Harper snubs Press Gallery
dinner [http://www.PoliticsWatch.com Updated 2:30 p.m., September
|Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the 2004
Press Gallery Dinner.
OTTAWA — The
prime minister has snubbed the media again.
In the latest development in the battle between the Prime
Minister's Office and the Parliamentary Press Gallery, Prime
Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Wednesday he will not
attend the annual Press Gallery dinner.
"The prime minister will be unable to attend the upcoming Press
Gallery Dinner," Sandra Buckler, Harper's director of
communications, said in a brief e-mail to Press Gallery president Richard
Just hours after the PMO cancelled, Governor General Michaelle
Jean's office also informed the Press Gallery executive she will
not attend the dinner.
The prime minister's decision not to attend the annual event where
journalists and politicians listen to the party leaders and the
Governor General deliver comedic speeches comes as no
Relations between the prime minister and the Parliament Hill media
have been rocky since the Conservatives took power in February
The Press Gallery has written numerous letters protesting the PMO's
control of the prime minister's press conference, which requires
reporters to submit their names to a member of Harper's staff
before asking questions. A number of major outlets boycott the PM's
so-called "list" and do not ask questions at Harper's
In August, the Prime Minister's Office ordered RCMP officers
to evict reporters from the lobby of a Charlottetown, PEI, hotel
where Conservative MPs were holding their summer caucus
Harper is not the first recent prime minister to have a hostile
relationship with the Press Gallery.
In his recent book Memoirs 1939 to 1993, former prime
minister Brian Mulroney writes in great detail about his
battle with the Press Gallery.
Mulroney's account reads almost like a playbook for Harper's current
strategy with the media, including his decision not to hold regular
press conferences in the National Press Theatre.
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