Dear Minister Blair:
I am writing to you about the well-publicized case of the Canadian Border Agency denying entry to Danish journalist Kristian Lindhardt at Vancouver airport on August 21, 2020.
Mr. Lindhardt was not barred entry on COVID-19 related health grounds, he was denied on political grounds. It’s clear that the Agency does not have a blanket rule denying entry to foreign journalists, nor should it, as the Agency staff spent many hours investigating the nature of his visit to cover a story on the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation.
While it might be tempting to dismiss this troubling episode of state censorship as an error by an officious local agent, it is clear that numerous agents and a local supervisor were involved and that Mr. Lindhardt was told the final denial of entry came from Ottawa.
Kristian Lindhardt is employed by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and is accredited by the International Federation of Journalists. Minister, your government must not gag the free press by denying entry to professional foreign journalists, just as other nations must not.
I urge you to immediately advise Mr.Lindhardt that he is welcome to cover Canadian stories in Canada provided he complies with pandemic-related health regulations.