PC Leader Doug Ford says no to media bus on campaign trail


Ontario's new Progressive Conservative leader won't let journalists tag along on the campaign trail this spring.
   
It's a rare move experts say suggests the Tories are keen to keep unpredictable populist politician Doug Ford away from the hot seat as he takes on two more seasoned rivals.
   
Ford's team says the party leader won't have a media bus following him across the province ahead of the June election -- something traditionally offered by Ontario's party leaders to make it easier for the media to cover multiple daily events.
   
Spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman says Ford's events will be broadcast online and his itinerary will be released for media interested in covering them in person.
   
Tim Abray, a former journalist who teaches political science at Queen's University, says Ford is trying to bypass the accountability function of the free press by limiting access to his campaign.
   
He says this will not prevent coverage, but will create a different, more opaque degree of transparency in the campaign.
   
Tamara Small, a political science professor at the University of Guelph, says trying to control the narrative around a campaign by restricting media access is not new.
   
She notes the federal Conservatives did so under Stephen Harper by imposing a cap of five questions at news conferences and the federal Liberals have sent newspapers photos that were taken by the prime minister's own photographer.

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