National Post March 15, 2019
Why is the Canadian government sharing media requests with private industry?
As reported in the National Post on Friday, a Postmedia reporter recently sent information requests to the ministries of National Defence and Public Services and Procurement Canada. The journalist had received a tip about alleged welding problems aboard HMCS Harry DeWolf, the first of the Royal Canadian Navy’s new Arctic patrol warships. The ship was launched last year and is undergoing fitting-out now. The Postmedia journalist sought information about the alleged welding problems.
This is an entirely routine step in the media. Journalists hear things, which are often unconfirmed, and seek additional information. Sometimes stories result, but often, the provided answers are sufficient and the journalist moves on.
That did not happen here.
The replies came from Irving Shipbuilding
After sending the query to both government departments on March 6, the journalist received several prompt replies — within two hours, in fact. But not from federal officials. Instead, the replies came from Irving Shipbuilding, which built the DeWolf. The first was an offer of information, the second was a threat to sue Postmedia if “anything false about (Irving’s) reputation is published.” Irving knew the journalist’s identity and the topic of his queries.