It's Time For Stephen Harper To Stop Acting Like A 'Freakin' Dictator - UPDATED!!
Journalist under fire for asking question of prime minister
By The Canadian Press — CP — Oct 2 2013By Terry Pedwell - OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's office appears poised to prevent a veteran TV cameraman from travelling with the prime minister this week because he asked an impromptu question at a media event.
The TV networks are fighting back, insisting that they, not the Prime Minister's Office, should decide who to assign to cover Harper when he travels abroad.
CTV journalist Dave Ellis asked Harper for a comment last week about charges laid against then-Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro.
Harper was at a roundtable with a group of businesspeople in New York City, and had not taken any questions from media travelling with him over two days.
Prior to the event, reporters and photographers were told they were not to ask questions of the prime minister.
Harper is set to leave Thursday morning for a seven-day trip to Malaysia and Indonesia, and CTV had Ellis accredited to work on the assignment as a pool cameraman.
But following Ellis's New York assignment, CTV says it was told by the PMO that Ellis would not be allowed on Harper's plane, even though he had earlier been approved for the trip.
CTV News spokesman Matthew Garrow said Wednesday the network has nevertheless decided to send Ellis to the Ottawa airport to try to board the prime minister's plane with other journalists, and that other networks are backing that decision.
"Dave will be at the airport, and we'll see what happens from there," Garrow said.
All media pay full price for their transportation and lodging when travelling with the prime minister.
A spokesman for the prime minister said CTV will be allowed to travel with Harper, but would not say specifically whether Ellis will be turned away, despite repeated requests for clarification.
"No accredited Canadian media outlet is prevented from joining us for the upcoming trip to the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit," said Jason MacDonald in an email.
"To suggest otherwise is absolutely false."
Other network members of the travelling TV pool have indicated they support the CTV decision to send a cameraman who may be turned away.
"To us, it's a very slippery slope to let the prime minister decide who gets on that plane and who doesn't," said one member of the pool who didn't want to be identified.
"That's why we are comfortable with CTV insisting that Dave gets to go. It's a question of principle."
PMO backs down ..