Rosemary Barton being removed as applicant in CBC’s lawsuit against CPC, still covering election
The CBC released a statement Saturday addressing the lawsuit it filed against the Conservative Party of Canada, which included mention of filing an amendment this coming Tuesday to remove CBC journalists Rosemary Barton and John Paul Tasker as applicants in the copyright infringement lawsuit.
“To be clear, CBC/Radio Canada was the driver of this process, not the journalists” reads part of the CBC statement that mentions removing the journalists’ names as plaintiffs. “CBC/Radio Canada named and added the journalists to the application because their images and content were used inappropriately.”
Lawyers uninvolved in the lawsuit but observing the situation believe it is highly doubtful that the CBC journalists were not aware they were applicants in the lawsuit.
“In a multi-party retainer situation there is a checklist the lawyers have to go through including advising clients of potential for conflict of interest as between clients,” said Toronto based litigation lawyer and Governor of the Law Society of Ontario Jared Brown to The Post Millennial. “It’s not likely that a major law firm failed that step. But if they did proceed without authorization, it could be professional misconduct, and the lawyers could be personally required to pay a costs order. This says nothing of the horrible optics of the [public ] broadcaster suing a political party in the midst of a campaign.”
If CBC journalists Barton, co-host of The National, and Tasker were aware of the lawsuit it would mean Barton co-moderated the leaders’ debate while not disclosing to the public she was suing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s party.
The copyright infringement notice was sent to CPC reps hours before the debate.
“Rosemary and John Paul will continue to cover the election,” said CBC’s public affairs head Chuck Thompson to The Post Millennial Sunday.
“…CBC/Radio Canada was the driver of this process, not Rosemary Barton or John Paul Tasker. We named and added them to the application because their images and journalism were misused for partisan purposes, negatively impacting perceptions of their independence.”
Thompson also cited previous copyright lawsuits CBC filed against CPC and NDP think tank The Broadbent Institute.
“And that happened during the 2015 election campaign when we sued the Conservative Party as well as The Broadbent Institute for the same reasons we took legal action last Thursday.”
Thompson did not provide any other examples of other federal political parties being sued or sent cease and desist letters for using CBC content, which federal parties also routinely do.
Many high-profile critics and experts have spoken out on social media saying CBC’s lawsuit is far more damaging for the credibility of the journalists and public broadcaster than CPC’s use of short CBC clips.
University of Ottawa copyright law professor Michael Geist says the CPC’s use of CBC clips falls well within the fair dealing provision of the Copyright Act, which allows others to use and reference parts of another’s work.
Barton in the past has repeatedly been accused by Conservatives of being partial for the Trudeau Liberals. Months after Trudeau became prime minister she thought it was appropriate to take a selfie with him and post it on social media. Recently she has made subjective comments favouring Trudeau and his party live on air, including dismissing the large deficits the Liberals have run and the RCMP are “just asking a few questions” about Trudeau and his staff’s involvement in potential judicial interference in the SNC Lavalin case.
The Canadian Twitterverse erupted on Saturday over the news CBC is suing the CPC. #DefundCBC was a top trending topic for the greater part of the day. The offending CPC attack video was shared widely on social media, one copy receiving over 750,000 views.
CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices state in the introduction of the “Conflict of Interest” section that “journalists are, first and foremost, expected to be independent and impartial. This means that our primary allegiance is to the public. Any conflict, real or perceived, between that allegiance and our personal or professional interests risks corroding the trust placed in us by Canadians.”
“The Conservative Party has grave concern that this decision was made on the eve of an election that CBC is to be covering fairly and objectively,” the CPC said in a statement. “The Conservative Party considers this a complete distraction in the final days of tightly contested election, and we will dispute this lawsuit fully.”
The party’s statement also said, “When you are funded entirely by taxpayer dollars, taxpayers should be able to use the footage.”
Barton’s predecessor at The National and mentor Peter Mansbridge came to his handpicked successor over the weekend on Twitter.
