“We categorically condemn anyone who in any way intimidates and harasses journalists working in defence of the truth.” — Chrystia Freeland on May 3, 2018
The assault of David Menzies at the hands of a member of an RCMP security detail as Mr. Menzies was asking questions to an elected official has a few lessons for citizens of a liberal democracy.
Mr. Menzies, a journalist with Rebel News, was assaulted, detained, and falsely arrested while he attempted to get answers from Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. Mr. Menzies asked why the federal government stubbornly refuses to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps among terrorist organizations.
Mr. Menzies’ question was perfectly appropriate, considering that at the time Ms. Freeland was entering a memorial for victims of Flight PS752—the Ukrainian International Airlines jetliner shut down by the Iranian military in January 2020.
Most fair observers would agree that the RCMP officer went overboard. As former Liberal cabinet minister and former BC Premier Ujjal Dosanjh commented on X, the cop’s conduct was “despicable.”
Whether one dislikes Mr. Menzies or Rebel News is irrelevant. Every citizen who values liberal democracy should stand against the obstruction and malicious attacks of members of the press at the hands of state authority, regardless of their personal views.
According to Rebel News, Mr. Menzies graduated from journalism school, but some like to pretend he is not a journalist. When reporting on the arrest, CBC News labelled Mr. Menzies a “Rebel News personality” rather than acknowledging that he is a journalist and a member of the press. But whether the state broadcaster or the federal government recognizes Mr. Menzies as a journalist or not is inconsequential.
All citizens are entitled to question elected officials, particularly when they don’t answer many questions in the House of Commons.
The argument that Mr. Menzies is “not a journalist” is a red herring.
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