Hack or Flack: Aaron Wherry Edition

By Josh Lieblein

Here at Raving Canuck we specialize in tugging on the capes of Canadian journos who are a little too obvious in their sucking up to the Liberal government as they contend with each other for crumbs tossed to them by Gerry Butts and other such functionaries. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the Parliamentary Press Gallery ends and the Prime Minister’s Office begins!

As we all know, a Canadian Journalist’s main job is to smooth over any rough spots and shush away worries as the Liberal government plunders the public purse to pay for technocratic solutions to problems we didn’t know we had while adopting a laissez-faire attitude to the problems we do have. If the Opposition has a point, it falls to a Canadian Journalist to correct the record and say that, well, actually, no they don’t.

Few journalists do this better, or more subtly, than Aaron Wherry, “senior writer” for the CBC. When he writes an eye-glazing opinion piece trumpeting the Liberals’ new website patting themselves on the back for keeping less than a third of their campaign promises or praising them for breaking up several omnibus bills, it’s less obvious partisanship as it is burying any criticism of the party under a deluge of blandness and buzzwords.

To prove this point, let’s see if you can tell which of the following 14 statements were made by CBC Aaron Wherry (Hack), or by an actual Liberal mouthpiece (Flack).

“Stephen Harper has a long track record of making the wrong calls on Canada-US relations. Now he wants to sell the farm. Nice!”

"Always good to see an opposition MP doing his or her job and putting the health of our democracy before the potential threat of irony."

"The Liberal government has also eliminated a half-dozen tax measures that disproportionately benefited higher income families, including income splitting and the children's fitness tax credit."

“The Economic Update announced yesterday shows that our plan is working. Higher benefit payments 4 families, lower small biz tax are results.”

“Superclusters will energize regional economies and help build a skilled workforce, enhance Canada’s global competitiveness and create thousands of well-paying jobs for this generation and the next.”

"Why shouldn't Prince Charles speak out on climate change?"

"Does anyone, other than Maxime Bernier, want to mock "economic development"?

"Compared to Prince Charles, Julie Payette was pretty gentle on climate change skeptics."

"For the United States, it is for the country's better angels to somehow see it through. For Canada, the task is perhaps to learn from our neighbour's troubles."

"Though income inequality is not as extreme in Canada as in some countries, it is a concern here too. There are too many communities in our prosperous nation where people do not feel prosperous – where they instead feel left behind by an economy that is increasingly divided between the wealthy one per cent at the very top, and everyone else."

"The minister of finance worked extensively with the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner when he came into this job and followed all her recommendations as we expect everyone to."

"Morneau saying that a Conservative MP came up to him and said he "shouldn't take this personal, it's just a game" is cold blooded."

"The time has come to look beyond the boundaries of 'what politics can do for me.'" Great piece by @Bill_Morneau

"The concerted Conservative campaign to devote great gobs of QP day after day to Morneau is an interesting gambit."

Give up? Well, if you did, then that’s kind of the point.

Maybe #4 and #1 were the easiest tells for Liberal FLACKs. Those are Liberal MP Wayne Easter and former Trudeau advisor Roland Paris, respectively. #10 probably surprised you- that’s a speech given by Liberal Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. #5, which looks like the sort of dry explanation you would find in a CBC piece, is actually from a press release from ISED Canada, and #6 is from the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary himself, Gerald Butts.

#9, which directly criticizes the USA’s democracy, and #3, which puts a positive shine on the Liberals tax measures, as well as #7, a direct shot at Maxime Bernier, are from CBC HACK Wherry. Here’s #2 and #8 were also penned or tweeted by him.

The last four are, of course, people shilling for Bill Morneau. #10 is from that ridiculous press conference where Trudeau actually spoke for Morneau and told a journalist that they would have a chance to speak to the PM. #12 might look like Wherry at first glance, but it’s actually Catherine McKenna from back in 2015, before the election (which shows you how little the Trudeau Liberals deviate from their talking points). #11 and #14 are Wherry’s. I would like to blame “great gobs of QP” to someone like Gerald Butts, but I can’t.

Again, it doesn’t matter whether Wherry is actively being influenced by the Liberals or whether he just spends so much time in the Ottawa bubble that he doesn’t realize how much it’s affected his reporting.

And let’s be clear: Aaron Wherry is not part of the CBC’s Op-Ed section, like Neil MacDonald or Robyn Urback. Ostensibly, this playing defence for the Liberals falls under the purview of “journalism.” Which would be fine- if our public broadcaster actually reported in a manner than actually represented the public at large.