“A ridiculous situation at the CBC this weekend. @rosiebarton being targeted by trolls for something she had nothing to do with while CBC lawyers who engineered this mess enjoy their weekend.”
In 2015 Mansbridge sent an email to the head of CBC news complaining about a CPC attack ad that used a clip of an interview he did with Justin Trudeau in which the Conservatives used Trudeau’s comments on the Boston Bombing. His complaints led to a lawsuit against the Conservatives. When Trudeau was sworn-in as PM Mansbridge was ridiculed for his fawning exclusive interview with him. He also had his close friend and Liberal partisan Bruce Anderson giving political analysis (i.e. Liberal spin) for years on The National.
Other news broadcasters’ clips were used in the CPC attack ad but they have yet to file lawsuits against the party.
CBC is scrapping its flagship show The National’s new format that had a four-host format that slowed down the program to include long features.
The show was created in the fall of 2017 after Peter Mansbridge retired. The CBC cited negative audience feedback for the decision to scrap the new format, according to the Globe and Mail. The National had been losing tens of thousands of viewers over the past two years, as less and less Canadians have been tuning in.
Rosemary Barton has been moved from an anchor position to the position of chief political correspondent for CBC News. Barton was embroiled in a controversy during the 2019 election after she was named as a plaintiff in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada after the party used some CBC footage in a campaign attack ad, something all political parties do, which copyright experts said is likely acceptable under fair dealing.
Conservatives have long complained that Barton is partisan for Trudeau’s Liberals, citing her softball interviews of Trudeau, her taking a selfie with him in Washington, and dismissing the Liberal’s large deficit spending as not a problem.
“Television news viewership is driven by consistency, both in format and in presentation. Our audience told us they want to know what they can expect night to night: who will bring them the news and how it will be delivered. We listened. This season we have slowly introduced measures that lead to a more consistent program – including tweaks to our format and sharpened hosting roles,” executive producer of The National Chad Paulin wrote in an internal memo to CBC staff.
Paulin’s memo also addressed Barton’s move.
“Rosemary will bring her unmatched political insight to all of CBC News–including digital, podcasts, radio, and television political specials. She will continue to bring analysis to The National, including contextual reporting, long-form stories and key political interviews. Rosemary will also continue to host At Issue.”
At Issue is a segment included on The National in which political pundits give their opinions on Canadian politics.
Adrienne Arsenault and Andrew Chang, two of the four co-hosts of the scrapped format, will be the two hosts of the program from Monday to Thursday. The other co-host, Ian Hanomansing will be The National’s anchor on Fridays and Sundays.
By the summer of 2019 The National had lost nearly 25 percent (about 124,000 viewers abandoning the program) of its viewership from when the new format was launched, despite the CBC spending a lot in a promotional campaign to sell Canadians on the new anchors and format.
Jean Charest has announced that he will not be running in the Conservative leadership contest after weeks of speculation.
His announcement, however, has caused a great deal of confusion in the media, as the Quebec-based news publication La Presse first confirmed that Charest was running and then quickly delated it after more reports emerged minutes later contradicting this report.
Soon after this, the French-speaking arm of the CBC confirmed that Charest would not be running in a tweet, which the English anchor Rosemary Barton soon confirmed to the CBC’s English audience.
Much pressure has been placed on Charest by respected figures within the Conservative Party. Stephan Harper, for instance, reportedly resigned from the Tory’s fund board so that he could openly campaign against the former Quebec Liberal.
As well as this, MacKay and Charest were not intending to run against each other due to their long relationship in Conservative politics. MacKay, however, has consistently placed ahead of Charest in the polls, making any leadership attempt seemingly futile for the Quebecker.
What is notable about Charest’s decision, however, is that this may beckon in Vincenzo Guzzo’s leadership contest who previously stated to The Post Millennial that if Charest “doesn’t run I’ll run.”
Charest is currently under investigation for corruption during his time as premier. The investigation has been ongoing for six years, and so far, has not led to charges against anyone involved.
