CBC double standard on political advertising

Here, a piece from Glen McGregor in 2009,

OTTAWA — The Conservative party was unable to get television commercials aimed at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because the attack ads violated the network’s long-standing ban on political advertising.

The Tories approached CBC officials before the launch of the “Michael Ignatieff: just visiting” campaign and were told that an internal policy prevented the network from accepting political ads outside of times of elections.

As are other broadcasters, CBC is required to provide a share of its airtime to political parties during the writ period, but can set its own rules outside it.

“We’ll only accept political advertising like that when there is an election campaign on,” CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said. “We have generally pretty strict guidelines.”

The policy has been in place for many years and was reviewed a few years ago, Keay said.

And now tonight, on The National, the CBC gets an exclusive and gives a teaser of the new Liberal ad,

UPDATE: CBC notes that it did discuss the CPC Trudeau ads in a larger story regarding the ups and downs of Trudeau’s first day as Liberal leader. And the ads were critiqued on the At Issue panel. A bit different than an entire (albeit short) segment dedicated to a featured teaser to be sure, but this update helps define the broader context regarding stories about political advertising/stories about advertising on CBC.

UPDATE: HuffPo publishes a lengthy piece about how I was ‘wrong’ about the CBC and its policies regarding political advertising and cite a policy change in October 2009 as proof of my terrible wrong-headedness.

I really can only go from the information that is provided publicly. One would think their published policy on political advertising would be the first and last source on this matter. Here it is. I note that it has been unchanged since May 5th, 2005 and doesn’t exist on some archived museum of public broadcasting page at CBC. We can only interpret this policy as the current one. I’ll copy it in full here:

Policy 1.3.10: Political Advertising

Effective: May 5, 2005
Responsibility: Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Officer


The CBC/Radio-Canada considers it a part of its mandate as a public broadcaster to support the democratic process during general elections. The objectives of this policy are: i) to allow qualified political parties participating in a general election to present their views directly to the voters whose support they are seeking; ii) to ensure the equitable allocation of commercial time among qualified parties; iii) to satisfy the requirements of applicable laws and regulations; iv) to ensure consistent management of political advertising.
The CBC/Radio-Canada accepts political advertising messages on its main television services during federal, provincial and territorial general election periods. On its other television services and on radio, the CBC/Radio-Canada accepts political advertising only as required by the Canada Elections Act and in accordance with the allocation made by the federal Broadcasting Arbitrator.
In federal elections, qualified political parties are those that have been registered by the Chief Electoral Officer and new parties that have had their application for registration accepted by the Chief Electoral Officer. In provincial and territorial elections, qualified political parties are those that are duly registered with the provincial or territorial Chief Electoral Officer and participate in the election by fielding candidates.
The CBC/Radio-Canada does not accept political advertising from groups other than qualified political parties or from individuals. The CBC/Radio-Canada does not accept program sponsorship, closed-captioning sponsorship, or product placement of a partisan political character.
Political advertising is sold in such a way as to ensure equitable allocation of time among qualified parties in accordance with CRTC regulations. It is scheduled in such a way as to ensure the integrity of programs and their environment. The CBC/Radio-Canada will not broadcast election advertisements that may imply, or give the appearance of, an endorsement on the part of the CBC/Radio-Canada or raise doubts as to its neutrality.

(my emphasis in bold)

Note that CBC has not updated its current official policy on political advertising since May 5, 2005 despite what some hasty revisionist PR-agents at MotherCorp would like to tell you otherwise.

Yet CBC PR suggests that their advertising policy allows for partisan advertising outside of a writ period. Curious, no?

Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette on Stephen Harper and Terrorism

In the wake of the terror arrests in Toronto and Montreal yesterday, Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette tweeted,

Sen.Hervieux-Payette (@HervieuxPayette): #Harper wants to align #Canada with the US, wants the same republican policies: he will also get the same terrorists. #cdnpoli

h/t: @NeilJEdmondson

The tweet has since been deleted.

Of course, this raises questions about the Liberal Party and their attitudes towards terrorism and the cognitive-reasoning skills of this senior Liberal. Only last week, hours after bombs exploded in Boston, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau failed to condemn the act of terror while musing about societal root causes, suggesting that the perpetrators must have felt “excluded”.

