OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 31, 2023 /CNW/ – The below is a letter sent by the CAJ, in tandem with other prominent Canadian press freedom groups, to the Conservative Party of Canada in response to The Breach not being given media accreditation to attend the party’s upcoming convention.

August 31, 2023

Mme. Sarah Fischer
Director of Communications
Conservative Party of Canada
1800-66 Slater Street
Ottawa ON K1P 5H1

Delivered by email

RE: The Breach denied media accreditation for CPC Convention

Dear Mme. Fischer, 

Our consortium of press freedom groups are writing to you today to express our concern that The Breach, a national English-language digital-only news outlet based in Montreal, was denied media accreditation to attend the upcoming Conservative Party Convention in Quebec City. 

We understand that representatives from The Breach have reached out to you and your team to clarify this decision but they have not received a response. Similarly, we have contacted you directly in an attempt to comprehend your rationale in an effort to resolve this dispute. We have not yet received a reply.

Our organizations share the view that Canadian political parties should not be in the business of determining who ‘is’ or ‘is not’ a journalist. We also share the view that all Canadians, regardless of their political leanings or the ways in which they choose to obtain news information and commentary, have a legitimate interest in accessing information about the policy and leadership activities of the Conservative Party of Canada. We, therefore, encourage you to reverse your decision. 

We note that this issue was addressed by the Federal Leaders’ Debates Commission ahead of the 2021 federal election. As you can see from the link enclosed, there are several avenues whereby journalists can be accredited to attend official proceedings and/or scrum federal leaders. 

The Breach may be a fairly new journalism outlet, but it is a federally-incorporated nonprofit organization that employs eight (8) staff and publishes original reporting on issues of national interest. As you may be aware, The Breach published an investigation into pharmaceutical price reforms that sparked a parliamentary probe earlier this year. 

Similarly, the publication’s managing editor, Martin Lukacs, who was looking to attend the CPC Convention is a journalist who has worked for The Guardian (UK) and whose work has also been published by outlets including The Toronto Star, The Walrus, CBC, and others. He is also a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) in good standing. 

We hope this letter will assist you in reversing your decision. As an ensemble of groups committed to the freedom of expression, we thank you for your careful consideration of this request. We look forward to hearing back from you soon. 

We the undersigned,

Brent Jolly, President
Canadian Association of Journalists
Phil Tunley, President
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Grace Westcott, President
PEN Canada
Brandi Schier, Vice-Chair
Press Forward

SOURCE: Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information, please contact:
Brent Jolly, CAJ President, 289-387-3179, brent@caj.ca
Dru Oja Jay, Publisher, The Breach, 438-930-4693, Dru@breachmedia.ca

The Canadian Association of Journalists is the country’s largest professional organization that serves to advance the interests of journalists from coast to coast to coast. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

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