Jean Charest said in a statement that “After careful consideration, I will not be running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. I am grateful to all those who called me, sent supportive messages and mobilized for my potential candidacy.”
“On environmental issues, the CPC must offer Canadians a credible and ambitious plan in regard to the management of our natural resources and the fight against climate change. One does not exclude the other!”
Many Canadians feel the CBC is biased and doesn’t live up to its own standards and practices. Many Canadians have taken action: writing their MP’s, filing complaints, and taking to social media.
But now, with the CBC scheduled to appear before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to have their licence renewed, an unlikely corner of the internet–#Gamergate–aims to take things to the next level with a co-ordinated campaign to file complaints that they’re calling “#OperationCanadianBaConII”.
They take issue with coverage of gamers on the CBC, stretching all the way back to 2014 when the Canadian public broadcaster first promoted the narrative that #Gamergate was about harassing women (although there were undoubtedly misogynist bad actors within the amorphous internet group), and not about conflicts of interest between video game developers and video game journalists.
They’ve waited until now because the CBC has delayed the date of their consultation period for several years following a “regime change” at the CBC in 2018.
Lead #OperationCanadianBaConII organizer @LunarArchivist hopes that the complaints will prompt an official response from the Canadian government, and lead to the CBC revising their Journalistic Standards and Practices.
“CBC had done several hit pieces on #GamerGate and several supporters, including myself, had filed complaints with the CBC Ombudsman, Esther Enkin, only to have our concerns downplayed and dismissed in her reviews, which were always in favour of the CBC,” he said.
“After speaking with my local Member of Parliament, the idea occurred to me to take a page from the handbook of Operation Disrespectful Nod–a #GamerGate e-mail campaign where supporters were encouraged to inform advertisers of the dubious ethical standards of the websites who had employed smear tactics against us.”
@LunarArchivist says that there are at least a dozen people working together across multiple Discord servers involved with the operation. They’ve got until 8 p.m. EST on February 13 to get their submissions in.
“One hurdle has definitely been trying to convince non-Canadian #GamerGate supporters that they’re allowed to submit interventions despite not being from Canada,” he says.
“The announcement about its start was rather sudden and we’re still working on establishing a distribution network for the archive of all of CBC’s anti-#GamerGate coverage for use as a reference for those who want to concentrate on that aspect of things.”
The #OperationCanadianBacConII crew have been working to transcribe over six hours of audio and video broadcast and prepare a list of specific ways in which the CBC breached their own standards of practice, such as including the false claim that programmer Eron Gjoni accused game developer Zoe Quinn of sleeping with game journalists for good reviews in their reportage.
They’ve also noted when pieces critical of #Gamergate have disappeared from the CBC’s website, and documented how three separate CBC radio interviewers conducted the exact same interview with an anti-#Gamergate “pop-culture expert.”
“We want to raise public awareness of the fact that #GamerGate’s situation isn’t unique and the CBC tends to use the same tactics on others,” @LunarArchivist says.
“First impressions are important, and a bad one can do lasting or permanent damage to your cause or reputation. The longer false information is allowed to marinate in the public consciousness, the more likely it is to get accepted as ‘truth’, regardless of the facts. And the likelihood of this increases if the CBC doesn’t correct the record within a reasonable amount of time.”
This negative impression of gamers as a whole, perpetuated by the CBC is what really bothers the members of #OperationCanadianBaconII.
@LunarArchivists believes that while CBC employees were allowing their anti-gamer biases to seep into their reporting even before #Gamergate started to trend, the real issue is that CBC was just following the leader instead of asking critical questions about the narrative being spread.
“Many CBC journalists just threw due diligence to the wind and ran with the baseless claim advanced by Anita Sarkeesian and other social justice advocates for years that gamers were opposed to mainstream feminism and identity politics and harassing them.”
@LunarArchivist hopes that the operation will not only lead to more balanced coverage of gamers, but will also help other Canadians who are upset with the CBC’s coverage.
“I’m hoping that not just activists, but regular people will start taking a more active role in taking the CBC to task, especially since they get over a billion taxpayer dollars a year.”