References:

  1. https://twitter.com/rolandparis/status/924071135490097152
  2. https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/926483347265806336
  3. http://oianews.com/trouble-in-paradise-justin-trudeaus-rich-friends-keep-making-things-awkward
  4. https://twitter.com/WayneEaster/status/923195737290272768
  5. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-promotes-innovation-for-economic-growth-and-jobs-in-ontario—shortlisted-superclusters-initiatives-will-energize-regional-economies-and-create-jobs-650415073.html
  6. https://twitter.com/gmbutts/status/927162542283214850
  7. https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/927621852725436417
  8. https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/926174305943277568
  9. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wherry-trump-canada-1.3692417
  10. https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2017/08/address_by_foreignaffairsministeronthemodernizationofthenorthame.html
  11. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/10/16/trudeau-morneau-scheer-press-conference-watch_a_23245141/
  12. https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/926154276036136965
  13. https://twitter.com/cathmckenna/status/599318549891555328
  14. https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/925791375383318528
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CBC Ombudsman’s Response to My Complaint Letter

On November 10, I wrote an open letter to the CBC ombudsman asking why CBC chose to completely ignore the bombshell story about the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign allegedly rigging the Democratic National Committee nomination process against Senator Bernie Sanders. CBC has covered Clinton’s book tour and did a report on how she warned a Canadian audience that democracy is under attack. Now that it has been revealed Clinton herself might be one of the assailants of America’s democracy, you would think CBC would find it newsworthy enough to cover.

Below is the response I received from the CBC Ombudsman on November 14.

Dear Mr. Gordon:

CBC’s Office of the Ombudsman is independent of CBC News management and thus has no say in day-to-day decision-making about which stories are covered. The CBC Ombudsman has a mandate to determine whether information content the CBC has produced fully respects CBC’s journalism policy. However, I have shared your email with Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News, so that she will be aware of your concerns.

Sincerely,

Esther Enkin

General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News Jennifer McGuire was Cc’d in the email so I sent a response the same day to both parties.

Thank you for the quick response and explanation of the ombudsman‘s role, Esther. Also appreciate you getting back to me despite others first submitting my complaint to you on my behalf, which I realized afterwards, when I read your policy, means you wouldn’t have to respond to my duplicate complaint. 
I look forward to hearing from you as well, Jennifer. I think it is a fair question I have raised.
Regards,
Graeme Gordon

 

Upon sending my response I received an automatic reply from McGuire’s email address saying she’d be away from the office until Nov. 20. Per the CBC Ombudsman’s complaint review process:

6. If your complaint warrants a response from CBC management, the Ombudsman forwards it to the appropriate news manager or program executive, who is responsible for handling the initial response to your complaint, in consultation with the journalist or programmer.
7. News and Current Affairs programmers have 20 business days to respond to your complaint. The Ombudsman may also intervene when the programmers faiI to respond to a complaint within a reasonable time.

Although my complaint was not considered under the realm of the ombudsman, thus unlikely falling under the Complaint Review Process, and it still hasn’t been 20 business days since my complaint was forwarded, I still expect an explanation from the Editor in Chief of CBC News as to why there was zero coverage on this important story. Below is another letter I have just sent McGuire (with Enkin Cc’d).

Dear Ms. McGuire,

I am writing a follow-up letter because I am unsure if my complaint will still be considered under the formal Complaint Review Process. My complaint was forwarded to you, but the initial response from Ms. Enkin says it was only so you would be “aware” of my concerns.

If my complaint has not been filed under the Complaint Review Process, should I still expect an explanation from you within 20 business days as to why CBC News thought allegations — from top Democrats no less — that Hillary Clinton rigged the DNC primaries were not important enough to report or cover? I am far from the only one flummoxed by this editorial oversight or conscious choice, and I think an answer from Canada’s public broadcaster is most definitely warranted in this case.

Thank you for your time in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Graeme Gordon

I will update the reader when I hear a response or after the 20 business days have passed. Below is the initial open letter to the CBC Ombudsman I published on Nov. 10.

Dear CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin,

Last week a sensational story broke. Former Interim National Democratic Committee Chairperson and high-profile Democrat Donna Brazile wrote an explosive piece for Politico claiming Hillary Clinton rigged the DNC against Bernie Sanders that was published on Nov. 2.

In the article, Brazile claims Clinton “resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet”; “Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt [of the DNC]”; the chief financial officer of Clinton’s campaign Gary Gensler “described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp”; “the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse”; and the DNC signed an agreement with Clinton’s camp that would essentially give Hillary “control [over] the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

These explosive claims from a high-profile Democrat should’ve been more than enough for the CBC News Network to find this worthy of an in-depth report. On top of this, further adding to the newsworthiness of this story, high-profile Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren would back up Brazile’s incredible claim that the DNC nomination process being rigged–before eventually walking her on-air statement back.

Despite all of these incredible claims, I have yet to see the CBC News Network publish anything covering this story. I have been watching The National nightly up until Nov. 6 and have not seen it reported once. In that same time period CBC’s flagship news program has spent many minutes on U.S. news, including a feature story last Friday on L.A. gentrification–a story that surely could’ve been pushed back for this far more newsworthy and pressing story. I also did a search of “Hillary Clinton” on the CBC News Network’s website and found no reports on these allegations against Hillary Clinton. However, I did notice extensive and largely positive coverage of Hillary Clinton on her book tour and other visits to Canada. Unless there were reports on CBC’s daily news broadcasts or on CBC radio, there appears to be zero reporting on this story by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

One invalid excuse I could see CBC citing–as to why it appears to have completely omitted the story–is that Brazile’s accusations were resoundingly dismissed as spurious by pro-Clinton news outlets and journalists spreading misinformation, supposedly discrediting Brazile and her claims. But ace reporter Glenn Greenwald debunked that bogus reporting. Furthermore, the attempted discrediting of Brazile took time and CBC should’ve reported it in the interim period. Finally, again, Warren initially backing Brazile’s claims made this bombshell story all the more newsworthy.

