Sun Media and Sun News Network did not boycott the PM’s speech. While I, along with other reporters, was denied entry to the caucus room where Harper spoke, TV camera operators and one pool reporter were permitted by the PMO to attend and film his speech. Some news organizations found those conditions unacceptable and decided that if all reporters could not attend (as has been the usual practice) then no camera operators from CBC, CTV, Global and other networks would attend, neither would a pool reporter, and they would simply not cover his morning speech.
I firmly believe that every news organization should always do what it believes is best for its viewers and readers but, as we decided our viewers and readers were best served by trying to cover the PM’s speech, our camera operator recorded the speech (and we broadcast it) even though I could not be in the room to watch it. And so, in the end, one camera — ours — and no reporter, not even a pool reporter, saw the speech.
One other reason I preferred to avoid participating in a boycott was because I believed the PMO was looking to pick a fight with the Parliamentary Press Gallery to help with fundraising and to rally the Conservative base. In my view, it’s probably not a helpful thing for a group of journalists to be any party’s fundraising foil. Make no mistake: The PMO picked this fight. But I, for one, would rather find other ways to fight for more access and transparency than provide a politician with an excuse to mobilize a political party’s base.
And sure enough, this evening, the Conservative Party of Canada is out raising money for re-election thanks to the Parliamentary Press Gallery. I’m certain you can expect more letters like this:
You won’t believe what the Press Gallery just did in Ottawa.
Some media decided to boycott an important speech by our Prime Minister – one where he laid out his vision for our country, before today’s Speech from the Throne.
Rather than send cameras to cover the Prime Minister’s speech, they attended the NDP’s meeting, and were welcomed with cheers and applause. We knew they wouldn’t give us fair coverage – but this is a new low for the Ottawa media elite.
Since you won’t see this speech on the evening news, we’ve updated our website with video from our Prime Minister’s speech:
Director, Political Operations
Conservative Party of Canada