Mr. Brinkman: We are unable to accept your request to join the Alberta Legislature press gallery. As per our constitution, membership in the gallery is retstricted to those journalists whose principal occupation is reporting, interpreting, editing or analyzing Alberta legislature or provincial government news on a continuing basis who require the use of gallery facilities to fulfil their functions. The legislature is open to members of the public and media.
Response to Mr. Bennett: I don't recognize the authority of your constitution, never seeing a copy, never signing or agreeing to such a document, but I do recognize the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantee's everybody's right to freedom of the press and media.
Citizen Free News Since 2007
Citizen Free News Since 2007
Public gallery by invitation only and reserved for the overflow of the press. I stayed home and watched Joe's speech on-line.
May 1, 2018: Picketing the Alberta Government for a press pass into the press gallery. My 24th day picket I handed out all my hard-copies newsletters on recent news stories published.
June 18, 2018 Counter Proposal
To the Honourable Speaker Robert Wanner, Canadian Press Dean Bennett (President of the Alberta Legislature Press Gallery), Alex McClung (Chief of Staff to the Speaker) and my MLA David Sheppard
From Doug Brinkman Citizen Free News
Having seen our Alberta Legislature press gallery sit mostly empty during daytime and evening sittings, I'm willing to work with Speaker Robert Wanner's office by using the press gallery only on days where the Corporate news media don't require the entire press gallery seating area such as budget days, first day throne speeches and special events. Willing to wear a suit and tie leaving my Oilers Jersey at home while working inside the press gallery. I would respect and comply to all rules set forth from the Speaker's office. It's time for citizens who report the news to have thier seat in the Alberta Legislature press gallery. A free press means a free Alberta.
June 18, 2018 Reponse
Mr. Brinkman I'm sorry but I have to say no to your request. Although I appreciate sitting in the gallery is a nuisance and seeing empty chairs on press row can be irritating, I'm heartened by the fact you, and all other Albertans, have unfettered access to legislature chamber proceedings. Sitting in the gallery, however, is more than simply an exercise in switching chairs and putting on a tie. Gallery members have security clearance, and from the press gallery have access to secure areas of the legislature off limits to the general public. As for your underlying argument of inclusion in the press gallery, I reiterate that membership in the gallery is restricted to those journalists whose principal occupation is reporting, interpreting, editing or analyzing Alberta legislature or provincial government news on a continuing basis and who require the use of gallery facilities to fulfill their functions. All the best in your work. Dean Bennett President Alberta Legislature Press Gallery.
June 19, 2018: To Canadian Press, Press Gallery President Dean Bennett and the Honourable Speaker Robert Wanner. cc Alex McClung and my Edmonton Center MLA David Sheppard cc Paul McLoughin of icloud Emma Graney of Post Media, Michele Bellefontaine of CBC Ezra Levant of The Rebel Media needs to be included in this conversation too.
Thank you Dean for your quick response...
I understand and respect your position wanting the Alberta Legislature press gallery applicants to adhere to and uphold the rules of the press gallery constitution. In response It's easy for me to go to the RCMP and obtain security clearance so that should not be a problem. I think the problem might exist for you and your colleagues Dean if I may be frank is that I'm not journalist whose principal occupation is reporting inside the Alberta Legislature for the benefit of profit for your corporate news media employers, profits obtained from your subscribers and advertising revenue earned while influencing political public opinion and criticisms from the vantage point of our Alberta Legislature.
Instead I do it freely as a citizen news reporter now in my 11 th. year reporting news and information not for profit but for the benefit of informing our community to maintain a free open democratic society. I think that's a problem for you Dean... competition maybe in a news media industry that is at an all time low in trustworthiness and is not turning a profit very easy these day with the competition of social media and independent news journalism. Every news story I've published, over a thousand since 2007, with over a half a million views watched involves interpreting, editing or analyzing from with-in and outside the Alberta legislature on provincial government news and from the news obtained from ordinary Albertans outside the Alberta Legislature during protests, vigils and rallies relating to the business conducted by our Alberta Government. It takes me an average 8 hours of reporting, editing, publishing and I'll add to what's missing in your constitution the act of distribution of that news and information to the public through social media and hard copy print passed out freely during public events, posted inside cafe's, book stores and on city provided kiosks. Citizen free news reporting with the man-hours, equipment, travel costs and materials included are all done freely paid for out of my own pocket and done so for the benefit of news informing the general public, doing my part as a citizen news activist maintaining our free and open society. As I said in my last e-mail Dean, the Canadian Charter and Rights and Freedoms are the rules and guarantees that I respect, uphold and adhere to for myself and others I have defended over the years and this is why I'm currently picketing the Alberta Government indefinitely until my rights and freedoms as a Canadian citizen reporting the news from the Alberta Legislature is honoured and respected by our Alberta Government. The fundamental freedoms of our Canadian Charter includes freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication. Lots to consider here Dean and thank you for including your press colleagues I've watched at work in our Alberta Legislature press gallery from the dark corners of the sometimes closed to the public, public gallery. I'll stop here and hope that we can continue this discussion to find a win win solution for everyone involved. I think the Hon. Speaker Robert Wanner who has the final say about matters like this would rather we resolve this problem among ourselves. Maybe amend the press gallery constitution where no news reporter citizen or professional like yourself Dean is left out from open democracy of news reporting in Alberta, Canada on behalf of all Canadians.
