Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre speaking at a podium.
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre. Credit: Pierre Poilievre / X Credit: Pierre Poilievre / X

For a party whose leader has touted his belief in freedom of expression in the past, certain members of the media have faced bullying tactics and stonewalling at the annual Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) convention which kicked off this week in Quebec City.

Both The Maple and Breach Media have been denied accreditation to cover the event, according to Maple news editor Alex Cosh.

Furthermore, reporter Nora Loreto, who was working on behalf of The Maple to cover the event, says she was harassed by Conservative Party security at the convention and threatened with jail for doing her job.

In an interview with, Loreto said that she had been denied media accreditation and that the party’s director of communications, Sarah Fischer, refused to explain why. She said she was being followed by two individuals at the convention centre, one who turned out to be the CPC head of security.

When Loreto returned to the media desk, she said she was told to leave by the head of security.

“I said, ‘look, like, you’re not gonna be able to stop me from talking to delegates. I’m gonna be interviewing delegates at this convention.’ And he made a big deal about how that’s illegal, and I will go to jail if I try to interview anybody,” Loreto said.

‘Zero respect for freedom of the press’

Cosh called this behaviour by the CPC blatant bullying. Cosh told that even hours after requesting an explanation from Fischer, he still had not received a response.

“It’s a party that evidently has zero respect for freedom of press despite all of its overtures about so-called freedom of speech and all that kind of bluster that their leadership loves to spout all the time,” he said. “These are just empty words and as we’ve seen today, they’re not followed up by uh actions.”

Cosh said despite the CPC’s attempts to block their press freedoms, Loreto was still able to speak with some of the delegates to the convention in the foyer of the convention centre.

“We’re simply just trying to understand what delegates are thinking, how they’re viewing the election,” said Cosh. “And we’re just reporting that clearly and honestly. I really don’t know what they think they have to be afraid of.”

Parties think they can ignore independent media

Cosh said that while this recent example is the worst, there have been instances in the past where Canadian political parties have blocked access to independent media like The Maple or refused to answer their questions.

“I will say we have experienced a general recalcitrance from all major parties to really engage with or answer difficult questions from independent media sources like ours,” Cosh said, giving the example of The Maple’s coverage of the BC NDP leadership race last fall, where the party refused to answer some of their questions about why candidate Anjali Appadurai was disqualified from the race.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP disqualifies Anjali Appadurai from leadership race

Loreto noted that she had received accreditation from the CPC in the past without a problem, and that she does not believe that she has written anything particularly scathing about the party recently. She said that their behaviour this week amounts to little more than harassment and that the party knows it can treat independent media differently and get away with it.

“I think that they know that they can harass certain people and that the establishment is not gonna necessarily come to our defense, which is of course what happened,” Loreto said.

rabble reached out to the CPC for comment on this story, but had not received a response as of time of publication.

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Nick Seebruch

Nick Seebruch has been the editor of since April 2022. He believes that fearless independent journalism is key for the survival of a healthy democracy. An OCNA award-winning journalist, for...