July 20, 2024
Government worried about social media and Commons reaction on decision to alert Irving about Postmedia questions
According to documents, federal bureaucrats began to take a story on their relationship with Irving Shipbuilding seriously when it gained traction on social media.
According to documents, federal bureaucrats began to take a story on their relationship with Irving Shipbuilding seriously when it gained traction on social media.

Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office initially reacted with sarcasm to an article about how the federal government alerted Irving Shipbuilding that Postmedia was investigating problems with the country’s new Arctic patrol ships.

But federal bureaucrats quickly changed their tune after members of the public and opposition MPs took to social media to question the cozy relationship between the Liberals and Irving and denounce the company’s threat to sue Postmedia even before an article had been published, according to documents obtained under the Access to Information law.

Procurement Canada and the Department of National Defence alerted Irving on March 6 that Postmedia was asking questions about alleged weld problems on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships being built by the firm for the Canadian Forces. Federal officials also provided to Irving personal information about the journalist asking questions.

Shortly after, Irving threatened Postmedia with a lawsuit if any defamatory article was published, even though no article about weld issues had originally been planned.

Instead Postmedia published an article about DND and Procurement Canada officials alerting Irving about the potential article while also confirming the departments had launched investigations into whether they had violated the privacy law.

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