Don’t stand so close to me.

That’s the message Premier Dalton McGuinty is sending to reporters who cover him day in, day out at the provincial legislature.

In fact, they’ve been asked to stand five feet back from the premier when posing questions, even though there are fewer journalists working full-time at the legislature.

Reporters routinely stand immediately in front of, or beside, the premier during so-called scrums.

McGuinty has joked on occasion about how close they get, but has never appeared uncomfortable or unwilling to endure the question-and-answer sessions. “The premier wants to have slightly more formal q’s and a’s with media,” said Chris Morley, McGuinty’s director of communications.

“Reporters will still get to ask the questions and the premier will respond to them. That accountability is an important part of our democracy.”

Christopher Dornan, associate professor at Carleton University’s School of Journalism, said it’s clear the premier’s advisers are thinking about “pure optics.”

The legislative press gallery decided to take McGuinty’s request under advisement, but did not agree to accept the new five-foot rule.

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