CBC has long been accused of having a pro-Democrat bias, and all of the above seems to reinforce this claim. Yes, President Trump’s daily antics deserve to get the lion’s share of CBC’s U.S. political coverage these days, but a former presidential nominee–who CBC reported warned Canada “democracy is under attack” back in September–being accused of rigging the democratic process within her own party certainly deserves significant coverage from Canadians’ public news network. I and many Canadians across the country would very much appreciate an answer as to why CBC News Network employees found this story merited no coverage (or very little coverage). We eagerly await your response.

Sincerely from a concerned Canadian citizen,

Graeme Gordon

 

 

 

Patrick Brown fires up Ontario Conservatives at the PC Policy Convention

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Leader Patrick Brown was welcomed to a thundering crowd on Saturday. His two accomplished younger sisters, Stephanie and Fiona Brown, a dentist and lawyer respectively, introduced their brother to the stage at the PC’s policy convention.

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Brown’s sisters, Fiona and Stephanie introducing their brother. Photo Credit: Ying Jiang.

“Mental health should be treated no differently than physical health,” said Brown to loud applause midway through his speech.

In Brown’s speech he went over his core promises of his party’s policy manifesto, laid out in glossy magazine for the press and party members.

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Brown’s speech focused on his top five proposals that he and the PCs are calling “the People’s Guarantee.”

The top five proposals comprise of lowering income tax for the middle class by 22.5 per cent, a 75 per cent tax refund for childcare, an average of 12 per cent more off hydro, $1.9 billion, matching federal funds, to mental health over ten years and the “first ever Trust, Integrity, and Accountability Act.” Brown also signed a promise that he would not seek a second term if he becomes premier and doesn’t deliver on these core proposals. No word was given on what he’d do in the case of a minority mandate.

Brown’s and the Ontario PCs’ policy included almost another 150 proposals to overhaul the provincial government if they take over the reigns in 2018. A lot of these proposals are either tax breaks for Ontarians or additional program and infrastructure spending—like $5 billion in funding for new subways in the GTA—yet the PCs are claiming they’d balance the books in their second year at the helm.

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Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown speaking to PC members on Saturday in Etobicoke. Photo Credit: Ying Jiang

Liberal MPP and Minister of Transportation Stephen Del Duca was quick to rain on the PCs’ parade. “Over the last two years or so, Patrick Brown has been running as fast and as hard as he possibly can away from his track record,” Del Duca said to reporters shortly after Brown’s speech.

“We know, that after all of the policy discussions that he still refuses to level with the people of Ontario about what he would cut when he pulls back the curtain—and we’ve seen this in the province of Ontario.”

Del Duca then went on to invoke the infamous line from former PC leader Tim Hudak, when in the last election he said he would cut 100,000 public sector jobs, a statement that proved to be disastrous in the last election.

Despite the Liberals and the NDP bashing the PCs’ manifesto, the PCs also had economic experts give their de facto stamp of approval.

The PCs had the first Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page (appointed by the Harper government) look over and assess their plan.

“The fiscal estimates underlying the Ontario PC platform have been deemed reasonable,” said Page in a statement included in the PC’s press release.

High-profile UBC Vancouver School of Economics Prof. Kevin Milligan also reviewed their estimates “without compensation.”

“The Ontario PC policy platform proposes to find 2.8 billion in savings by 2021. Controlling costs for a provincial government in Canada depends mainly on the organization and compensation of public sector workers,” wrote Milligan in a blog post. “In my view, a government with firm attention to cost management can achieve savings in the range proposed by the Ontario PC platform.”

How the PCs intend to find those cuts is still largely up in the air, especially with all of their new spending and tax cut proposals.

During the introduction Brown’s sisters joked about how they convinced Brown to finally change his haircut from the gelled hedgehog look to a more natural, slightly longer do.

For those rolling their eyes, perception is reality is no truer than in politics. Demeanour and appearance matter, and to many, even some within the PCPO apparently, according to a Toronto Star profile from yesterday anyway, believe Brown hasn’t exactly projected warmth in public appearances and ads before now. But that likely won’t matter much because the majority of Ontarians haven’t paid attention yet (less than half of residents know who Brown is at this point). His sisters and supporters certainly gave him a boost on Saturday.

Brown’s speech appeared to go over well with members I spoke to, even though there were a lack fiscal cuts proposed.

“I was very impressed with his vision for reducing taxes for the middle class,” said Suzanne Pupkin, a PC member, part-time dental hygienist and full-time real estate agent. “Loved his policy for funding mental illness.”

