Not one Conservative candidate from British Columbia granted the Ottawa Citizen an interview when the paper conducted an informal survey aimed at gauging how hostile the party is to media.
“Only 14 Conservatives seeking election across the country responded favourably to requests for interviews made by the Citizen to determine whether the party has truly clamped down on candidates’ availability to the media,” reads an August 31 story by national affairs journalist Glen McGregor.
His report notes that it does not appear a blanket policy banning interviews is in effect. McGregor wrote a few candidates did grant interviews while others had staff reply with questions about the nature of any potential interview.
But none of those candidates were from British Columbia.
Three Conservative candidates from B.C. did not grant interviews but did at least respond to the Citizen’s queries. For example, Laura Smith, who is running to represent North Island—Powell River, asked that questions be provided in advance.
“Would appreciate a list of the specific questions you intend to discuss,” wrote a staffer from Smith’s office. McGregor subsequently refused to supply questions (a policy shared by the Georgia Straight and many other media outlets). He was then referred to another Conservative staffer instead of being connected with the candidate.
Ed Fast (Abbotsford) and Tim Laidler (Coquitlam) also appear on the Citizen’s list of candidates who replied with a request for more information. Dianne Watts (South Surrey) is described as acknowledging the interview request but then failing to actually grant an interview.
Here’s the list of Conservative candidates whose offices did not respond at all:
Mike Little — Burnaby North—Seymour
Grace Seear — Burnaby South
Todd Doherty — Cariboo—Prince George
Dan Albas — Central Okanagan — Similkameen—Nicola
Mark Strahl — Chilliwack—Hope
Douglas Horne — Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam
John Duncan — Courtenay—Alberni
Kerry-Lynne Findlay — Delta
Shari Lukens — Esquimalt — Saanich—Sooke
Nina Grewal — Fleetwood — Port Kells
Cathy McLeod — Kamloops — Thompson—Cariboo
Ron Cannan — Kelowna—Lake Country
David Wilks — Kootenay—Columbia
Mark Warawa — Langley—Aldergrove
Brad Vis — Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon
Mark MacDonald — Nanaimo—Ladysmith
Chloe Ellis — New Westminster—Burnaby
Mel Arnold — North Okanagan—Shuswap
Andrew Saxton — North Vancouver
Mike Murray — Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge
Bob Zimmer — Prince George — Peace River—Northern Rockies
Alice Wong — Richmond Centre
Robert Boyd — Saanich — Gulf Islands
Tyler Nesbitt — Skeena — Bulkley Valley
Marshall Neufeld — South Okanagan—West Kootenay
Kenny Chiu — Steveston—Richmond East
Sucha Thind — Surrey Centre
Harpreet Singh — Surrey—Newton
James Low — Vancouver East
Erinn Broshko — Vancouver Granville
Jojo Quimpo — Vancouver Kingsway
Blair Lockhart — Vancouver Quadra
Wai Young — Vancouver South
John Rizzuti — Victoria
John Weston — West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country
Out of 318 requests sent by the Ottawa Citizen, perhaps the most telling response came from the office of Chungsen Leung, who is running for re-election in Willowdale, Ontario.
“I can’t see how you can help me get more votes,” a staffer wrote.