Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole will protect freedom of speech and give equal rights to independent media organizations if elected prime minister.

In a recent statement, O’Toole said conservatives are being increasingly attacked as freedom of speech is not being respected in the age of cancel culture.

“Cancel culture has spread from our universities to the broader society. Conservatives increasingly live in fear, knowing that they will be punished for expressing conservative ideas. They live in fear of being punished through bad grades, though campus disciplinary action, and even though losing their job,” he said.

“The voices of those who don’t conform to the left are being silenced. It’s time for a leader who will fight back.”

O’Toole’s statement promises to protect freedom of speech and expression in public spaces, particularly on campus and in the media.

O’Toole says he would end the monopoly that mainstream media outlets have on reporting on Parliament Hill.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery, the body which regulates reporting on Parliamentary Affairs, is dominated by mainstream news outlets and routinely excludes independent outlets. However, outlets such as the Chinese state-owned Xinhua News Agency have been allowed to join.

Rebel News is currently taking the Parliamentary Press Gallery to court, claiming the body blacklisted them from asking the prime minister questions.

In May, Rebel News reporter Keean Bexte was forcibly removed by a press conference by RCMP when he attempted to attend a press conference at Rideau Hall without accreditation by the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

If elected prime minister, O’Toole says he would “require the Parliamentary Press Gallery to publish objective criteria for admitting journalists, so as to ensure that conservative and online journalists are not prevented from covering Parliament.”

O’Toole added that he would give equal access to the Independent Press Gallery of Canada (IPG) to report on Parliament Hill.

The IPG is an organization representing independent, non-governmental journalist organizations that was created to counter the power the Parliamentary Press Gallery has over reporting in Ottawa.

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