See no media, hear no media

I thought I’d share the audio of a strange moment at this weekend’s Liberal policy convention in Montreal. After giving probably the best speech I’ve ever seen him give on Saturday, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau declined to face reporters for the typical post-convention press conference.

This was highly unusual so when we spotted Trudeau sitting up front at the convention floor a few of us decided to try to scrum him. He wouldn’t face us and for a couple awkward moments just sat there acting as if we didn’t exist. We’ve dubbed this “the Sun News treatment” as he had done it to their reporters a couple times before.

Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen recaps the whole thing here.

I’ve asked some TV friends to upload the video but in the meantime here’s the audio:

The person stammering out questions is me. Trudeau is conversing with former Liberal Party of Canada president Mike Crawley. Around the 0:50 mark CBC producer Chris Rands asks a few questions about what colour Trudeau will paint his nursery. Trudeau actually answers Rands (he’s deciding between brown and green) before going back to ignoring us. For those scratching your heads about this: no, it is not normal for Hill reporters to ask such softball questions to a politician. This is Rands’ schtick, he regularly tosses aloof, non-political questions at politicians in the hopes that they’ll respond and he can get a clip out of it.

Later that day Trudeau went on the talk show Tout le monde en parl and made a controversial joke about the violent situation in Ukraine. His tendency to make gaffes has some of us wondering how much Trudeau’s handlers will be trying to keep him away from reporters from here on out.

Hopefully this weekend was an aberration rather than the start of a trend. In the end we never did get that press conference. Trudeau ducked out discretely without reporters noticing so we didn’t have a chance to scrum him again.