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RCMP Restrain Reporter From Asking "Un-Qualified Question"


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http://www.cbc.ca/ne...cmp-tussle.html

A Chinese reporter was hauled away by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s RCMP security detail Friday after he grabbed a microphone and tried to ask Harper a question during a news conference at a mine in northern Quebec.

The reporter had just been involved in a brief physical altercation with Harper’s press secretary, Julie Vaux, as he waited in line to ask his question.

Li Xue Jiang, Canadian bureau chief for the Chinese People's Daily, is one of 10 reporters travelling with Harper on his tour of the North this week.

The tussle came on the last stop of a six-day trip that featured some frayed nerves and sharp words between reporters and members of the Prime Minister’s Office, but was generally seen as relatively smooth considering its length and the rough nature of the travel.

Video of Friday’s incident shows Li brushing Vaux's hand away, and then later shoving her.

A few minutes later, Li grabbed a microphone being operated by a member of the Privy Council Office. After a brief tug on the mic, three members of the RCMP team assigned to protect the prime minister grabbed Li and hauled him to the back of the room. He was only briefly detained.

Li says Vaux pushed him first and was trying to get him to step out of line.

mi-460-li-04899369.jpgAn RCMP officer looks on as Li argues with Julie Vaux, press secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

"The Prime Minister's Office shouldn't deprive my right. It's not democratic," Li said later.

The prime minister's director of communications, Andrew MacDougall, responded to the incident on Twitter.

"Agree or disagree with how events are run, there was no excuse for the Chinese state reporter to get physical with our staff," he wrote. "We will be raising the matter with the [parliamentary] press gallery and Mr. Li should apologize immediately."

The press gallery is the organization that represents journalists who work in Ottawa covering politics and Parliament Hill. Li is a member of the gallery.

Li refused to apologize Friday and said the prime minister’s office should apologize to him: "Why should I apologize? They should apologize to me for being unfair and depriving me of my right to ask a question."

Canadian media offered up slot

As is now common practice at Harper news conferences, the number of question are decided by the prime minister’s staff and announced to members of the media, who determine by consensus which issues need to be addressed and which reporters are best to pose them.

Political reporters have long complained about the practice, but Harper’s office for years has refused to do things any other way.

On this trip, the prime minister’s deputy director of communications, Stephen Lecce, changed the established practice and instead alternated which reporters he would call upon — one group the first day, the remainder the next.

The two Chinese-language reporters on the trip did not ask for questions until today.

In advance of Harper’s news conference at Raglan Mine, reporters were told they would get either four or five questions. On this trip, the fifth question has gone to a reporter from the local media.

In the absence of a local reporter, reporters agreed the fifth question should go to Li. He wanted to ask about foreign investment in Canada's natural resources sector.

But Lecce said in the absence of a local reporter there would be only four questions allocated, though he offered to see if a fifth would be allowed.

Amongst themselves, the travelling media agreed Li should have a chance to quiz the prime minister on a topic that mattered to his readers and would provide the rest of the reporters with potentially useful material.

“I wanted to clarify the federal government policy and the regulations toward foreign state-owned company investment,” Li said later.

The other media members offered to dump one of their questions so Li could ask his.

At first it seemed that plan would be acceptable. In fact, Li said Lecce asked him his name in order to add it to his list.

In the end, Lecce stuck to four questions in the alternating format and refused to allow Li to occupy a slot voluntarily vacated by a Canadian reporter.

'Unfair, unfair'

The first sign of trouble arrived before the news conference even began, when Li was heard speaking to Lecce and saying, “It’s unfair. Not fair.”

Later, Li was seen stomping toward Lecce and having another animated conversation.

As the CBC was called on to ask a question on Syria, press secretary Julie Vaux spoke to the Privy Council Office audio technician who operates the media microphone.

Vaux then started whispering to Li in the media line and Li was heard again saying, "unfair, unfair."

The video reveals that Vaux was talking to Li and perhaps touching him. Li is seen responding angrily and pushing Vaux. He then turns his attention from her and, as she tries to talk with him, he shoves her again.

