CBC and Rosemary Barton are suing Conservative Party of Canada for copyright infringement
The CBC and The National host Rosemary Barton are suing the Conservative Party of Canada for copyright infringement over CBC clips used on the CPC’s “Not as Advertised” website attacking Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, as well as for using CBC debate clips on the CPC Twitter feed.
“The CBC obviously has rights as the copyright owner in its broadcast, but those rights are constrained by limitations and exceptions under the law that allow for use of its work without the need for further permission,” said University of Ottawa copyright law professor Michael Geist in a blog post, arguing the Conservative’s had the right under fair dealing to use the CBC excerpts, much like CBC borrows pieces of others’ work in its reporting.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday and argues the CPC violated the moral rights of CBC journalists John Paul Tasker and Rosemary Barton and its use of CBC content could confuse viewers to believe the public broadcaster is biased for the Conservatives, which goes against the public braodcaster’s mandate.
Ironically, many Canadians have instead been accusing the CBC of being biased for the Trudeau Liberals, including the journalism of Barton herself, who has a history of showing favouritism for the Liberal leader and his government, including taking an affectionate selfie with Trudeau to share on social media as well as asking him friendly frivolous questions in an end of year interview in 2018.
Barton has also made recent partial comments live on air, such as how the Trudeau government’s large deficits don’t matter or that the RCMP are “just asking a few questions” regarding the SNC Lavalin scandal investigation.
“Moreover, the claim over short clips over debate footage is enormously troubling, considering both the importance of broad dissemination of the debate and the fact that the debate involves little specific contribution for any individual broadcaster,” continued Geist in his post assessing the lawsuit. “CBC has an unfortunate history of overzealous use of copyright to stifle freedom of expression and that approach appears to have reared its head yet again as the 2019 campaign hits the home stretch.”
CBC’s lawsuit has had a chilling effect, with the video under question already being pulled from the CPC’s YouTube channel.
In 2015, Barton’s predecessor and mentor Peter Mansbridge also complained to CBC management about the CPC using some interview footage between him and Trudeau that included an embarrassing response from the Liberal leader in response to the Boston Bombing attack.
Mansbridge himself has been questioned for his partiality for the Liberals after his fawning interview with Trudeau the day he was sworn in as PM and his close friendship with Liberal partisan Bruce Anderson, who he regularly had on The National when he was the host.
Other political parties routinely use clips from broadcasters and haven’t typically been sued.
Outside of this recent action, the CBC has also been called out for multiple other instances of favourable Liberal connections or actions.
CBC journalist and parliamentary press gallery member Katie Simpson, for example, was questioned on why she would use a picture of a smiling Trudeau as her background on Twitter. (She’s since changed it.)
The CBC is also still collaborating with a survey company–that also received lucrative contracts from the Liberal government–to create its Vote Compass, an unscientific survey that tells voters which party they are most aligned with and in the past has been accused of favouring the Liberals.
Last week another CBC journalist wrote an incorrect “analysis” piece that claimed the B.C. carbon tax was revenue neutral, the same claim the Liberals are making about their own carbon tax, which Barton tweeted out. It took the public broadcaster 18 hours to properly correct the mistake and neither the journalist who wrote it or Barton made note of it online after sharing incorrect information.
During the 2015 election, Trudeau promised the CBC an additional $150 million annually to its well over a billion it receives in government subsidies annually.
During the campaign, Trudeau himself also joked about how his government would always provide preferential treatment to the CBC, while passing forward poutine.
On Thursday night, Barton questioned whether other journalists are legitimate, this after a court forced Trudeau government appointed Leaders’ debate commission to allow journalists who were critical of Trudeau into the event.
In response to the lawsuit, the Conservative party has sent out a mailer in which it argues it has the right to use short clips from the CBC.
When CPC Leader Andrew Scheer ran for the Conservative leadership he said he would scrap the CBC News division, but he has since backtracked on that promise, instead saying CBC needs to refocus on Canadian stories.
Mainstream journalists such as media critic and Canadaland founder Jesse Brown have said the CPC is completely within the realm of fair dealing and it not violating copyright.
Garnett Genuis is the Conservative MP representing Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta.
One of the most important and formative experiences for me on the road to getting into politics was competitive debate—in both high school and university. I would strongly recommend this activity as optimal preparation for anyone considering the same path.
