Is it within the RCMP’s mandate to stop the media from doing its job?
That’s the question asked in a Canadian Press feature, with a news hook about Tory candidate Dona Cadman being whisked away from reporters. The story reported that police manhandled one reporter to stop her following Cadman.
“Mounties protecting Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a campaign event in Surrey, B.C., were used Tuesday evening to stop reporters from approaching a high-profile Tory candidate,” said the story. “Keep them out,” Harper aide Ray Novak shouted at the RCMP security detail as journalists approached Dona Cadman….CTV’s Rosemary Thompson was literally yanked aside by one Mountie as she approached the retreating group – which did not include the prime minister.”
“Many on Parliament Hill believe the PMO’s use of RCMP security to thwart reporters has increased under a Harper government that is obsessed with communications control,” wrote CP reporter Bruce Cheadle. He included background on previous cases where the RCMP crossed the line — including “the most infamous case of RCMP deploying its resources for essentially communications reasons came under the watch of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien at the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver.”
Another question: How does the RCMP brass expect to improve its terrible relations with media — and arguably increasing public distrust — if the force behaves as any politician’s handmaiden?