History as viewed through a different sort of lens

On the so-called “Cadscam”, some reporters are re-writing history.

Consider the following from an article by Lawrence Martin, a senior reporter for the Globe and Mail in the Parliamentary Press Gallery:

Mr. Cadman, who had left the Conservatives to sit as an independent, was therefore preparing to vote with the Liberals to keep the government afloat. But Conservative Party officials, Mr. Moore said, were in discussions with Mr. Cadman, trying to work something out. [emphasis mine]

Now, here’s an excerpt from Steve Rennie’s CP story:

Harper said while he wasn’t optimistic about their chances of persuading Cadman – a former Tory MP who had left the party to sit as an Independent MP – to vote with the Conservatives to bring down Martin’s government, he urged two people “legitimately representing the party” to tread cautiously. [emphasis mine]

When Brian Mulroney was testifying before the Ethics committee, opposition MPs did their best to refer to former “Conservative” Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, rather than “former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney”. In fact, we can see it here in an excerpt from this 2008 article in the Toronto Star:

Lawyers for all three men have also argued Gomery showed signs of bias through various statements to the press — he memorably described Chrétien’s fondness for monogrammed golf balls as “small-town cheap” — and in his decision to hire Bernard Roy, the law partner and longtime friend of former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, as the inquiry’s chief counsel.

So, what does this mean? Remember the Liberal alarms that went off post-merger that decried that the new Conservative Party was not the new version of the Progressive Conservative party? Now, we see opposition MPs try to associate Mulroney with the current Conservative party. Now, we see an entirely new invention by associating Chuck Cadman’s history with the Conservatives/Tories when he never sat as an MP for an party called Conservative! Chuck Cadman sat as a Reform MP and then as an Alliance MP. It suits Lawrence Martin’s narrative to throw around the “Conservative” label as his story discusses the dark cloud that has surrounded Conservatives lately (he even seems to extend the adjective “conservative” to the now jailed Conrad Black to imply the political noun “Conservative”). To streamline the scandal narrative, press flacks are revising history to label Cadman (and his alleged inducement back into the fold) as a Conservative-Independent-Conservative progression of events. Newspaper readers don’t need to be helped along; giving news consumers the full and truthful context is superior than bending affiliations to fit a desired storyline.

UPDATE: I was wrong. Cadman sat briefly as a Conservative MP post merger until he lost his nomination and then sat as an independent a few months later. I think that it is still more accurate to describe Cadman as an Alliance/Reform legacy MP rather than Conservative as the context of “Cadscam” relates to his independence from the new Conservative legacy. Still, I argued against what was factual. My apologies to Lawrence Martin.

C-10, censorship, Liberal outrage and double standards

Jane Taber in the Globe and Mail today:

The Liberals acknowledged yesterday that they tried when they were in office to eliminate tax credits for offensive movies, but only to prevent a film about schoolgirl killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

Critics say that a similar move by the federal Conservative government is an attempt to censor the Canadian film and TV industry.

I tell ya, it’s never been easier to point out a double standard! While Taber does great work reporting on the Liberals coming forward first to suggest that they’ve done something similar, what she fails to mention is that the controversial section of the legislation limiting grants for subjectively offensive films is virtually word for word the same as the Liberal legislation!

In 2003, Sheila Copps, the Liberal Minister of Heritage introduced the following:

(3) The definition “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection 125.4(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

“Canadian film or video production certificate” means a certificate issued in respect of a production by the Minister of Canadian Heritage certifying that the production is a Canadian film or video production in respect of which that Minister is satisfied that

(a) except where the production is a prescribed treaty co-production (as defined by regulation), an acceptable share of revenues from the exploitation of the production in non-Canadian markets is, under the terms of any agreement, retained by

(i) a qualified corporation that owns or owned an interest in the production,

(ii) a prescribed taxable Canadian corporation related to the qualified corporation, or

(iii) any combination of corporations described in (i) or (ii), and

(b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.

Guidelines

(7) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall issue guidelines respecting the circumstances under which the conditions in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition of “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection (1) are satisfied. For greater certainty, these guidelines are not statutory instruments as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act.

and here’s the analogous parts of C-10, the Conservative legislation:

(3) The definition “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection 125.4(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

“Canadian film or video production certificate” means a certificate issued in respect of a production by the Minister of Canadian Heritage certifying that the production is a Canadian film or video production in respect of which that Minister is satisfied that

(a) except where the production is a treaty co-production (as defined by regulation), an acceptable share of revenues from the exploitation of the production in non-Canadian markets is, under the terms of any agreement, retained by

(i) a qualified corporation that owns or owned an interest in, or for civil law a right in, the production,

(ii) a prescribed taxable Canadian corporation related to the qualified corporation, or

(iii) any combination of corporations described in subparagraph (i) or (ii); and

(b) public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.

(7) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall issue guidelines respecting the circumstances under which the conditions in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition of “Canadian film or video production certificate” in subsection (1) are satisfied. For greater certainty, these guidelines are not statutory instruments as defined in the Statutory Instruments Act.

In February 2004 (under Liberal PM Paul Martin’s government), the following guidelines describing “ineligible genres of production” (those that do not qualify for a tax credit under the program:

a) news, current events or public affairs programming, or a programme that includes weather or market reports;
b) talk show;
c) production in respect of a game, questionnaire or contest (other than a production directed primarily at minors);
d) sports event or activity;
e) gala presentation or an awards show;
f) production that solicits funds;
g) reality television;
h) pornography;
i) advertising;
j) production produced primarily for industrial, corporate or institutional purposes;
k) production, other than a documentary, all or substantially all of which consists of stock footage; or
l) production for which public financial support would, in the opinion of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, be contrary to public policy.

Double standard? Yes, I think so.

Conservatives demand answers on Liberal fundraising scheme

In response to a story broken here three days ago, the Conservatives are demanding answers from Elections Canada on the Grit fundraising auction being held among the 8 Ottawa ridings, where according to the Liberals, “the sky is the limit” and successful bids do not count as donations.

From: Poilievre, Pierre – M.P. [mailto:PoiliP@parl.gc.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3:08 PM
To: commissionersoffice@elections.ca
Subject: “Liberal Party of Canada Cocktail Event” – Investigate

Commissioner of Canada Elections
c/o Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M6

February 12, 2008

Dear Sir,

I have become aware of a Liberal Party of Canada Cocktail Event scheduled for February 13th boasts that “the sky is the limit for this auction. A successful bid is not a political contribution…as such individuals, partnerships, corporations and associations are free to bid as high as they want.” The event boasts auction items including:

* Golf with former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin.
* Attending a hockey game with senior Liberal Member of Parliament
and former Liberal leadership contender, Ken Dryden.
* Tennis with Liberal star candidate Bob Rae and his brother Liberal campaign Co-Chair, John Rae.
* Lunch with Liberal Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff.
* Lunch with former Liberal Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau’s son, Justin.
* Lunch with former Liberal Leadership candidate, Scott Brison

…..and more!

This event raises serious questions surrounding the legality of the fundraising practices of the Liberal Party of Canada. I respectfully ask that you investigate whether or not this event complies with the sprit of the Federal Accountability Act and other federal political party fundraising legislation.

If you allow the Liberal Party to use these methods, you will have unilaterally repealed all of the campaign finance legislation passed over the last five years, and you will be reintroducing big money and corporate cash into our political process.

With the possibly of a federal election happening in the near future I hope that this matter can be dealt with great expediency.

Sincerely,

Pierre Poilievre
Member of Parliament
Nepean-Carlton