Watch: Reporters' questions to Canadian politicians drowned out by loud applause

Ontario premier Doug Ford under fire for apparent tactic

Ontario politicians are using applauding interns as a way of drowning out questions by reporters, Canadian news outlets have reported.

Journalists covering a press conference announcing a controversial decision to scrap a basic income pilot programme could not get questions in when staffers began applauding social services minister Lisa MacLeod.

Their predicament was repeated one week later, when interns attending a press conference by Ontario premier Doug Ford began applauding the moment Mr Ford answered a fifth question.

As reporters tried to get a word in, dozens of staffers at the back of the room began to applaud at the same time.

“We are being kept under a very strict protocol,” CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan said. “This is unprecedented. No government has done this before. I've never seen this before.”

Members of the Ford administration have denied that staffers were instructed to attend press conferences and applaud. 

Mr Ford’s administration has already come under fire for having created a taxpayer-funded online video channel, Ontario News Now, that uploads pro-government propaganda.

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