"She asked me to give up this question to your Canadian journalist," Li said later, adding he told Vaux it was his last chance on the trip to ask a question.

"I didn't agree to give up. So I am in the line, and ready to ask a question and she grabbed me several times, so that's why I pushed her," Li said.

Following the CBC's question, Lecce called another reporter to the mic. At that point, Li tried to grab the microphone from the technician, "to ask a question," he said.

Three RCMP officers were nearby and grabbed him.

The highly trained unit is deployed wherever the prime minister goes and travels with him in order to protect him, though it is unclear what risk, if any, they believed Li posed.

-------------------------------------

After reading into this a shade more, it turns out Mr. Li has been asking Mr. Harper about potentially opening the doors to Chinese TFW's onto the oilsands as part of the Chinese Free Trade Agreement which goes directly against what Mr Harper has been saying.

He was removed because he was going to ask an "unqualified" question one parliamentarian reporter was quoted as saying.

Is this really what we've come to as a country??

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This man was given the local reporters spot in absentia, he was then given a further spot. Because he ahd an unscripted un qualified question as per some reports he was not allowed. His question pertains apparently to allowing a flood of entrant TFW's into the country to work the newly purchased NEXEN lands in Alberta which will not only offend Alberta but also the Conservative parties largest and safest voting bloq

Knowing this apparently the PMO's staff on hand did everything in their power to disallow Mr. Jiang to speak.

This is unreal, both because of the censoring in a country reportedly free and run by an "open honest and transparent party" But also because this will possibly throw tens of thousands of Canadians out of work if the FIPA/Chinese Canada trade agreement goes through. As there will be nothing anyone can do about it because China and CNOOC will have more unilateral power in Canada than Canadians or even the provinces in question.

Scary stuff eh kids?

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He was restrained because he was acting erratically and trying to force he way through to the microphone.

I'm not going to speak to the politics of his question, but title led me to believe he was taken down for saying the wrong thing, which is not what happened.

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He was restrained because he was acting erratically and trying to force he way through to the microphone.

I'm not going to speak to the politics of his question, but title led me to believe he was taken down for saying the wrong thing, which is not what happened.

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This man was given the local reporters spot in absentia, he was then given a further spot.  Because he ahd an unscripted un qualified question as per some reports he was not allowed.  His question pertains apparently to allowing a flood of entrant TFW's into the country to work the newly purchased NEXEN lands in Alberta which will not only offend Alberta but also the Conservative parties largest and safest voting bloq

Knowing this apparently the PMO's staff on hand did everything in their power to disallow Mr. Jiang to speak.

This is unreal, both because of the censoring in a country reportedly free and run by an "open honest and transparent party"  But also because this will possibly throw tens of thousands of Canadians out of work if the FIPA/Chinese Canada trade agreement goes through.  As there will be nothing anyone can do about it because China and CNOOC will have more unilateral power in Canada than Canadians or even the provinces in question.

Scary stuff eh kids?

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Ten media representatives and one of them is from Chinese state media?

I would imagine with only Ten media representatives one should be from the UK, one from the States, and the other eight spread out from various provinces and Territories.

If he wants to ask a question, it should go through the Embassy.

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He was restrained because he was acting erratically and trying to force he way through to the microphone.

I'm not going to speak to the politics of his question, but title led me to believe he was taken down for saying the wrong thing, which is not what happened.

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Just to add a little more back story, this isn't just some ordinary reporter being shunned.... it's a reporter from the "People's Daily", a mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China. He just wanted to create a ruckus because China (their sovereign wealth fund) thought they bought Nexen and was rejected by Harper. Many were blasting Stephen Harper for not stepping in when China wanted to do the takeover, and after he blocked the sale, the same people were still blasting him.

All in all, a press conference were a specific amount and types of questions are to be asked.... nothing really unusual about it. There are plenty of other avenues to do it and especially without resorting to violence unlike this reporter.

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