Editor’s note: This article was updated to include Conservative MP and leadership candidate Marilyn Gladu.
A whole month has now passed since Andrew Scheer resigned as leader of the Conservative Party, and now, the race to replace him is well underway. Some candidates, like Peter MacKay, foresaw the untenability of Scheer’s position, and reportedly began to organize their bid long before the first vote of the 2019 election had been counted.
Other candidates, like Erin O’Toole and Pierre Poilievre, have been more cautious—discreetly organizing a team that can defeat both their blue-blooded colleagues in June, and then a wobbly Justin Trudeau in the next election.
As Peter MacKay said after the disappointment of the last election, the Tories’ failure to beat Trudeau was “like having a breakaway on an open net and missing.” This most Canadian of analogies should remain pungent during the leadership contest: the next election should beckon a blue-wave across the country. If the Conservative Party again fails to win the keys to the PMO then one is perfectly within their right to expand upon MacKay’s analogy: It would be like failing to invade Poland; or, more sportingly, like losing a boxing match with an amputee. To put it simply, it is more likely than not that the victor of this leadership election will become the next prime minister of Canada.
Due to the sheer significance of this leadership contest, The Post Millennial has composed a handy guide. Here’s who is likely to compete in the leadership election and how they plan to win it.
MacKay has not had the easiest start to the leadership contest. After tersely declaring his bid on Twitter, the long-standing Tory MP, Scott Reid, hit back, throwing the former Harper minister’s loyalty into question. Nevertheless, MacKay is a respected figure in Canada’s Conservative movement. Through his role as the leader of the Progressive Conservatives, MacKay was vital to the formation of the modern Conservative Party.
MacKay served in numerous cabinet positions throughout the Harper era and remains a favourite in the leadership contest. Despite the shaky start, polls have made it clear that the Nova Scotian is in a top position to win.
Like MacKay, O’Toole is another party grandee who commands a great deal of respect from within the caucus. O’Toole, rather exotically these days, served in the military. If he is elected, he would be the first Conservative leader in over 60 years with military experience.
Most recently, O’Toole has served as the Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs. O’Toole is not new to leadership contests, finishing third in the 2017 leadership election behind Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer.
I had the opportunity to meet Poilievre at a fundraiser. Immediately, he stood out as an effective speaker and as someone who could pose a serious challenge to the other candidates.
Poilievre is a career politician who, through his role as Scheer’s attack dog, has managed to garner wide support amongst the Conservative base. Poilievre has recruited the admired John Baird and the formidable Jenni Byrne, who is an accomplished operative who ran Harper’s 2015 campaign.
Gladu is, so far, the only female to enter the competition. Despite being a social Conservative, Gladu quickly made it clear that she would not re-open the abortion debate, and that she would happily march in a gay pride parade.
Before entering politics, Gladu worked as an engineer for Dow Chemical for over two decades. She was first elected in 2015 and served as a chair of the Standing Committee on Status of Women.
There are, of course, other candidates who are spending their time plotting for the leadership. However, for the sake of longevity, and the fact that Guzzo hasn’t received much media coverage, it seems only fair to discuss the Dragon’s Den star.
When The Post Millennial spoke to Guzzo a few weeks ago, he seemed uncertain whether he would throw his hat in the ring—stating that if the Quebec-based Jean Charest didn’t run, then he would be 75 percent sure that he would indeed run. Now, with the recent reports that Charest isn’t likely going to run, Guzzo’s ambition has solidified, telling me,”Yes. If [Charest] doesn’t run, I’ll run.”
Despite attempts to shrug off the comparison, Guzzo’s strategy has similarities to that of Kevin O’Leary’s leadership attempt in 2017. The most overt difference, however, is that Guzzo is Quebec-oriented. With the right-wing CAQ romping to victory in the 2018 provincial election, perhaps Guzzo is on to something. La Belle province is rich with seats, and if the Conservatives can persuade the fickle Quebecois, then Trudeau’s future as PM is in grave danger.