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CKNW reporter kicked out of Harper campaign rally for asking questions

DH Vancouver Staff Aug 12, 2015 8:39 am

CKNW reporter Shelby Thom was booted from a Stephen Harper campaign rally in Vancouver Tuesday evening after attempting to interview Harper supporters after the event on marijuana legalization.

Prime Minister Harper was speaking to campaign supporters at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond Tuesday evening on topics such as the economy, job creation and the B.C. resource sector. Though he didn’t touch on the marijuana issue, it was a speech earlier in the day where he stated “most Canadians, if you actually ask them, do not want want the full legalization of marijuana,” that had Thom on the subject.


According to a series of tweets by Thom made after the incident, she was interviewing supporters after the speech about marijuana when a event staffer approached her and asked her to follow him. He then led her outside and closed the doors behind her.


Thom later explained to Drex Live on CKNW that she was asking party supporters if they support legalizing cannabis when she was approached by a campaign staffer and was informed the event was over, “insinuating that it was time for me to leave,” Thom said.

“I ignored him. I continued interviewing people in that room… as a journalist I didn’t just want to repeat Harper touting his economic record. I was kind of looking for a story, I was thinking about what he had talked about earlier in the day.”

Within minutes of ignoring the first staffer’s announcement that the event was over, Thom was approached by a second staffer who tried to lead her to a side door.

“I attempted to walk towards the lobby. I didn’t follow him. I was walking in the opposite direction towards the lobby as I was hoping to continue interviewing people on this subject out there. He pointed at me, he said ‘No, come this way’, he once again directed me to that side door. This time I did oblige, he opened the door, I walked out, and he shut the door behind me.”

Thom says she does not know the identity of these staffers or their motivation, but does cite several examples where journalists have been barred or restricted from doing their job during political events.

“I hope that other political parties will learn from this experience … I hope that they do change their policies and if reporters want to ask questions of supporters or anyone during or after an event, you know, freedom of the press. We should have that right. This is a democratic society.”

Listen to Shelby Thom’s full interview on Drex Live below:

DH Vancouver Staff
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