that white people owe the world an apology and must humble themselves and pay restitution.

I am white and I am proud and I owe nothing to anyone, except my own ancestors that bequeathed me my culture and rightful inheritance.

Everyone that will give away what is mine, ours, or that demands a share is my enemy. 

I have not given rights to foreign elements nor do I subscribe to the notion that any that enter my homeland deserve any or equal rights.

I have worked for everything that I have and it is I that should decide who my earning should be shared with.

I agree. This idea that we are obliged to share what we have is ridiculous. How about the racist government of South Africa sharing its gold mines with us then? Or the Islamic supremacist countries of Iran and Saudi Arabia sharing their oil with us? Just where does this sharing obligation begin and end? I wish someone would spell it out for us. Oh, wait a minute, they have. If your country is historically white, then you are obliged to share everything, otherwise forget it.

How did we get here Alan, that's what I want to know. How did Western thinking go so wrong, none of it makes any sense.
I do not have the will to analyse and explain it. And anything longer than a type-written A4 page I cannot be bothered to read or write.
Where are the philosophers, intellectuals and academics. Where are the men of courage and honesty that believe in honesty and stating fact, notice I do not say speak the truth. What happened to bravery? It seems everyone is cowering in terror of reality and has retreated into a never never land of destructive wishful thinking.
There are so many that speak with absolute moral certainty and that claim to own the truth, the one true version of the truth. Condemning any that put their own well-being first
We do care but we must first take care of ourselves.

How did we get here Alan, that's what I want to know. How did Western thinking go so wrong, none of it makes any sense.

It's hard to know, but I feel it is like land erosion, it is a gradual process over time, which is not visible at any given moment, but becomes visible after a few years, then suddenly, part of the cliff face collapses into the sea.

So with the Soviet Union for example, over a period of decades, more and more people started to think that the concept was a farce and was worthless. When they could see how much more productive and luxurious even the lowest level of Western society was compared to their own, they gradually just wanted to get out. At the same time, as the forces of the state - the police, army and intelligence spies - found that they were no longer in a highly privileged position, they too lost the motivation to back the system up. At some point, between the pressure of these two forces, it just cracks and gives way. 

The same thing is happening in the West. There are more and more young people growing up rejecting the values which made the West strong like order, rule of law, and patriotism, and indoctrinated into other crazy values like hating whiteness and hating masculinity. Those 'youngsters' are now 40 or more and control the levers of power in many institutions, not just the universities, which were their previous stronghold. Then at some point the system cracks and the cliffs start calving, like the requisition of a major police station and establishment of CHAZ goes on for weeks and is fine, but a disturbance at the capitol with minor damage and a non-violent protesting woman shot, is the excuse for hunting down all patriots in the military. Just grab that latter thought for a minute: it is now a threat to the government if you are in the military and are too patriotic!

Sorry to say but I think it has already gone too far. It's like a submerged wave that has grown in size. There are just so many of this strange new breed of Westerner inclined towards civilisational suicide (whether they know it or not), that I don't think we can stop the wave now. 

I am of the same opinion Alan. I have been a soldier and a teacher so I have experienced the rot in the two institutions. I have seen the teaching that indoctrinates our children in the suicidal anti-culture and I began to question what I was putting my life on the line for and defending, the nation I was patriotic to eroding. "Nationalist" is the new insult word now, as potent as nazi and racist. We used to all be nationalists.
It is, like the USSR, about economics too. We just have to ride the wave and live through it and wait until it collapses financially; then see what replaces it. Unfortunately I will not be around to see as it may take decades.
There is actually nothing we can do, there is a pandemic of insanity and stupidity(ignorance) that we are powerless against. I do intend though to enjoy my life as much as possible, and to continue to engage politically.


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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

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