The results of the Alberta Royalty Review Panel are in and, all in all, the panel's findings were anticlimactic. But really, with the oil industry in such poor shape these days, how can you get blood from a stone?
The results were anticlimactic but the press conference was exciting. The Rebel was asked to leave.
Rebel Contributor Holly Nicholas was in the royalty review media lock up since 9 am. She had checked in as media, showed her ID and her press pass and was allowed in.
But things changed when I showed up for the 11 am press conference around 10:30. I was told I would be able to go in at 11 because the reporters inside, Holly included, were under a press embargo until then. Moments later, Holly was asked to leave.
Just to be clear: this was a government of Alberta meeting. Paid for by tax dollars. It wasn't a private NDP party meeting.
Holly had been in the technical briefing for journalists for 90 minutes already, with the full knowledge (and assistance) of the government's civil servants. But then an NDP operative overruled them, and kicked her out.
"Oh you're with the Rebel? You have to leave." Being the polite Canadians we are, we did. Not to be deterred, I went up to where the government was holding the royalty review stakeholders.
I wanted to know who the stakeholders were. I was hoping one might want to talk to me and I was curious who the NDP considered to be stakeholders. For me, stakeholders, are oil and gas companies, land owners, land owners associations and municipalities. But I guess I'll never know.
I went up to the lady watching the door and I identified myself as media. She scurried off to whisper my presence to the other people around, and seconds later a woman stormed up to me.
She told me I had to leave. She said her name was Marcella Munro and she told me that I wasn’t accredited media, I wasn’t going to talk to "her stakeholders", and I had to wait in the lobby downstairs. At least now I know Marcella Munro must have read my book.
I complied. And I regret complying. That’s not like me, but I was caught off guard.
This is a free country and I don’t need the government's permission to be a reporter. Just think about that. The government, in the form of Marcella Munro, an anti pipeline activist from Vancouver who now runs stakeholder relations for the McDougall Centre asked me, an Alberta reporter to leave. For what? For the crime of wrong think?
What is this? Venezuela? Did the socialist fairy godmother finally grant NDP MLA Rod Loyola his wish?
Holly was there all morning without incident. She's an accredited geologist and contributor with The Rebel. What changed? The NDP figured out who we were. And they weren't about to have critical thinkers in that room.
What would the mainstream media have said if Huffington Post or Vice had been kicked out of a Harper event? Could you imagine the mainstream media freak out? And you know what? I would have joined them.
For the NDP, accredited media doesn’t mean real media or even good media. It means friendly media.
And I am no friend to Rachel Notley or the NDP and so I had to wait in the lobby.
I am a professional. I work for a professional news network. We are busier than some of our competitors. The Rebel is legitimate.
We weren't disruptive. We weren't anything except dangerously conservative and that was too much for the NDP. Holly Nicholas and I apparently couldn't be near the NDP with our dangerous thoughts.
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