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HomeWorldConservative MPs are calling for freelance journalists to be booted from the...

Conservative MPs are calling for freelance journalists to be booted from the press gallery after a tweetNews WAALI

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Conservative MPs are calling for the removal of a freelance reporter from the parliamentary press gallery after he tweeted a comment they said risked provoking violence against politicians.

The issue arose from a moment during Wednesday’s Question Time when Conservative MP Garnett Genuis quoted the band Queen as asking a question about inflation. The Queen reference was a dig at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which was spotted To sing Bohemian Rhapsody with members of the Canadian delegation last weekend before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

Dale Smith, a freelance member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, then tweeted: “Genuis is trying to include lyrics from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in his question and I can’t adequately tell you how lame it is. When horses are that lame, they shoot them.”

Genuis rose on a question of privileges in the House of Commons on Thursday morning. He called Smith’s comments “threatening” and beyond the bounds of normal political discourse.

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“In the current climate, we should all be aware of the risks associated with explicitly inciting violence against public officials,” the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan congressman said.

Freelance journalist Dale Smith sent out this September 21, 2022 tweet, which Conservative MP Garnett Genuis called “menacing.” (Dale Smith/Twitter Screenshot)

“Some would say he’s joking, but the problem with so-called jokes that imply threats against officials is that as the target of those comments, [am] Somehow, you’re supposed to understand and be okay with a threat based on someone’s presumed intentions. And I just don’t agree with that.”

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Genuis said Smith’s press gallery accreditation gives him access to the West Block halls. He asked the gallery to revoke these privileges.

“This current reality of access impacts my ability to perform my functions as a member,” Genuis said.

He was supported by Conservative MP Raquel Dancho, the party’s public safety critic, and Conservative House Speaker Andrew Scheer in urging the Speaker to consider suspending Smith’s privileges pending an investigation into it whether it should be permanently removed from the gallery.

Assistant Deputy Spokesperson Carol Hughes said the spokesman would look into the matter and come back with an answer.

Smith says he owes ‘no apologies’

in the a blog post On Thursday morning, Smith called the tweet an “unoriginal joke” and denied that he had implied Genuis should be shot.

“I haven’t done anything of the sort and I don’t owe him an apology. If anything, he owes everyone an apology for exposing us to his attempt at being clever with the lyrics of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,'” he wrote.

Smith then accused the Conservatives of playing “the game of intimidation”.

“If you are critical of someone on your team, although you are critical of every team, explain that you are biased,” he wrote.

“They howl and moan in hopes that you’ll either apologize or back off, and then they know you’re weak and they can silence you through those kinds of tactics.”

Arriving Thursday afternoon, Smith said he was waiting to speak to the president of the press box before commenting further.

The back and forth comes as reporters — particularly journalists of color — report an increase in harassment and abuse.

For weeks, several journalists have publicly shared a series of emails they have received containing specific, targeted and disturbing threats of violence and sexual assault, as well as racist and misogynist language.

Politicians have also come under fire in recent years. MPs from both sides of the aisle condemned an incident last month in which Alberta Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was loudly accosted by a man who repeatedly yelled obscenities at her and called her a traitor.

Last month, Trudeau called on political leaders to condemn aggression and intimidation directed at politicians and warned that Canada may be forced to “rethink” the way elected officials and the public can safely interact.

“We need to be able to have that connection, which we’ve always been proud of [on]that Canadians are able to be close to those they represent,” Trudeau told reporters outside Rideau Hall.

“But the aggressive, bullying, hate tactics of a small number of people are causing us to reconsider the freedoms we had as parliamentarians.”

CLOCK | Journalists of color say death threats are part of a coordinated effort to silence them:

Journalists of color say death threats are part of a coordinated effort to silence them

Several women journalists of color speak out about the escalation of racist and sexually violent death threats they have received. They say it’s a coordinated and focused effort to silence them and the police aren’t doing enough.

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