For those interested in the rest of the PCPO policy proposals you can check them out on my Twitter account. In the coming days and weeks I’ll further analyze the PCs’ policy proposals

 

 

 

Canada’s Speech Shine Gets A Little Duller

By Josh Lieblein

Canadians who like to look down their noses at the Yank barbarians and their primitive and uncivilized notion of “free speech” are having a bit of an awkward week.

Convinced as they are that control by a select few is preferable to the messy democracy to the south, where–in their minds–the failure to control speech and shield the public from intemperate outbursts paved the way for the rise of Trump, they were nevertheless sent scrambling to defend the Canadian model after the discourse in three seemingly separate arenas weakened their position.

First we have the holding forth of multiple survivors of sexual harassment and assault. All over America, once powerful men are being brought down and censured for violence against women. Like dominoes, one after another they fall as the country struggles to reconcile itself to the epidemic of abuse against women.

Canadian women are, unfortunately, subject to the same daily harassment and violence. No one could convincingly argue otherwise without making it sound as though Canadians have evolved past the tendency to abuse.

And while defenders of the Liberal aristocracy and Trudeau’s post-nationalist vision of a Canada that has decisively defeated the social ills plaguing the rest of the world no doubt believe that they ARE in fact more highly evolved life forms, they say nothing for fear of looking arrogant and provoking those within our borders whom they see as less enlightened.

Which is, of course, the problem. The fear of consequence, and of Embarrassing Canada On The World Stage perpetuates the cycle of violence and harm against women. But of course our cultural overlords have made their choice, and have done so for the rest of us. Better to suffer in silence than admit the Americans, with their culture that permits discussion of difficult subjects, might have a point.

Then we have the situation at Wilfrid Laurier University involving a TA who was censured behind closed doors for exposing her students to the ramblings of Jordan Peterson.

Leave aside for a moment whether Peterson’s arguments have merit or should have been shown, and focus on the university’s fearful and shadowy response–to discipline the TA privately in the hope they could hush up the controversy which, despite their efforts, exploded into the public realm.

Once again, concern for reputation and the Canadian impulse to treat a potentially explosive situation with kid gloves rather than–the horror–provide teachers with guidelines, or discuss the issue with the class beforehand and come to a collective understanding beforehand–won out.

Unlike the foolish Americans, who impudently refuse to be governed by elites, the Laurier professors who administered this impromptu hearing believed themselves suitably qualified to take the decision out of the hands of those below them. If the profs botched it massively and came off as bullies, well, that’s just the exception that proves the rule of Canadian social supremacy.

Finally, we have the latest revelations involving the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. As reported by the CBC, the inquiry has “become about self-image and protecting the commissioners”. The top priority of all staff is to “protect the commissioners from criticism or surprises.”

Ah, but I must be careful with my words. This is not an undignified American reckoning over slavery and racism, over which they fought a Civil War, and against which marchers marched a century later, and which continues to crop up in protests by NFL players against the anthem. This is a PROPER Canadian Inquiry, a model of restraint and dignity. The individuals conducting the process are thus beyond reproach, and to ask questions about whether the thing is progressing at all and might fall off the rails entirely is opening the door to Trumpism, and Leitchism, Fordism and lurking Harperism.

And so let us not bring up for discussion the notion that these three news items reveal that we Canadians may not be the master progressive race that we imagine ourselves to be. That isn’t the Canadian way.

Open Letter to CBC Ombudsman: Where is the Hillary Clinton Allegedly Rigged the DNC Coverage?

The following is an open letter to the CBC ombudsman in regards to the missing coverage on the explosive accusations against Hillary Clinton and her campaign in which they apparently rigged the Democratic nomination against former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. I encourage anyone who agrees with the following letter to copy and paste it and send it to the CBC ombudsman as well. I encourage everyone in agreement with this letter to join in polite criticism in what appears to be extremely biased coverage–by complete omission–or gross negligence perpetrated by our public broadcaster. I have written one letter to the CBC ombudsman in the past, but received no response. If enough of us send this letter we should apply enough pressure on the CBC that they’ll have to answer for either egregious bias or an unbelievable oversight.

Dear CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin,

Last week a sensational story broke. Former Interim National Democratic Committee Chairperson and high-profile Democrat Donna Brazile wrote an explosive piece for Politico claiming Hillary Clinton rigged the DNC against Bernie Sanders that was published on Nov. 2.

In the article, Brazile claims Clinton “resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet”; “Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt [of the DNC]”; the chief financial officer of Clinton’s campaign Gary Gensler “described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp”; “the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse”; and the DNC signed an agreement with Clinton’s camp that would essentially give Hillary “control [over] the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

These explosive claims from a high-profile Democrat should’ve been more than enough for the CBC News Network to find this worthy of an in-depth report. On top of this, further adding to the newsworthiness of this story, high-profile Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren would back up Brazile’s incredible claim that the DNC nomination process being rigged–before eventually walking her on-air statement back.

