Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s national campaign manager was seen speaking with members of Rebel Media outside of the party’s convention in Halifax, even though the far-right website is barred from covering the event for being an “activist” group.
Hamish Marshall, who will spearhead the Conservative Party’s federal election efforts, was spotted speaking to members of the outlet, known for its anti-Muslim rhetoric, on a restaurant patio as the party’s convention kicked off on Thursday. The Globe and Mail was provided with photographs of the interaction.
The right-wing outlet is banned from covering the convention, but some of its representatives, including founder Ezra Levant, are in Halifax and will be hosting a party off-site on Friday night. Mr. Marshall was seen speaking with contributor Sheila Gunn Reid and two others, but not Mr. Levant.
“We don’t give media accreditation to activist groups,” Conservative Party spokesman Cory Hann said.
Mr. Marshall was once listed as a director of the conservative news outlet, but has since been removed and said he was severing ties with the organization. He also shared Toronto office space with the company during the Tory leadership race, although he said he never discussed campaign matters.
When asked why he was speaking with members of the outlet, Mr. Marshall said he simply stopped by to say hello.
“I just said ‘hi’ to somebody on the street,” Mr. Marshall told The Globe.
When asked if he thinks the group should be able to cover the convention, Mr. Marshall said he’s not involved in the media accreditation process.
“The team has made a decision. And that’s fine,” he said.
Mr. Levant has publicly pilloried Mr. Scheer for barring The Rebel from the Conservative convention, claiming the party revoked its earlier approval of the outlet amid criticism of the supply management system.
The website came under intense scrutiny last year for its coverage of protests in Charlottesville, Va., which was criticized as sympathetic to the white nationalists who organized the event. Many contributors cut ties with the outlet, although it is still operational.
Mr. Scheer, who granted interviews to the organization during the leadership process, said last year he would do no further interviews with The Rebel until it changes its editorial direction.