Letter – Reader claims Record is giving sitting MP unfair news coverage

Dear editor,

Re: Courtenay-Alberni MP says plastics ban is about ‘getting away from the disposable culture’ (Aug. 29, 2019)

I expect my local newspaper to provide coverage of ALL the campaigns in this election. As a voter, as a member of this community, it is unacceptable to me that the only local newspaper is playing partisan politics with the coverage it provides.

The subject of this article is important: reducing the amount of single-use plastics we use. However, the headline and the article profile Courtenay-Alberni incumbent MP Gord Johns, who is, of course, campaigning to retain his seat on October 21.

The article is about the use of single-use plastics in communities, and so the obvious choice of spokesperson would have been a municipal official. As a federal politician, Johns is not the appropriate person to highlight.

And yet, the Record gave him a lot of space on page A4 of the paper. Why is that? Johns is not in Ottawa, Parliament is not in session, this is not an issue being debated in Parliament. Rather, this seems to be a blatant attempt to give Johns, the NDP candidate, exposure in the paper without his campaign having to pay for it. If this is the case, it violates Elections Canada laws.

Sean Wood, the Green Party candidate for Courtenay-Alberni, has undertaken a ride across the riding on an E-bike. A press release to that effect was submitted to the Record, but the response was that the Green Party would have to pay for this as an ad, rather than reporting it as news. And yet here is Johns, with a “news” article on a municipal subject.

I wish the Record would provide readers with coverage of all the candidates in this election campaign. Given the climate crisis and the consequences it will have for citizens, voters need to know what ALL the candidates have to say on issues that concern us all.

Megan Ardyche,

Comox

EDITOR’S NOTE: Until the writ has been dropped (it had not yet been dropped by the time this issue went to press), Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney are still working for the Comox Valley constituents and as such are considered voices of authority on issues pertaining to communities within their respective constituencies.

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