The Liberals have indeed become the fringe third party if they believe it is appropriate to muse about “root causes” while a manhunt is underway and before justice has been done for the victims. Mr. Trudeau believes the root cause of terrorism is social exclusion, while Senator Hervieux-Payette believes a root cause of terror is the Prime Minister of Canada.

UPDATE: Hervieux-Payette’s staffer said the tweet was meant to come from his own personal account rather than his boss’s.

Here is the tweet from his account:

But note the timestamps. The tweet from the Hervieux-Payette account went out at 1:49pm and the staffer’s tweet went out at 2:57pm.

The staffer says he “also thought he scrubbed the tweet from the Internet’s memory within 10 seconds of realizing his mistake” according to the National Post, so why wait over an hour to repost from his own account?

What also makes me doubt the staffer’s account is — as the National Post also notes — Hervieux-Payette’s on-the-record statements about US foreign policy mirrors the same sort of warped mindset in this tweet. Here she is in 2006,

“The daily massacre of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of prisoners – mainly blacks – in American prisons, the massive sale of handguns to Americans, and the destabilization of the entire world by the American government’s aggressive foreign policy, etc.”

Justin Trudeau asks for Temporary Foreign Worker permits

The Liberal crusade against Temporary Foreign Workers hit a snag this afternoon after James Moore revealed in Question Period that Justin Trudeau once petitioned the Canadian government for work permits.

In the letter, Trudeau asks the Canadian embassy in China that work permits be considered for Chinese nationals for a restaurant in the riding of the Papineau MP. Trudeau pleads that the workers are needed for a restaurant that served his own father and caters to Hollywood celebrities.

UPDATE: The Conservative Party has issued a dispatch on this revelation,

Justin Trudeau – In Over His Head on Temporary Foreign Workers
– Justin Trudeau is in over his head.
– Yesterday, the Liberals introduced a motion in the House regarding their concerns with the temporary foreign worker program, and yet their leader wrote to us asking that foreign workers in the food service industry be rushed in to his riding.
– What did Justin think that temporary foreign workers could add to Montreal’s food service industry that 100,000 Canadian workers in that industry could not provide?
– Does Justin not understand the program, did he forget that he made such a demand, or is he just in over his head?
– The leader of the Liberal Party refused to explain himself in Question Period today. We call on him to do so immediately.
– The Liberal record on the Temporary Foreign Worker program has been abysmal.
– While in government, the member from York West fast-tracked the temporary foreign worker application of a stripper who worked on her election campaign.
– The member from York West was then forced to step down from cabinet after she was accused of promising a foreign pizzeria-owner living in Canada that he could stay longer if he supplied her campaign team with free pizza and garlic bread.
– Since the program’s inception in 1976, the Liberal Party has failed to introduce substantive and effective reforms despite having plenty of opportunities to do so. Instead, they fast-tracked the process for several occupations including strippers, and tried to use the program for their own political gain.

Updates from other parties will be posted as they are received.

National Citizens Coalition reacts to Alexandre Boulerice’s comments

From the Toronto Sun,

OTTAWA – NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice refuses to retreat from a blog post that praises communists and slags the First World War as a “capitalist” conflict.
Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney has demanded Boulerice apologize for the 2007 post that came to light on Tuesday on the 96th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Boulerice offered no defence of his comments, but he did shoot back at Blaney on Wednesday.
“I think Mr. Blaney yesterday, it was the last day to engage in partisan politics and to try and score points like that, with old stories,” said Boulerice in Montreal.
“He is the minister who is making the largest cuts in support programs for disabled veterans.”
In his post on the blog Presse-toi a gauche (Hurry to the left), Boulerice questioned the value of the Battle for Vimy Ridge, mocked the First World War as “a purely capitalist war on the backs of the workers and peasants” and lauded communists for their opposition to it.
The comments lit a firestorm of controversy, with the National Citizens Coalition (NCC) joining the barrage and aiming its guns on Boulerice’s admiration for communist activists.
“It is shocking to think that Mr. Boulerice would be praising communists as having foresight,” said NCC Director Steven Taylor. “The rest of us exercise our benefit of hindsight and realize that communism has been one of the most destructive ideologies ever imposed upon human industry and ingenuity.”

