Politics

Andrew Scheer won't grant interviews to The Rebel under current 'editorial direction'

Conservative leader latest to distance himself from Ezra Levant's website

Parliamentary Session 20170621

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday he won't speak with Rebel Media as long as its editorial direction remains the same. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer won't grant further interviews to Rebel Media if the outlet's editorial direction remains "as it is," he said at an event for supporters in British Columbia on Wednesday evening.

The website, founded by conservative activist Ezra Levant, has come under fire since last weekend's rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., culminated in violence and an attack on counter-demonstrators that left one woman dead and several others injured. Faith Goldy, a correspondent for The Rebel, was in Charlottesville covering the rally and counter-protests.

"Like all Canadians I viewed the events of last weekend with a great deal of disgust [at] the types of vile comments that were being made by hate groups," Scheer told reporters following a Conservative Party event in Langley, B.C., Wednesday evening.

"And I think there is a fine line between reporting the facts and giving some of those groups a platform or any kind of legitimacy.

Andrew Scheer distances himself from Rebel Media 0:37

"I've got a positive vision [and] I want to get that positive vision out in a positive way and talk to people in a way that talks about issues and brings people together. So as long as the editorial direction of that particular institution remains as it is ... I won't be granting those types of interviews."

Scheer issued a statement Thursday repeating the comments.

During his campaign for the Conservative leadership, Scheer spoke with The Rebel and its contributors on several occasions, and he gave an interview to The Rebel's Brian Lilley after winning the leadership in May. Lilley publicly broke with The Rebel this week.

At least three contributors to The Rebel have resigned in recent days, and Conservative MP Michael Chong released a statement saying he would not grant interviews to the outlet.

Hamish Marshall, who managed Scheer's leadership campaign and is now managing Brian Jean's campaign for the UCP leadership in Alberta, is currently listed as part of The Rebel's board of directors, but Levant told The Canadian Press Marshall is no longer on the board.

Levant did not immediately return CBC's request for comment on Scheer's remarks.

After the violence in Charlottesville, Levant released a statement disavowing the "alt-right."

"We are not alt-right," he wrote. "That term now effectively means racism, anti-Semitism and tolerance of neo-Nazism."

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