A crowd of Liberal supporters booed and heckled reporters today at a Toronto campaign stop as they tried to ask party leader Stéphane Dion about the status of a candidate accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.
That scene of reporters being shouted down has prompted the Liberals to change the format of their campaign events. From now on, Dion's daily news conferences will be held away from supporters, party aides say.
Dion had concluded a speech at a seniors centre, taken questions from the audience and was holding his daily news conference when supporters took issue when reporters asked Dion about Lesley Hughes, the Winnipeg candidate who had upset Jewish Canadians with her views.
"Focus on the issues," shouted one supporter at the reporters. "You know what, we don't care."
"Irrelevant," said another supporter.
Dion sought to quiet the crowd.
"You know what, we always respect the freedom of the press. We don't send the RCMP to stop the journalist," Dion said.
That's a reference to the heavy-handed tactics by the Prime Minister's Office who twice this campaign has asked the Mounties to block reporters from getting close to Harper or Conservative candidates.
"Ask your question please," Dion told the journalist.