Competitive debaters compete to defend a point of view. They very often will defend a point of view that is not their own.
Every competitive debater is taught early that an essential characteristic of good debate is something called “clash”. Clash is when arguments are made to directly counter the arguments made by the other side—to show that, even on their own terms, the other side’s arguments fail. The alternative to a good debate characterized by clash is a bad debate which resembles two ships passing in the night—essentially, debaters doing their own monologue without much reference to what others are saying.
Debate in the Canadian Parliament has come to be characterized by the near complete absence of meaningful clash. MPs deliver prepared speeches one after the other that cast arguments on their own terms and play to their own social media following. It is extremely rare that an MP would use his or her speech to deconstruct the arguments of a previous speaker.
Clash is essential in good political conversations, though, because a neutral listener has a hard time weighing out who is right and who is wrong if meaningful refutation and deconstruction of arguments does not take place. If we are to be what Edmund Burke thought Parliament should be—the “deliberative assembly of one nation”, then we must talk to one another and about one another’s arguments.
In the same speech, Burke told voters in 1774: “Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.”
It is very important for all members of the newly constituted 43rd parliament to reflect on the importance of clash and on Burke’s advice. If we are going to work together, then we must first be able to talk together, and disagree substantively, while seeking to persuade each other to change our perspectives. People who cannot argue together well will generally struggle to work together well. We must also denominate our conversations in terms of the common good, not the narrow particular interests of one group over another.
There are a few reasons why this will be particularly difficult in the 43rd parliament. The third largest political party exists explicitly to advance the interests of one region of the country over the interests of the rest of the country. The Bloc cannot be expected to seek to advance the national interest of a nation that they seek to break apart. Though less explicitly, the governing party has and will likely continue to pursue a strategy of ignoring the development needs of western Canada. When parties run regional instead of national campaigns, they are talking past some parts of the country they think they can ignore, and only talking to parts of the country that they think they need.
It has always been interesting to me that Justin Trudeau briefly did competitive debating as a student as well. However, he stopped competing early on, noting: “I discovered I had a serious limitation for either a debater or a lawyer. I wasn’t able to argue for something I didn’t passionately believe in.” Unfortunately, an inability to dig into, understand and defend views that are not yours is not just a limitation for a debater or a lawyer—it is also a limitation for a parliamentarian and for a leader. In the privacy of one’s own mind or as an intellectual exercise, one should be able to defend things that one does not believe in order to understand and argue against those same things later. A nation as diverse as Canada particularly needs leaders who are capable of understanding and responding to different modes of thought than their own.
I hope that we will be able to raise the quality of clash in upcoming parliamentary debates, but I worry that there are a variety of cultural factors, as well as institutional ones, that are working against us. We live in an age of social media filtering, where people easily get only the information that confirms their pre-existing biases. But more broadly, our culture has for a long time lacked a common understanding of what constitutes the common good—and so we generally treat political opinions as if they were expressions of individual emotive preferences as opposed to substantive deductions about facts. There are no short-term solutions to these problems but treating opinions as opinions instead of as feelings would be a good start.
For Conservatives, we can take some pride in the fact that our support grew across the country, and that we tried to speak in terms of national ideals and projects. Inevitably those ideals and projects were more popular in some places than in others. In this new Parliament, Conservatives must maintain a truly national orientation. I will defend the interests of my own riding, but I will seek to do so in terms that are persuasive to people in other regions and in other parties. Pursuing an idea of separatism in the west, which will never come to fruition, is not a good way to be persuasive to people in other regions. It is especially dangerous in an environment where our primary complaint is the land-locking of our resources.
I am not particularly optimistic about the amount of meaningful clash that will be on display in the next Parliament, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Amidst calls for proactive measures on the global “climate crisis”, 11,258 scientists from 153 nations agreed with the findings in a recent BioScience publication. They warn of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis”.
Unless we commit to reproducing less, “transition” from fossil fuels, cut meat from our diets and end deforestation, the effects will only worsen, according to the publication.
The Liberal Party dogma echoes these sentiments. From using Inuit Canadians as props to giving fictitious sympathies to the prairies (having labelled them as “climate change deniers” in the past), the false moral platitudes undermine attempts for rational discourse.
