NDP Leader Rachel Notley must be called out for her gross hypocrisy when she deals with the media, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said on Monday.
Nicolaides said Notley boasted, “leaders take questions – it’s part of the job,” and on Sunday, she claimed “I will be holding a news conference tomorrow … I will take media questions … as I have done for 15 years.”
But Notley claimed on Monday that the Western Standard (WS) is engaging in "very active homophobic, discriminatory, hateful editorial positioning" as it relates to some of her NDP caucus members.
"Your publication recently has been engaging in very active homophobic, discriminatory, hateful editorial positioning as it relates to some of our caucus members," Notley told the Western Standard when being questioned why the publication was removed from her media list.
"And until such time as that is retracted and apology offered. We will not be answering questions. I am happy to reconsider that issue should a retraction and apology be offered. But between now and then I simply cannot engage in any sort of normalization, that kind of conversation. It is a breach of our Human Rights Code. It's a breach of our charter. It's a breach of basic standards. And so I look forward to hearing from your editors in the future."
On Monday, Notley also said: "I want to make it very clear that I'm happy to take any questions from the media and any follow-up questions."
However, she dodged the Western Standard's follow-up question of how come the Alberta NDP has banned the Western Standard from the media list, while other NDP parties in Canada answer its questions and send media advisories.
"I'm happy to take other questions from folks," Notley said avoiding the Western Standard’s question.
"But at the news conference in question, Notley refused a challenging question from one reporter, and had another reporter physically removed, simply because she does not support the outlets they work for," Nicolaides said “Rachel Notley is a hypocrite."
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith tweeted, "Unreal" in response to Monday's video of Notley.
Nicolaides said the Alberta NDP have barred several media outlets from participating at their press conferences, and on Monday they had a journalist physically removed simply because Notley doesn't support his outlet.
"I think all Albertans can see Rachel Notley's hypocrisy on full display here, with the NDP's history of silencing and hand-picking favourable journalists," Nicolaides said.
"Notley has a history of attacking reporters who ask questions she doesn’t want to answer. In response to questions from True North about her office’s role in the Thomas Dang hacking scandal."
Nicolaides said Notley’s communications director said, “we don’t have dealings with True North.”
"Notley removed the Western Standard from her press release distribution list. And Notley had a journalist from the Counter Signal physically removed from an event that was open to media," Nicolaides said.
“Rachel Notley often says one thing but does another, and this is a prime example. She can’t be allowed to hide behind cheap attacks and accusations against all of these outlets."
Nicolaides said "This bully behaviour" needs to be called out, once and for all.
"The UCP face tough questions from media on a daily basis. Notley should do the same," Nicolaides said.