POLITICS

Kathleen Wynne Excludes Media From Events With Chinese Communist Party Officials

10/07/2015 12:09 EDT | Updated 10/07/2016 05:12 EDT

TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne now says it was a communications mistake that led to the media being shut out of all three events she has scheduled today with a Communist Party official from China.

Wynne said on Tuesday night that Ontario agreed to exclude reporters from her meetings and events with Luo Zhijun — Party Secretary of Jiangsu province — because the Communist Party asked.

However, this morning Wynne said she had assumed the media would be welcome for a quick photo op of her meeting with Luo, and her schedule was amended late last night to add the media availability.

Cameras and reporters were allowed in for a few minutes to take pictures of Wynne and Luo, but were not allowed to ask them any questions.

And reporters will still be banned when Wynne speaks alongside Luo at the opening of the Industrial Co-operation Forum in Toronto and at a 30th anniversary celebration for the Ontario-Jiangsu Friendship Agreement — both happening Wednesday.

Wynne admitted there would be "largely ceremonial interactions" with Chinese officials, but could not say why she agreed to their requests to ban the media from what would normally be public events in Ontario.

"I had assumed that as with visits from dignitaries from all over the world that the media would have an opportunity to come in at the beginning of the meeting," she said Wednesday. "So it was a mistake that that wasn't communicated to you."

But less than 24 hours earlier, Wynne fumbled to try and explain why the media were originally excluded from all her events with Luo.

"These are people from Jiangsu province who are coming to meet with us, and they have a series of requests that they've put in, and we will be reciprocating when we go back to China," Wynne said Tuesday evening.

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