When that discourse sours to the received wisdom being beyond reproach, and media mix education with indoctrination, society suffers as a result.
Yes, climate change is just that–a serious issue trumped up by alarmist rhetoric.
Like health care, education, and yes, even climate change, contentious issues such as these require honest debate, realistic goals, and a plan to achieve said policy aims. Combating climate change can occur without alienating large swaths of the population or moving to “phase out” entire industries.
While it is no secret that Albertans are the least receptive to coercive climate action, the backlash from a recent poll demonstrates how divisive mere inquiry can be. Suggesting an alternative to the carbon tax even constitutes the label of climate change denier.
Therefore, if it is true that “Scientists have a moral obligation…to ‘tell it like it is’, then, perhaps, the demonizing of one’s opponents, as the political left often does, is not how we save the world from the pending apocalypse.
Effectively, the climate change issue has become a means by which tragedy is politicized, opponents mischaracterized, and the genuine need to educate gone with the wind. It’s all about centralized control, increased taxation, and not the freedom to choose.
The recent High Level fire was not caused by climate change, but arson
The CBC pinned the devastating fire this summer near High Level and Chuckegg Creek on climate change, using wire copy from Canadian Press reporter Corlette Derworiz with the misleading headline “Alberta wildfires linked to climate change, scientist says”.
Despite the fires still raging, the CBC article began by spinning the story in service of the climate change narrative, before the smoke had settled and the cause of the fire was even established.
We now know from the release of the RCMP’s investigation that the largest of the fires around Chuckegg Creek and High Level were caused by arson, something that was made public on Oct. 22.
Of course, climate change will result in more wildfires. Nobody would contend that warmer weather makes for drier conditions, but in this case, the reporting was dishonest. Emphasizing a single factor without acknowledging other causes, including arson, was irresponsible.
The premier’s response at the time included the need for more context as to why this fire season may be worse than others, including but not limited to climate change.
“‘I accept the science on anthropogenic climate change,’ Kenney said in a news conference. “But, in this particular instance, I can tell you we are on the five-year average for forest fires in Alberta… The large one right now is happening in an area where there has not been a fire for 80 years, and so, regardless of other factors, it was due eventually for a large wildfire.’”
In our interview with the CP reporter, she said, “Kenney’s comments aren’t wrong, but fire scientists say they don’t tell the whole story,” which is ironic, given the original story included misleading quotes from the scientist she interviewed.
It all seemed quite strange that the quotes from Dr. Mike Flannigan, who has a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences, and who specializes in fire’s interaction with climate, would give such a lopsided take on the northern Alberta wildfires. His quotes, peppered throughout the article, read like climate change propaganda, which, now having talked to him, are deeply misrepresentative of his views.
A quote like “We are seeing climate change in action,” makes it sound like Dr. Flannigan is speaking on the northern Alberta wildfires, and like other quotes, are lacking in context, suspiciously short, and do not reflect something a respected environmental scientist would claim while a wildfire is still burning.
When we called Dr. Flannigan to ask why he seemingly had attributed the fires solely to the increased risks from climate change, the ensuing discussions pointed our concerns back to Derworiz’s piece that the all-too-credulous CBC published because it fit the public broadcaster’s confirmation bias.
Upon questioning him, it was soon evident that Dr. Flannigan is very detailed in the way he handles the issue of forest fires. The quotes included were tailored down to meet the CP’s and CBC’s climate change narrative.
As Dr. Flannigan put it:
“Media like sound bites of ten to thirty seconds, where, unfortunately, you can’t get into all that you know, but you try and hammer home the major points and often I do try. But it doesn’t always make it because things get cut, that the amount of human activity in northern Alberta has increased significantly. And so we’re seeing more impact because more people are living and working in the forest as compared to 40 years ago. So that’s why we’re seeing more Chuckegg Creeks, Slave Lakes, and Fort McMurray. It’s because there are more people there, and they’re starting fires.” Dr. Flannigan
When we followed up with the CP reporter to question the editorializing in her news article, she said it was unfair to expect her to get the cause of the fire correct as she had less information when she wrote the article. This misses the point entirely.
The issue is that CP wrote a story about the northern Alberta wildfires and linked them to climate change before having all of the evidence. Even if the cause of the major fires around Chuckegg Creek and High Level had been strongly linked to climate change, it would still not be correct to write the story before confirming that as factually accurate.
