Canada's Parliamentary Press Gallery has issued a stern rebuke to the Canada China Business Council, saying it is “completely displeased” with the way the CCBC handled media access to a luncheon for China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on June 23.
Parliamentary Press Gallery president Helene Buzzetti said in a letter that the CCBC decided “for no apparent reason” to restrict the number of journalists covering the event, including major media outlets such as La Presse and other newspapers, the TVA Television Network, Le Devoir, Sun Media, Reuters, and Bloomberg.
“Apart from the Société Radio-Canada, not a single francophone media group was in attendance. Does the CCBC, ironically founded by Paul Desmarais, need reminding that Canada is a bilingual country?” wrote Buzzetti to CCBC president Peter Harder.
Only a few handpicked media outlets were invited, said the letter. All other media groups that had heard about the event and showed up were turned away at the door.
“It is unacceptable for an organization such as yours for an event as important as the visit of a Chinese minister to assume the right to decide which media are entitled to cover it. This is Canada, a country that upholds freedom of the press. It is up to the media to decide what is worth covering,” said Buzzetti.
The luncheon with Minister Yang was put on by the CCBC at the bequest of the Chinese regime, the organization revealed in a letter sent to members encouraging them to attend.
Christina Spencer, a Parliament Hill reporter for Sun Media who has written articles critical of the communist regime, was turned away when she tried to attend.
The CCBC is an association that includes some of Canada’s largest corporations with business interests in China. The luncheon was to be attended by about 150 of Canada's business leaders.