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Canada-U.S free trade talks: ‘You are a hack!’

The Story

Free trade talks are not going well and time is running out. The negotiators have less than two weeks to reach a deal before the October 4th midnight deadline set by the U.S. Congress. Sleepless nights and endless meetings are taking their toll, especially on Canada's chief negotiator Simon Reisman. In this famous exchange Reisman confronts Toronto Star reporter Bob Hepburn. Reisman tells Hepburn that his paper is "a rag" and "a very poor excuse for a newspaper." Reisman then angrily walks away but not before he turns back, waving his finger and calling Hepburn "a hack." It's not the first time Reisman has spoken out against what he sees as the Toronto Star's biased reporting. The Star, Canada's largest newspaper, opposes free trade and is critical of the talks.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 22, 1987
Guests: Simon Reisman, Brian Mulroney, Bob White
Reporter: Mike Duffy
Duration: 2:20

Did You know?

• Free trade pitted the two most powerful newspapers in Canada against each other. The Toronto Star was adamantly against free trade and the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, staunchly supported it.
• The Toronto Star published an open letter essentially accusing Reisman of "invective and name-calling" after he accused the Star of "deceit and fear-mongering."


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