If you don’t have the information, then you don’t write the story. That’s how journalism works.
On the call, the reporter pivoted her position from climate change being linked to the fires to climate change, generally making wildfires worse, which is a palatable position, but not one that was portrayed in her article.
She deflected criticism of the information she presented back at Dr. Flannigan, stating, “I’m not giving you different information. The prof is the expert. He’s the guy that you should talk to.”
Dr. Flannigan told us, “I don’t usually like to go to individual events and say, yes, that’s a direct result of climate change.” That contradicts the premise of the article which broadly links all the fires, including those close to Chuckegg Creek and High Level, to climate change.
Again Dr. Flannigan had said that he doesn’t just give soundbites nor link causes or factors to fires while they are still burning. He will provide extensive information to anyone who comes looking for his expertise.
“Media wants a hook, and the more sensational, the better. So, I can sometimes talk for 40 minutes, and it will be reduced down to thirty seconds or twenty seconds, and they [only] take snippets. And sometimes it’s out of context, or at least it’s not complete. It’s incomplete. And yeah, I mean, it’s a very complex issue, and to reduce it to one point is–yeah.”
The CP reporter responded to us when asked if it was okay to run a story before getting in all the evidence, saying, “Well, I don’t think that is any different than Premier Kenney making statements about what he thinks caused the fire at the time.”
Having mentioned Premier Kenney’s response to the fire, she claimed her article was a response to his “strong statements.”
“I believe that is why we did that story at the time,” she states.
Though the author isn’t wholly to blame, the CBC is dogmatic on the climate change issue and gladly publishes alarmist rhetoric on their website regularly. Those opposing the so-called “climate crisis” are ex-communicated as “deniers”, while Greta Thunberg is given sainthood.
Based on this editorial trajectory, it isn’t a shock that the CBC has set up an incentive structure that could result in a biased, inaccurate piece being published without sober second thought.
It doesn’t seem to matter to them that a misreporting of the issue could impact the lives of people living in northern Alberta. People need to know accurate information on what caused a fire to be able to make an informed decision on continuing to live in the area or not.
For the record, the CBC never updated the original article or made any retraction of the information provided within.
Since CBC receives well over a billion dollars of taxpayer money annually, it would be nice if Canadians could rely on accurate information, especially in stressful situations like wildfires or extreme weather events where evacuations occurred.
While CBC and CP mislead Canadians, The Post Millennial provided quality coverage of the region, even before the fires
The importance of shining light on underreported issues with a large platform or spotlight is crucial—especially so as we make concerted efforts to mend historical injustices.
And speaking truth to power, including the mainstream, is vital for the free press to do so consistently, and to do right.
During the Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday, the CPC Members of Parliament have chosen not to remove incumbent leader Andrew Scheer from his leadership position. The meeting started at 1:00 PM and lasted for well over three hours as the CPC caucus struggled to solve structural problems from within the party. One of the four questions the caucus had to answer was whether the MPs should give themselves the power to launch this leadership review.
The CPC MPs voted in favour of electing a caucus chair. They have also voted in favour of forming a method to kick MPs out of caucus. Finally, they then decided to vote against having choosing an interim leader due to their rejection of the leadership review.
Despite Conseravtive MPs rejecting to trigger a leadership review today, Scheer will still have to face a mandatory leadership review in Toronto this April.
According to well-connected figures within the party, both Erin O’Toole and Peter Mackay were preparing to leadership bids, with O’Toole eyeing up a possible no confidence challenge during the caucus meeting. For the confidence vote to be triggered, at least 25 MPs would have been needed to sign the notice.
When The Post Millennial approached Mackay with these rumors, the former Harper minister vehemently denied them. MacKay, however, did aggressively criticize Scheer, telling reporters that issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay added that Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau “was like having an open net and missing the net.”
In the Ottawa airport on Tuesday, Hamish Marshall, who is Scheer’s campaign manager, was confronted by CBC journalist Katie Simpson. When Simpson asked Marshall about the caucus meeting, Marshall responded that “it was none of her business.”
Disclosure: Yianni Macris formerly served as Parliamentary Assistant to CPC MP Ted Falk. He currently studies public relations.
