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Access denied: reporters forbidden to use the bathroom at Harper event

Access denied: reporters forbidden to use the bathroom at Harper event
Stephen Harper, let our people go (Image: Overhead Fluoressence)

Yesterday’s big politics story was on infrastructure funds and how Toronto isn’t getting any. But the world isn’t made up of just big stories; reporters have to pay attention to the small stories, as well, or else their jobs would be too easy. Those two factors—small stories, reporters’ challenges—dovetailed beautifully at the Harper-McGuinty money-shovelling event yesterday. Apparently, the one bathroom was made unavailable.

Female journalists covering a prime ministerial event at a Mississauga Road maintenance facility felt they were in the Dark Ages when the RCMP restricted them from using a men’s washroom.

In search of relief prior to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s arrival, a columnist tried to use the men’s bathroom while a reporter stood guard outside....

Harper’s deputy press secretary, Andrew MacDougall, said the bathroom situation was a security issue.

“A washroom was available for all times, but when the PM had to move, access was restricted temporarily until movement was complete,” he said.

Security issue? We’ve seen unruly mobs of reporters cry for blood because the doughnuts were late. Denying them access to the loo seems like it would make matters worse, not better. But the RCMP has its rules. According to the Star, whenever the PM is on the move, halls and rooms need to be secured, which is the only element that gives this story a touch of seriousness.

• Journalists denied bathroom access at PM event [Toronto Star]

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