PSAC hates Harper

It all looked so promising to the folks at the Public Service Alliance of Canada,

OTTAWA, April 11, 2013 /CNW/ – As part of the ongoing “Harper Hates Me” campaign, designed to draw attention to the dangerous impact of Conservative cuts to public services, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, National Capital Region (PSAC-NCR) today released an interactive web app allowing Canadians to poke fun at our notoriously aloof Prime Minister.
“We believe the Prime Minister should be more accessible to his constituents,” said Larry Rousseau, PSAC’s Regional Executive Vice President for the National Capital Region. “To that end, we are offering Canadians this web 2.0 tool. Now, it will be easier than ever to reach Stephen Harper and let him know what you think of his cuts.”
Canadians who visit the site www.Harper-says.ca will be able to write their own caption and add it to one of the photos from Stephen Harper’s Flickr account. They can then share it directly with the Prime Minister, and their friends, over Twitter and other social networks. Visitors will be able to get creative, and tell the world what they imagine Harper is thinking.

What could go wrong? Less than 24 hours later,

The Public Service Alliance of Canada is apologizing for offensive comments posted on its interactive website urging Canadians to write their own captions for photos of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Some of the captions written by users of the ‘Harper Says’ website were racist, while others attacked the prime minister’s family members.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada apologized for the site late Thursday afternoon.

This all allows the National Citizens Coalition to pose an important question to the members of PSAC who might be ashamed of their union leadership and how it wastes their dues on political campaigns… wouldn’t you like to be able to be able to withhold these dues so that unions are forced to meet the needs of their membership?

Alberta PCs: Some Party that I used to know

My friend Amanda Achtman in Alberta brought some friends together to assemble this creative video that describes the frustration of many Albertans have with the Natural Governing Party of Alberta, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.

The song riffs on Gotye’s hit from last summer, Somebody That I Used To Know and the video was produced by Olivier Ballou through donations from young Alberta conservatives.


Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could try
Told myself that you were right for me
Felt progressive in your company
But that was then and after 40 years I still remember

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need you now
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your perks and then start to slumber
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just some party that I used to know

Now you’re just some party that I used to know
Now you’re just some party that I used to know

Mark Zuckerberg’s Zuck PAC launches to reform US immigration law

Today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg launched his political action committee called FWD.us to rally tech business leaders to reform American immigration law.

Zuckerberg is joined by executives at Dropbox, Paypal, Airbnb, Netflix, LinkedIn and Yahoo. These tech leaders believe the United States is failing to address its innovation gap by allowing the immigration system to languish. Indeed, the United States is a magnet for the type of highly skilled workers needed by Silicon Valley. FWD.us is lobbying the US government to both secure the country’s borders and to streamline the process for admitting skilled workers for the tech sector.

On traditional immigration challenges, FWD.us is also looking to the government to provide a pathway to citizenship initiative for giving status to illegal immigrants.

The FWD.us website is built on the NationBuilder platform and integrates Facebook API tools for tracking and communitizing its supporters.

What do you think of the initiative? Is this a logical move for the US tech sector? Should Zuckerberg be getting more or less involved in politics?

Tim Hudak shirks ideology for expediency

From today’s Toronto Star,

Opposition parties are backing a push from Ontario’s chief electoral officer for limits on advertising by interest groups such as the anti-Tory Working Families coalition of unions.
Noting that such “third-party” advertising tripled to $6.7 million between the 2007 and 2011 provincial elections, Greg Essensa said in his annual report that the legislature needs to set up an independent body to study a cap on spending and contributions, among other things.
“We would like to see stronger parameters around third party advertising,” Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod said Monday, echoing calls from party leader Tim Hudak last year.

The Ontario PCs should not be looking at reining in free speech just because they are losing the free speech fight. To be sure, unions need better disclosure of how they are spending worker dues especially if those dues are going to political causes. Unions should also be made to allow a mechanism to allow members to opt out of their dues should this money be going towards causes any particular member does not support.

The National Citizens Coalition raises money given voluntarily by thousands of Ontarians to advocate on their issues. If political parties are the only ones given the right of free and unfettered speech during elections, this makes our society less democratic.

Do not abandon your principles, Mr. Hudak. We need more ideas during elections, not fewer.