Despite all of these incredible claims, I have yet to see the CBC News Network publish anything covering this story. I have been watching The National nightly up until Nov. 6 and have not seen it reported once. In that same time period CBC’s flagship news program has spent many minutes on U.S. news, including a feature story last Friday on L.A. gentrification–a story that surely could’ve been pushed back for this far more newsworthy and pressing story. I also did a search of “Hillary Clinton” on the CBC News Network’s website and found no reports on these allegations against Hillary Clinton. However, I did notice extensive and largely positive coverage of Hillary Clinton on her book tour and other visits to Canada. Unless there were reports on CBC’s daily news broadcasts or on CBC radio, there appears to be zero reporting on this story by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

One invalid excuse I could see CBC citing–as to why it appears to have completely omitted the story–is that Brazile’s accusations were resoundingly dismissed as spurious by pro-Clinton news outlets and journalists spreading misinformation, supposedly discrediting Brazile and her claims. But ace reporter Glenn Greenwald debunked that bogus reporting. Furthermore, the attempted discrediting of Brazile took time and CBC should’ve reported it in the interim period. Finally, again, Warren initially backing Brazile’s claims made this bombshell story all the more newsworthy.

CBC has long been accused of having a pro-Democrat bias, and all of the above seems to reinforce this claim. Yes, President Trump’s daily antics deserve to get the lion’s share of CBC’s U.S. political coverage these days, but a former presidential nominee–who CBC reported warned Canada “democracy is under attack” back in September–being accused of rigging the democratic process within her own party certainly deserves significant coverage from Canadians’ public news network. I and many Canadians across the country would very much appreciate an answer as to why CBC News Network employees found this story merited no coverage (or very little coverage). We eagerly await your response.

Sincerely from a concerned Canadian citizen,

Graeme Gordon

If you agree with the above letter, please copy and paste it to the complaint page of the CBC ombudsman, signing the end of the letter with your own name. Make sure to share the letter on social media, too, so others will follow suit, adding pressure on the ombudsman to give a formal response. We can then push back if there has not been a response in a reasonable time period. Finally, post your email receipt online (personal information redacted of course) from the ombudsman so that we have more proof that many members of the Canadian public are demanding an answer for why this egregious omission of an incredibly newsworthy story was committed by our so-called public broadcaster. 

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The No Wynne Scenario Podcast (Ep. 8): Municipalities and the Province (October 26, 2017)

Apologies for the long hiatus. This podcast was recorded back on October 26. In this episode Josh and his anonymous municipal political activist explain how municipalities work politically, including their relationship with the province. We also discuss the Sudbury bribery trial being thrown out by the judge, as well as Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Patrick Brown’s decision to refuse to apologize to Premier Wynne for saying she would stand trial, even after she filed suit against him.

The Lowdown on Kathleen Wynne’s Campaign Manager David Herle

By Josh Lieblein

David Smith. Don Guy. Jean Lapierre. Gerald Butts. Laura Miller. Katie Telford.

David Herle wishes he was part of this elite group of Liberal magicians. And while it must be validating for him that Kathleen Wynne trusts him enough to manage her re-election bid–enough to reward him with 900K in lucrative contracts–there are those within the Liberal fold who have reason to doubt that ol’ Diamond Dave can get the job done.

I suppose you necessarily must grow up with a desire to prove yourself when you belong to one of the few Liberal families in the great province of Saskatchewan. Apparently Dave’s dear sister Allyce bravely faced off against current CPC leader Andrew Scheer in his first electoral outing and placed third. Dave, meanwhile, distinguished himself as a driver for then-Saskatchewan Liberal Party leader Ralph Goodale, the only MP who has hung around long enough to represent both Trudeau governments.

When you grow up with King Ralph as your political high-water mark, it tends to create a bit of insecurity when you’re in the same room with infamous Trudeau advisor Keith Davey. That’s probably why Herle admitted in a moment of weakness that he wanted his name to surpass that of the infamous Rainmaker.

Unfortunately for our hero Dave, the upper echelons of the Liberal Party looked askance at him for his rough Prairie roots. As member of the John Turner faction of the party in the 80’s, the harassed and beleaguered Herle was repeatedly undermined by Trudeau Sr.’s Laurentian elites to the point where Dave reportedly lashed out and called Davey “a son of a b*tch“.

The embattled Mr. Herle did what all Liberals spurned by the Trudeau inner circle did: join Paul Martin’s camp. From there things turned out like you’d expect–a plum position at Earnscliffe, the lobbying firm fingered in the sponsorship scandal, a decades long brawl with Chrétien loyalist Warren Kinsella, and recurrent guest spots on political panels thanks to his friendship with Peter Mansbridge.

Through it all, Herle would continue to go overboard in carrying water for his old pal Ralph Goodale, ensuring that the sole Liberal seat in Saskatchewan would be held by Ralph and nobody else. At one point, he would be found spinning one of Goodale’s nomination rival’s thank-you outings for beer and pizza for campaign volunteers into a PSA against underage drinking.

