Schmale says he did not attend meeting hosted by members of trucker convoy
MP says national media got it wrong
On June 24, 24 Conservative members of parliament, including Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton member Jamie Schmale, were identified by CTV News as having attended meetings hosted by four people closely linked to the so-called Freedom Convoy movement. However, Schmale’s office says this just isn’t true.
Andrew Hodson, Schmale’s executive assistant, says the network got it wrong, and that his boss did not participate in the meetings hosted by Conservative MP Dean Allison.
When asked about the report, Hodson was upset at the “falsehood” reported by CTV.
Hodson told the Advocate the following when contacted via email in Ottawa.
“In regards to concern in the riding associated with MP Schmale meeting last week with ‘folks from the freedom/trucker group,’ I also have concern and frankly a sense of disappointment; it was irresponsible for members of the media to report such falsehoods as Jamie in fact did not meet with members of the ‘freedom/trucker groups,” Hodson said.
“Certainly, journalistic integrity should be predicated on careful determination of the facts prior to publication, and sadly, this was not the case,” Hodson added.
In a previous interview with the Advocate in March, Schmale did say his party supports the truckers’ message.
“We (the Conservative Party of Canada) support the message the truckers took to Ottawa,” Schmale said. “We support the end of federal mandates too, as do the majority of Canadians. We believe that Trudeau put gasoline on a fire by calling the truckers names.”
The most recent meetings took place on Parliament Hill at the invitation of Allison, and focused almost exclusively on anti-vaccine and anti-mandate messages presented by Paul Alexander, former advisor to defeated American president Donald Trump.
Even with Schmale and fellow MP Alex Ruff pushing back and saying they were not in attendance at these meetings, many other members of the Conservative caucus were, with many staying for the entirety of the presentations. CTV reported that a number of members took the time to have their pictures taken with convoy spokesman Tom Marazzo, convoy director of security Daniel Bulford, Alexander, and Canadian veteran James Topp who is currently on a march across Canada protesting vaccine mandates.
While leadership hopeful Leslyn Lewis did attend, many Ottawa watchers were surprised that perceived leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre, who Schmale supports, was not in attendance.
Poilievre has worked for months to build bridges with the freedom convoy people, hoping their support will push him over the top in a heated leadership debate against Conservative moderates Jean Charest and Patrick Brown, leadership race that concludes Sept. 10.