Elizabeth May on Margaret Thatcher and Hugo Chavez

Margaret Thatcher passed away today at the age of 87. Here is Elizabeth May’s statement acknowledging the death of the Britain’s greatest peacetime Prime Minister,

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada,

“Margaret Thatcher took strong positions. Among them people forget her science-based concern about the climate crisis. One of the few political leaders with a science background, she founded the Hadley Centre and supported the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. While her anti-regulation, pro-privatization agenda did long-term damage to the environment, her climate awareness is tragically not shared by her ideological successors.”

What did Elizabeth May say when Hugo Chavez die? Not much, but here is tweet and news story she retweeted,

Here is the rabble news infographic that she links.

Elizabeth May’s schtick besides climate change has been about her views on democracy in Canada — specifically what she characterizes as the erosion of it. Now, retweets are not necessarily endorsements, but May recently wrote the Queen about the robocalls scandal and the Rabble infographic includes a quote from Jimmy Carter praising Chavez for his democratic ideals while includes quotes from Elections Canada on those robocalls.

Stephen Harper has not been evidenciarily linked to the robocalls scandal in Guelph and to date the only evidence that exists is that which has resulted in a charge against one young campaign worker, Michael Sona.

Elizabeth May takes the opportunity on the day of Margaret Thatcher’s passing to speciously link Thatcher to her issues while condemning Thatcher for privatization.

Meanwhile, May holds up Chavez as a paragon of democracy in order to attack Stephen Harper as a “real dictator”.

Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013

The greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill died this morning after suffering a stroke. Margaret Thatcher’s influence on the UK and the world is still well pronounced and conservatives are mourning her passing.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain,

“It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton.

“As our first woman Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country. I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime Prime Minister.
“Today most of all we should think of her family. We’ve lost somebody great in our public life but they’ve lost a much loved mother and grandmother and we should think of them today.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada,

“The world has lost a giant among leaders. While many in positions of power are defined by the times in which they govern, Margaret Thatcher had that rarest of abilities to herself personify and define the age in which she served. Indeed, with the success of her economic policies, she defined contemporary conservatism itself. In 2006 I met with her in London, where she provided me wise and gracious counsel, the memory of which I will forever cherish. Laureen and I join all Canadians in saluting the proud life and legacy of Lady Thatcher.”

Barack Obama, President of the United States,

With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.
Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.

Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet President,

Margaret Thatcher was a great politician and a bright individual. She will do down in our memory and in history.
Thatcher was a politician whose words carried great weight.
“Our first meeting in 1984 gave the start to relations that were at times difficult, not always smooth, but which were serious and responsible for us both.

Lech Walesa, former President of Poland,

She was a great person. She did a great deal for the world, along with Ronald Reagan, pope John Paul II and Solidarity, she contributed to the demise of communism in Poland and Central Europe.

George W Bush, former President of the United States,

“She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity, Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Laura and I join the people of Great Britain in remembering the life and leadership of this strong woman and friend.

Buckingham Palace,

The Queen is sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher and Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,

Margaret Thatcher was one of the defining figures in modern British politics. Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no-one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served.
“She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics.
“My thoughts are with her family and friends.

John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,

“In government, the UK was turned around under – and in large measure because of – her leadership. Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader. Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London,

Margaret Thatcher freed millions of people to buy their own homes and buy shares in British companies.
“She ended the defeatism and pessimism of the post-war period and unleashed a spirit of enterprise.
“She fought against the clubby, cosy, male-dominated consensus of both main parties – and she won.
“Her beliefs – in thrift, hard work, and proper reward for merit – were not always popular. But her legacy is colossal.
“She was right about the unions, she was right about Soviet communism and recent events have shown that she was completely right about the euro.
“This country is deeply in her debt. Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today’s politics.

Bob Rae, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada I extend my condolences on the passing of a remarkable political leader, Margaret Thatcher.
Mrs. Thatcher served as British Prime Minister for more than a decade and in many ways defined conservative politics of her time. Her sheer determination and tenacity were legendary, and even political opponents had to admire her ability to stick to the path she set out for her party and her country.
‘This lady’s not for turning’ was her own description of this powerful will, and she will long be remembered as one of the most powerful voices of her time.

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada,

On behalf of all New Democrats, I express my sincere condolences to Mrs. Thatcher’s loved ones and the people of Great Britain.
Lady Thatcher was one of the most influential British politicians and world leaders of the 20th century.
Not only was she Britain’s first and only woman Prime Minister, but she is also the country’s only leader to win three consecutive terms.