But it all came crashing down when the responsibility for the 2004 and 2006 elections were placed on Herle’s shoulders. As the Liberal numbers plummeted in 2004, Herle went public with the dispiriting assertion that his campaign was “in a spiral“, which is exactly the sort of thing a group of candidates want to hear from their skipper.

Banished to Middle Earth after the Liberals were finally driven from power, he set up his own firm, the Gandalf Group, putting out economic prospecti, cataloguing his own positive press clippings, and carrying out interesting public opinion research. By 2012, he was still carrying a torch for Paul Martin, arguing that Mr. Dithers had built the party in the West in a way that Chretien never had, and that the Liberals would have been a truly national party if it hadn’t been for that inconvenient Sponsorship Scandal ruining things. As Trudeau soaked up all the glitz and glamour, Herle was relegated to clearing the way at the provincial level, orchestrating victories for Brian Gallant in New Brunswick and Kathleen Wynne in Ontario.

For all this, though, the Liberal A-team doesn’t seem interested in letting him make the calls. Trudeau rejected his pitch to use attack ads in 2015, and when things looked grim for Justin in the pre-election run-up and rumours were circulating that Gerald Butts might end up benched, Herle was–purely coincidentally, no doubt–being tapped as a potential replacement.

Fitting, then, that the politically desperate and seminally unpopular Kathleen Wynne would turn, once again, to the only Liberal as apt to attack when cornered as she is to manage what could well be the campaign she and the Ontario Liberal Party go out in a blaze of vainglory.

CBC’s The National Reminisces about Justin Trudeau’s Victory while reporting on Bronfman Tax Haven (Nov. 5, 2017)

(What Was Wrong With CBC’s The National Mission Statement.)

Time allotment for The National stories on Sunday:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vR97AXIXa6sodK8DYbbWpnn6iFD_Jm6VrHgIupdeZiWgvQOXgUgpeIWYvC_V9Qrzo-YuK6Boxolazpq/pubchart?oid=1966259362&format=interactive

 

Last night’s The National was the last show in the old format, and you can’t say they didn’t go out with a bang in having a blockbuster news day.

The lead story was the horrific massacre in Texas. The story was well done and very informative for how little time they had to prepare the story. (Have to give credit where credit is due.) I don’t really want to discuss this horrible tragedy anymore than that for now.

The National then moved on to the main event, the Paradise Papers that they–in tandem with journalists from around the world–had been working on for months. The CBC spent 29 minutes on the Bronfmans and Koblers apparent offshore trust and their connection to the Liberal Party of Canada and PM Justin Trudeau. Here’s The Toronto Star piece in case you missed it. (The Star report, although very thorough, conveniently left out the bombshell factoid that the Bronfman family apparently pressured the CRA into letting them move $2 billion of their family fortune out of Canada tax-free. Kudos to The National for bringing it up.) I’d say most of this reporting was fair, however, The National broke up the reporting on the Canadian angle to the Paradise Papers into two parts, with the first part as a four-minute news report and analysis, then reports on Trump’s top advisor’ and the Queen’s connections to the tax haven followed before the latter 25-minute feature story on the Bronfmans and Koblers (worth watching) was aired.

The National‘s initial report was adequate. They even gave opposition MPs, including Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, time to speak about the revelation. The only problem I had was how the CBC didn’t go deeper into Trudeau’s relationship with Bronfman. It seems the CBC is pinning all of this on the Bronfmans and their associates instead of focusing on how Trudeau and his father play a role in this. What’s more interesting is how the reporting on Trudeau was juxtaposed with the reporting on Trump and his connection to his top adviser. In that three-minute report the CBC went for the jugular in tying Trump to billionaire Wilbur Ross. In the 25-minute in-depth feature about the Bronfmans and their tax avoidance Trudeau is only presented at the start of the report where they show about a minute of him on the campaign trail gladhanding with supporters and telling adoring Liberal crowds sweet nothings. Very little is mentioned after that about Trudeau’s personal relationship and friendship to Stephen Bronfman. The way CBC presented the story–through images anyway–made it appear as if a smiling and loved-by-everyone Trudeau just met this Bronfman bloke on the campaign trails. Here’s a bunch of the cheery images of Trudeau in the extended segment talking about the supposed heyday of Trudeau mania 2.0 (even though he won only 0.1 per cent more than Harper did in the popular vote). CBC was sure feeling nostalgia for sunnier days.

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Now compare that to the images of Trump in the report about his business associates ties to the Paradise Papers.

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When the two stories are juxtaposed its as if Trudeau has just been unwittingly brought down by an acquaintance while the ominous U.S. report suggest Trump is linked to billionaire Wilbur Ross’ company’s ties to Russia, too. It’s also interesting that the CBC did not do a similar web of faces of the two generations of Bronfmans, Kolbers, and Trudeaus all closely tied. Below I provided a transcript of the Trump report and then the introduction to the feature on the Bronfmans, the part that talks about Trudeau, so you can see the contrast for yourself.

