The Tories and the TV networks: Who is censoring whom? - 2014-10-16
For at least as long as Stephen Harper has led it, which is nearly as long as it has existed, the Conservative Party of Canada has believed Canada's big news organizations are out to get it. Now Conservatives believe they have proof.
Our tale begins on Oct. 8, when CTV News reported that the Harper government is preparing changes to the Copyright Act that would allow political parties to use material from news broadcasts in their political ads. Parties wouldn't need broadcasters' permission. They wouldn't have to pay. Any news footage a party liked could be plucked and inserted into a broadcast ad, surrounded by the party's spin.
The party that's been doing most of this sort of thing lately is the Conservatives. News clips of a succession of party leaders, including Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, Thomas Mulcair and now Justin Trudeau, have appeared in Conservative ads that were often effective at wrecking those leaders' reputation. For this reason—and because CTV reported that the copyright changes will be buried in an omnibus budget-implementation bill that has nothing else to do with election rules—opposition MPs called foul. "Very devious," said Liberal MP Ralph Goodale. "They just don't seem to have any ethical boundary at all," the NDP's Nathan Cullen said.