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Monday, February 15, 2016

Alberta's NDP seeking to muzzle opposing journalists

Outrageous is an overused word in politics, but this is truly outrageous.

Former Sun Media columnist and Sun News Network host Ezra Levant’s new online news site, The Rebel (therebel.media), has become one of Albertans’ top Internet sources of reporting and commentary in just its first year in operation.

So how come Rachel Notley’s NDP government is doing its best to censor Levant and his reporters?

If I hadn’t read for myself the letters back and forth between the Rebel’s lawyer and the government, I wouldn’t have believed even the NDP were capable of such anti-free speech behaviour.

Back in late January when it was announcing the results of its royalty review, the NDP held a closed-door technical briefing (a “lock-up”) where government experts explained the details to journalists.

When Rebel contributor Sheila Gunn Reid showed up for the briefing, she was turned away. The event was for “accredited media only.”

Now Reid never went to journalism school. (Neither did I.) And she has never worked in a formal newsroom. But she used to be part of the Corus radio network’s Hockey Moms panel that regularly debated government involvement in family issues and her new book was the #1 bestseller on Amazon.ca most of last week. It’s now sold out.

If that doesn’t make Reid a journalist, I’m not sure what does.

The NDP government doesn’t question the legitimacy (nor should it) of online lefty journalists such as David Climenhaga of the NDP-friendly rabble.ca or Dave Cournoyer, a communications advisor for the United Nurses of Alberta, whose daveberta.ca blog is a must-read on Edmonton and Alberta politics.

So why single out Reid?

It couldn’t be, could it, that Reid’s bestseller is entitled The Destroyers: Rachel Notley and the NDP's War on Alberta, or that Reid and her boss (Levant) were among the first journalists to out the radical, out-of-province pasts of many senior political staffers in the NDP government?

But it gets worse...

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