Heather Hiscox: The more than thirteen-million records in this leak also reveal secrets in Washington, including a top member of Donald Trump’s cabinet. Wilbur Ross is Commerce Secretary. But his deep ties to Trump, and as these documents suggest, his financial ties to Russia are what’s causing a stir tonight. The New York Times and the BBC looked into this part of the story as part of global collaboration. Keith Boag has the details.

Trump: Wilbur mentioned a couple of words: reciprocal trade.

Boag: One thing that separates Wilbur Ross from the other billionaires that Donald Trump has at his cabinet table is that how far back in the President’s history he goes, and how important he was in making Trump what he is today.

David J. Johnston: If it hadn’t been for Wilbur Ross Trump would not be in the White House.

Boag: David J. Johnston has chronicled the ups and downs of Trump’s business career for three decades. Including his failure in Atlantic New Jersey, with the money losing Taj Mahal that almost sank Trump. Ross, Trained as a bankruptcy adviser, engineered a deal for Trump that kept him afloat by establishing that the Trump name had its own value as a brand.

David J. Johnston: Wilbur Ross was a key negotiator in Donald Trump not having to go through bankruptcy and not getting swept into the dustbin of history.

Boag: This year Ross became the United States Secretary of Commerce. He divested most of his business assets, but kept a stake in a shipping company called Navigator, where he was once chairman. One of Navigator’s biggest customers is Russia’s gas and petro-chemical company Sibur. mong Sibur’s owners, President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, and…

(Now introduction of the feature on the Bronfmans.)

Gillian Findlay: Well he is probably the Bronfman that no-one has ever heard of, Heather. He’s always kept a very low-profile as a businessman, a philanthropist, an environmentalist. But in 2013 he became a powerful player in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.

Trudeau: Pleasure to meet you.

Person in the crowd: Hi, Justin.

Trudeau: Hi!

Gillian Findlay: It was a summer caucus retreat in P.E.I. And for the first time in a long time Liberals were upbeat [cheery music in the background]. A new charismatic leader [cheers], A new hope for power.

Trudeau: Across the country people have told me that we need better. And for the first time in a long time, people are open and hopeful about the Liberal party of Canada.

Findlay: Among the assembled was a man not much use to the campaigning part of politics, but a man the party would now rely on to raise the money it takes to succeed. Trudeau and Bronfman chuckle] Stephen Bronfman had been named to the party’s national board.

Apparently the CBC was incessantly reporting on the redesign of The National all of Monday as if it a breaking story instead of all the incredible news still developing from yesterday. Even Sunday’s broadcast wasted 30 seconds hyping it. Tomorrow I’ll have fun deconstructing the stupid concepts of having four hosts and less stories. I’ll also have the letter to the ombudsman on how the CBC has still refused to report on the explosive, and very likely real, allegations that Hillary Clinton rigged the DNC nomination.

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If you’re fed up with CBC’s bias please make sure to click on the link below and give Sunday’s program a thumbs down.

The National for Sunday, November 5, 2017

 

 

 

Still No Word on Hillary Clinton Scandal, But 20 Minutes for ‘Ask Bob’ on Climate Change in Friday’s ‘The National’ (November 3, 2017)

(What Was Wrong With CBC’s The National Mission Statement.)

Time allotment for The National stories on Friday:

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What was wrong with The National on Friday:

  • Well the CBC got to the Julie Payette story finally, albeit a couple days late. CBC’s Katie Simpson did give some people of faith to respond to Payette’s inappropriate comments from a Governor General and also included a Facebook comment from Andrew Scheer questioning why Trudeau praised Payette for her comments mocking religion. Unless the CBC couldn’t get a direct comment from Scheer in the past couple days, I find it interesting that Trudeau got a lengthy part of this segment to explain his thoughts on the matter but Scheer only gets a Facebook response included in the report. The report also didn’t make it clear how unprecedented Payette’s comments are for a Governor General, and didn’t show that the Liberals are promoting Payette’s divisive comments on Twitter.

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  • The next report proved The National can put together breaking news when it puts its mind to it. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna confronted a Rebel Media reporter out in B.C. for the controversial right-wing media outlet calling her Climate Barbie. Personally I think Rebel calling politicians names is completely juvenile, however I think they have a right to say it if they want to, but don’t expect to be taken seriously as a news organization then. I find it interesting that this event happened a few hours before The National aired and the flagship program was able to fit this in as its second report. Many other stories, like Payette’s, The National completely misses or reports days late. But this involved the infamous Rebel Media, which the Liberals and much of the media are using to try and smear Scheer because of his campaign manager’s involvement as an IT guy and one of the founders of the conservative outlet. (Full disclosure, I’ve written extensively on The Rebel’s antics over the past several months for Canadaland.) So of course the CBC seized on the opportunity to report on this story, but ignored the Rebel story from a year ago that was blowing up on social media again this week about McKenna’s department buying a brand new Tesla, old porsches, and other luxury cars for “emissions testing.” The National ‘s one-minute report only showed McKenna’s side of the exchange. The CBC should’ve included the part where the Rebel reporter asks McKenna to stop using the derogatory term “deniers” for anyone who is skeptical of climate change studies and models. (Again, I think it’s inappropriate for journalists to come up with cheap shot names for politicians, but as a columnist myself, columnists do give politicians the odd nickname, but when most people at your organization repeatedly call a politician climate barbie it’s no longer appropriate in my humble opinion, especially when that nickname will largely be interpreted, myself included, as misogynistic and sexist. If you don’t agree with McKenna then rally your ideas and research together and fight her ideas. Don’t attack her personally.)

