Liberals clarify and say that they only suggested the questions and the Liberals subsequently wrote them down
Situation escalated, CPC demands answers from CBC ombudsman. Click here, or scroll down for the update
CBC announces internal investigation. Click here, or scroll down for the update
Conservatives Demand Answers from the CBC over Alleged Collusion with the Liberal Party
OTTAWA – Today, former Liberal Cabinet Minister and current TVA journalist Jean Lapierre made shocking allegations about strategic collusion between journalists at the CBC and Liberal Members of Parliament at the House of Commons Ethics Committee.
According to Lapierre Liberal Members of Parliament asked former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney questions written by journalists at the CBC regarding any involvement in the spectrum auction for cellular and wireless devices.
“I knew all about those questions. They were written by the CBC and provided to the Liberal Members of Parliament and the questions that Pablo Rodriguez asked were written by the CBC and I can’t believe that but last night, influential Member of Parliament came to me and told me those are the questions that the CBC wants us to ask tomorrow.” (CTV Newsnet, December 13, 2007)
If proven true these allegations would mark the third major case of orchestrated anti-Conservative bias from a broadcaster that is financed by all Canadians for the benefit of all Canadians.
In 2004 an email from Stephanie Matteis of CBC’s The National exposed the CBC’s search for Canadians that would not vote for the Conservatives because they were “scared, freaked out or worried about the Conservatives, the Conservative agenda or its leader.” (http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/003009.html )
The CBC was also forced on August 21, 2006 to express “regret” over a story by CBC reporter Christina Lawand that misrepresented an answer given by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (https://www.stephentaylor.ca/archives/000645.html )
“This is a very serious allegation that the CBC must provide an answer to,” said Conservative Dean Del Mastro.
– 30 –
P.O. Box 500, Station A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6
December 14, 2007
Dear Mr. Carlin,
I am writing about allegations made by former Liberal Cabinet Minister and current TVA journalist Jean Lapierre.
According to Mr. Lapierre Liberal Members of Parliament asked former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney questions at the House of Commons Ethics Committee written (or suggested) by journalists at the CBC regarding any personal involvement in the spectrum auction for cellular and wireless devices.
“I knew all about those questions. They were written by the CBC and provided to the Liberal Members of Parliament and the questions that Pablo Rodriguez asked were written by the CBC and I can’t believe that but last night, influential Member of Parliament came to me and told me those are the questions that the CBC wants us to ask tomorrow.” (Mr. Lapierre, CTV Newsnet, December 13, 2007)
On the TV program Mike Duffy Live, Mike Duffy stated the following.
“Liberal researcher Jay Ephard approach him and say, no, Jean, it’s not true. The CBC didn’t write those questions that were asked by the Liberals. We wrote them. Yes, the CBC phoned us up and suggested questions we should ask but we actually typed them out ourselves.”(Mike Duffy, Mike Duffy Live, December 13, 2007)
Regardless of who wrote the questions the fact that our national public broadcaster was actively cooperating with a political party in an attempt to embarrass the Government raises serious questions about the impartiality of Canada’s publicly funded national broadcaster.
We would appreciate your immediate assistance in getting to the bottom of this matter and hopefully providing Canadians with answers to these troubling allegations by December 20th, 2007.
Director of Political Operations, Conservative Party of Canada
Dec 14 2007 17:55:00 – Source: CP [The Canadian Press]
CBC reviewing claim reporter fed questions to Liberal MP (CRAFT-CBC-Reprimand) OTTAWA _ The CBC has begun an internal investigation and possible disciplinary process after one of its parliamentary reporters suggested questions to a Liberal MP on the Commons ethics committee.
The probe follows a formal complaint by the Conservative party.
The complaint centres on claims that Liberal Pablo Rodriguez directed questions from the CBC to Brian Mulroney during a highly anticipated Commons committee hearing on Thursday.
CBC News says the reporter, who it did not name, “may have been in pursuit of a journalistically legitimate story.”
But the broadcaster says it was an “inappropriate way of going about it and as such inconsistent with our journalistic policies and practices.”
Rodriguez was accused of going on a “fishing expedition” by Tory MPs after he began questioning Mulroney about possible lobbying efforts on wireless regulation during a hearing into the decade-old Airbus affair.
The Liberal party denies there was anything untoward, saying it gets “bombarded” daily with comments and ideas for questions from Canadians and from reporters.
The other day, I got an email from Dr. Tom Flanagan, political science professor and close adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Dr. Flanagan writes:
This afternoon (March 6, 2007) I got a call from CBC TV news reporter Krista Erickson. She said she was desperately seeking someone to provide balance for a story she was doing on Christine Tell and the Saskatchewan Judicial Appointments Committee. Ms. Tell is the law enforcement representative on the JAC. The Liberals are calling for her to resign because she has also decided to run for the Saskatchewan Party in the next provincial election. I said that I didn’t really want to comment on Ms. Tell because I didn’t know her and didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the facts of her case, but that I would be glad to defend the government policy on JACs.
Ms. Erickson said a crew would be there in 20 minutes to interview me. Then she called back and said that the story had been scrubbed, so they wouldn’t need an interview after all.
When I watched the National at 10 PM, I saw that they ran the story after all, and without balance. They had law professor Lorraine Weinrib to call for Ms. Tell’s resignation, but no one to give a view from the other side. I’ve watched the CBC for too many years to be surprised at the lack of balance, but I am genuinely surprised at the lack of professionalism. I’ve been cut out of stories before, and I can’t complain about it; no one has a right to appear on the CBC. But why didn’t Ms. Erickson just tell me, we don’t want your interview after all because it doesn’t fit into the one-sided story line we are planning to construct? Or, we can’t interview you because you don’t have the right expertise? Why did she have to make up a story abut canceling the story?
I’d like to know where the CBC was from 1993 to 2005, when Jean Chretien and Paul Martin were filling the bench with Liberal donors, failed Liberal candidates, and spouses of Liberal advisers. Our national network has its collective knickers in a knot because a JAC member is associated with a provincial party, but it never found it worthwhile to report on twelve years of appointing Liberal partisans to the federal courts.
Here’s the CBC report:
As you can see, only one “expert” is called upon to comment and that expert supports the thesis that Tell’s participation is inappropriate. If Flanagan were to comment, he’d provide balance. I decided to call Dr. Flanagan to provide that very balance that was lacking in the CBC piece:
The CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices Part III section 5.1 reads:
“Single programs dealing with a major controversial issue should give adequate recognition to the range of opinion on the subject. Fairness must be the guiding principle in presentation, so that the audience is enabled to make a judgment on the matter in question based on the facts.”
So what is the story about? The story is about a conservative sitting on a committee that suggests candidates to the Conservative Minister of Justice. The Minister can disregard the suggestions, of course.
UPDATE: Things get even more interesting when John Carpay of the Canadian Constitution Foundation leaves me a voicemail. I’ve reproduced it below with his permission: