National Newswatch

EDMONTON - Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says if Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to lead a modern democracy, he needs to realize that includes taking hard questions.

Mulcair, speaking to reporters in Edmonton, was reacting to a news report that the Prime Minister's Office was ready this week to ban from the PM's plane a CTV reporter who earlier asked a question of Harper at a no-questions event.

The issue became a fight between Harper's office and the news media over who gets to decide which journalists cover the prime minister, but the PMO made clear Wednesday that no one is banned.

Mulcair says the issue reflects an unwillingness by Harper to face critical questions, and he says it's an attitude that has filtered down throughout government.

He said Harper only showed up five times in the last five weeks of Parliament.

He says Harper needs to learn that connecting with Canadians has to be more than just photo-ops.

"Stephen Harper wants to be the prime minister of a G-8 country, to manage one of the most complex governments and economies in the world, and yet he wants to do it without talking to the public, without talking to journalists, and indeed without talking to Parliamentarians," said Mulcair.

The Canadian Press
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