I’ve kept rather too quiet with respect to my opinion on the election results, especially with how it turned out for the Conservative Party. Silent I can no longer be. Yes, the Conservatives won the popular vote. But I’d like to clear the air: winning the popular vote is virtually irrelevant; our electoral system is not designed like that.
Let’s take a step back for a second. Conservatives were freaking out when the Liberals had promised electoral reform, and move to proportional representation. Nobody wanted it. But now, Conservatives are harping on the fact that we won the popular vote.
Yes, if the Liberals had introduced their electoral reform, the Conservatives would’ve won more seats. But like many Tories, I’m still happy that electoral reform didn’t happen. As Conservatives, we support the preservation of our traditional parliamentary system which includes our electoral process. Conservatives need to drop the popular vote line and start working on how we will win the election in 18 to 24 months.
The result for the Conservative Party on Oct. 21 was devastating in every way possible.
While I certainly won’t go as far as to say that Andrew Scheer had the election handed to him, I will say that he was given the opportunity to wipe Justin Trudeau and his Liberal team away from forming a minority government.
First it was the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Affair, then SNC-Lavalin, and to top it all off, brownface. That’s not even mentioning the prior scandals before 2019. In democracies similar to ours, this would result not only in the loss of an election, but an impeachment (or something similar), along with a possible prosecution.
Scheer failed to capitalize.
Credit to Mr. Scheer for wiping the Liberals out of Alberta and Saskatchewan, making gains in British Columbia and Manitoba, and picking up a few seats in the East Coast.
But it’s not enough. Not enough for the 6 million plus Canadians that voted for their local Conservative candidates. Canadians deserved better than Justin Trudeau.
There was only one problem. Andrew Scheer couldn’t give Canadians the better that they both wanted and deserved.
Peter MacKay said it best: “To use a good Canadian analogy, it was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”
He is right. Politics is no different than hockey. Our leaders are like captains. Our candidates and members are no different than the rest of the players, and our staff teams are like the coaches, managers, trainers — essential for everything to come together on game day. On every team, there is a diversity of individuals. Each and every one of them with different opinions, faiths, ethnicities, etc.
Andrew Scheer didn’t lose because of his personal beliefs. He didn’t lose because of his views on abortion or same-sex marriage. He just didn’t know how to respond in the right way when asked. He knew he would be asked about his views. The fact that he wasn’t prepared for it (or just had a bad plan, perhaps) is grounds for concern amongst party members and supporters.
He chose to dance around every question with “this is the law of the land and will not change…” until Oct. 3. He eventually said that his “personal position has always been open and consistent. I am personally pro-life but I’ve also made the commitment that as leader of this party it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not re-open this debate, that we focus on issues that unite our party and unite Canadians.”
I actually don’t see anything wrong with that. Even Prime Minister Trudeau used to hold that same belief, as do many Liberal MPs.
Unfortunately, he missed out on one of the golden rules of politics: define yourself before your opponent defines you.
He was late to that battle, despite plenty of advance notice. And his weak response to the media didn’t help either.
He did a fine job of defining Trudeau prior to and going into the election, yet he flopped at defining himself.
There was the narrative that Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives were coming to take your right to abortion and gay marriage. Any individual with a good understanding of politics would understand that this was bunk.
But you can’t expect to change a narrative at the eleventh hour and hope for the best. That’s extremely irresponsible.
His team didn’t follow the playbook. When the team loses, the responsibility falls on the captain and head coach. A loss this devastating would result in a new captain and a new coach in any sport, especially with so much riding on the game.
It has been suggested by some Conservatives that we need a new leader. I believe we do, but not because of the personal beliefs that Andrew Scheer holds.
If that was the case, then that would ultimately disqualify the majority of former Prime Ministers from ever running for office today. The notion that an individual must conform to certain views in order to be deemed “qualified” for higher office, a political equivalent of a chilling effect is created. It inherently punishes someone for views that they are entitled to not just as individuals, but as Canadians.
That chilling effect is detrimental to our democracy and to diversity of public opinion.
Conservatives who believe that we need a new leader who holds certain personal views should try to see it this way.
Yes, a new leader should be picked, but for the right reasons. What is clear is that we need someone who has a much better communications strategy. A team that has everything planned out. A team that creates a playbook, and makes necessary adaptations should things go wrong. Someone who will define himself before their opponent defines them.