  • The National then did a segment on the latest job numbers that wasn’t very critical of quality of jobs–or lack thereof–and the number of part-time jobs. Otherwise the report was pretty accurate in saying the supposedly hot market is likely already cooling off. But the report still mostly would leave the viewer with a rosy picture of the job market in Canada.
  • The next segment was an update on clearing up the confusion Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson started earlier this week by saying fewer than five cabinet ministers were exploiting the same ethics loophole Morneau used. It turned out it was just Morneau using it, which begs the question, why did Dawson’s office say that from the outset? The report then finished by saying Morneau is planning to put his assets in a blind trust. Guess that scandal is over in CBC’s eyes, despite the opposition still hammering Morneau over his decisions to mislead the public and not recuse himself from working on legislation that would affect the price of his shares in his family’s company. I think the CBC thinks the story is confusing enough that most Canadians don’t really care that an acting Finance Minister held over a million shares in an industry that he was actively regulating in the legislature. The fact that he misled the public and decided not to relinquish control of this asset just adds to the sketchiness of his actions. Somehow CBC’s The National doesn’t think so.
  • Then there was a quick report on the use of the new Magnitsky Act against international human rights abusers in Canada. Have to commend the Liberal government on this one. Deserved more than a 20-second report by The National though.

The National then had a report on how the opposition, provinces, police, and Senators are asking the Trudeau government to slow down legalizing pot. The report was pretty balanced, but again they found a way to insert a relatively long clip of Trudeau walking and smiling.

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  • The next story worth mentioning was the rise in acid attacks in London, England, that have made it the acid attack capital of the world. The CBC reporter failed to explain that the increased immigration from certain areas of the world, and the culture those newcomers bring with them, is major factor in the epidemic. Instead, the reporter said it’s coming from East London, as if that explains why. Of course CBC would never posit the idea that too much immigration to a Western country from certain regions can have negative effects for the large cities of these countries. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-immigration, but CBC’s complete pro-immigration stance–lockstep with the Liberals–is outrageous when many European countries are facing tremendous problems from open door immigration policies. Instead, UK politicians’ ridiculous solution is to ban commonplace corrosive substances from minors and make them harder to obtain. Perhaps a second look at immigration policies in the UK are in order.

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  • The National then had an Ask Bob climate change edition where viewers got to send in questions for CBC’s science correspondent Bob McDonald. Heather Hiscox started off the segment with a primer where she said, “Our knowledge of climate change is still imperfect. But it is a field scientists have been building on for decades.” Okay, fair enough, but just because they’ve been building on it doesn’t mean they have any idea to what extent global warming is influenced by humans. Hiscox in her interview with McDonald asked him if he knew from his decades of covering climate change, if he knew it was going to be the pressing issue of today. Sorry, but geopolitics and possible nuclear war are far more pressing, the jury is still out on global warming and there are new game-changing technology just around the bend that might solve the problem quite rapidly. This whipping up of fear among Western citizenry to convince them to shoot themselves economically in the foot over this questionable phenomenon, while letting the developing world pollute to its heart’s content in these international agreements may not be the best solution. Both Hiscox and McDonald kept referencing the UN and its studies as if that international body can be trusted to be impartial. To be fair, some of McDonald’s explanations were interesting, but saying, “The Earth can heal itself if we stop pushing it. And I really believe we can if we take it seriously and stop saying that there is a debate about this. There is no debate.” Well there could be if you have some voices from the other side that CBC and the government call deniers. There are many scientists out there that are skeptical about the doomsday picture McDonald and the Liberal government paint. Perhaps the CBC should present this other side instead of just giving McDonald 20 minutes–pretty much half of The National program–to lectures us on the subject from upon high on his pulpit. This incredibly long interview left no time I guess to report on the Hillary Clinton scandal over how she apparently rigged the DNC against her opponent Bernie Sanders. It’s bizarre that this hasn’t been reported by The National or CBC at all. Instead the most recent reports on her are about her book tour into Canada and supposedly debunking her and Bill’s connection to a uranium deal with Russia. My God is the pro-Clinton bias clear.

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  • The final report was on gentrification in LA. I guess The National forgot about our own domestic problems with gentrification and a housing market that seems to only go up in prices. Perhaps a story on how Chinese gangs in Vancouver are laundering millions of dollars through casinos there might be influencing the housing market there and elsewhere in Canada. But that would be controversial, so instead The National reports on gentrification outside our borders.

If you’re fed up with CBC’s The National‘s bias make sure to share this on Twitter and Facebook. Also click on the link below and give a down vote.

Friday’s The National