Attached: ACCREDITATION AND ACCESS IN A CHANGING MEDIA LANDSCAPE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Alberta government found itself at the centre of controversy after it ordered representatives of the online publication The Rebel News Network Ltd. (The Rebel) rejected from two media events in February 2016. The government commissioned this report, asking for a cross-Canada study of practices pertaining to media access and accreditation and for recommendations on its media policies. In the meantime, it said, no one would be excluded from government media events Continued...
Alberta Legislature Sheriffs have been advised that my picket for a press pass will continue indefinitely. To date 30 days of picketing the Alberta Government have been completed and the public support has been growing...
Citizen Free News versus Corporate News MediaCitizen's Rights and Freedoms Challenged and Why I Picket: July 14, 2018: In June 2016, during an art show I was displaying on the Alberta Legislature grounds depicting the wildfires of Alberta, Sergeant-at-Arms Brian Hodgson confronted me and said my news stories were inaccurate and hurting the MLAs inside the Alberta Legislature. He also said the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms don't apply on the Alberta Legislature grounds, he dose and banned me from continuing with my outdoor art show.
During 2016, I conducted 160 outdoor art shows, demonstrations and pickets on the Alberta Legislature grounds, in front of City Hall and various public areas around the downtown and the Old Strathcona areas of Edmonton. The art I displayed were connected to the news stories I published on social media as a citizen news activist of 11 years. That year I was verbally banned 3 times by Alberta Legislature officials including the Srg.-at-Arms Brian Hodgson from painting and displaying my art on the Legislature grounds. On new years eve during my final 160th. outdoor art show I was threatened with police action by a City of Edmonton Manager for showing a single painting from the same Fire and Rain art project that focused my news camera and canvases on the wildfires of Alberta. I answered to both Governments with 42 days of picketing the City and the Province demanding they put it in writing why I could not freely express myself on public property when the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms guarantees it for all Canadians.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Forestry MLA for Whitecourt Ste. Anne Oneil Carier, accepted my gift of a painted white rose from my Fire and Rain art project, as a token of my gratitude to him when he joined me on my first day picketing his Government, February 2016 out in front of the Art Gallery of Alberta. He congradulated me on my picket line and shook my hand saying 'good for you, that's what we would do!' The ethic's commissioner shut down the NDP fundraiser inside the Art Gallery later that night... Edmonton Sun
Later that same year November 2016, I crossed paths with former P.C. MP Minister the Honourable Jason Kenney after news covering a 3 day pipeline protest inside Sir Winston Churchill Square. Jason had just come from another vigil event held outside City Hall when we met. Jason was so impressed by the story behind my painting 'Water and Oil is Life- Non Violence' he graciously accepted my painting as a gift. Thinking to myself this guy might one day become our Premier of Alberta. Blog: Water and Oil is Life-Non Violence
In the spring of 2018, during my current picket for a press pass inside the Alberta Legislature, Cheryl Oats, Premier Rachel Notley's press secretary joined me on my picket line and said "The media is hostile to her Government" As a citizen news activist of 11 years, I've always put my name on my news stories, taken responsibility for my work I publish on social media and I've always tried to be fair, unbiased and open to constructive criticism . Today I look back to 2016 and appreciate that the Srg.-at-Arms Brian Hodgson confronted me with his criticism of my news reporting and have since moved into the Alberta Legislature public gallery to listen and take notes during business of the assembly to better improve my citizen news reporting. Like the corporate news media I too must earn the trust and respect of my readers and viewers, building the trustworthiness required to be a legitimate news service in Alberta.
Foot Note: Paintings relating to news stories are not for sale but are given away as gifts, or reused for future art projects. News photos and videos are always free to share but please give me some credit. Press Pass Pick Continues...