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CBC pundit who praised Liberals received $42,000 government contract

Power & Politics failed to disclose Alvaro’s company Pomp & Circumstances PR of Toronto received $41,946 in federal contracts

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Guests on CBC political discussions may have undisclosed contracts to work for the Liberal government, says a senior network producer.

The comment followed a Blacklock’sˆ Reporter story that the network failed to disclose one pundit was invited to praise cabinet on TV while working as a government contractor.

“Do these connections render Amanda Alvaro’s opinion less valid?” wrote Rafi Mustafa, executive producer of the CBC cable news network program Power & Politics.

“The mandate of the Power panel is to reflect the panelists’ different positions, partisan or not, and give them the opportunity to defend their own views and challenge those of other participants.”

Alvaro is a frequent commentator on the show. In public remarks, Alvaro praised cabinet as “one of the most successful progressive governments in the world.”

Power & Politics failed to disclose Alvaro’s company Pomp & Circumstances PR of Toronto received $41,946 in federal contracts. Payments included a sole-sourced contract to provide media coaching for a member of cabinet, Minister of Women Maryam Monsef.

Blacklock’s first reported on Alvaro’s contracts on January 29, 2020, and again contacted the CBC for comment on July 31. Producers claimed they only learned of the contracts August 5.

CBC Journalistic Standards And Practices guidelines state: “It is important to mention any association, affiliation or specific interest a guest or commentator may have so that the public can fully understand that person’s perspective.”

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters Code Of Ethics also mandates full disclosure of conflicts.

“It is recognized the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster,” says the Code.

“Absence of disclosure was a problem,” CBC Ombudsman Jack Nagler wrote in a decision critical of the Alvaro case.

“CBC has not lived up to expectations here.

“It was CBC’s responsibility in this instance to provide viewers with enough information to assess the comments these pundits are about to make. Are they academics or lobbyists? Detached observers or activists? Partisans or independents?

“It is predictable some will see a commentator on a panel such as this and wonder whose interests and what agenda they might serve.

“The best means for the public broadcaster to counter that skepticism is transparency. It doesn’t require forcing every program guest to open up their books and their contact list to the public, but it does mean CBC has to make sure it gives the audience all the relevant information about its guests each and every time.”

Blacklock’s last May 12 disclosed another CBC pundit on legal affairs, Professor Carissima Mathen of the University of Ottawa, was a $24,860 consultant to the Privy Council Office on court appointments.

CBC never disclosed Mathen’s contract.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Whistle Stop owner Scott to seek Wildrose nomination for next election

“We have to make sure it never happens again,” said Chris Scott.

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The Whistle Stop Cafe is open again and serving food in defiance of lockdown orders – with owner Chris Scott cooking up the idea to run for provincial political office.

Scott told the Western Standard on Thursday he will seek the nomination for the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency for the Wildrose Independence Party (WIP).

Scott gained fame in mid-January being one of the first restaurants in the province to defy lockdown orders and reopen his rural cafe.

Last week, in a scene reminiscent of Prohibition-era tactics, the RCMP moved in and seized all his beer. On Wednesday, the RCMP and Alberta Health Services officials conducted seized the property and padlocked it.

“This is no longer about trying to avoid bankruptcy or trying to save the restaurant, this is about making sure this never happens again in Canada or Alberta,” Scott said, as customers stopped by for a coffee and pancakes while he made prepared orders in a makeshift kitchen outside his shuttered establishment.

“I really feel we have to get this out to as many people as possible. We have to make sure it never happens again.”

Scott says he has been in touch with Paul Hinman — former interim leader of the WIP, and currently campaigning for the full-time leadership of the party — to help him through the nomination process. He noted a Wildrose constituency association has just been set up in the area.

If he gets elected, Scott said the first bill he will bring forward is one entrenching personal rights and freedoms.

The constituency is currently held by the UCP’s Ron Orr.

Scott decided to defy provincial lockdown orders and restrictions introduced by the UCP government and opened his restaurant on Jan. 21. He said he received overwhelming support and daily visits from the Mounties.

Scott is the only gas station or restaurant in Mirror, a town of about 500, 50-km northeast of Red Deer, and now he’s seeing people from all over the province stopping in.

“The law is garbage – it”s doing more harm than good,” said Scott in an earlier interview with the Western Standard.

“It’s also a financial issue, my sister and I were just sitting back and watching our savings dwindle.

“If they want to throw me in jail for trying to earn a living, go ahead,” said Scott, who could face a raft of penalties from fines, loss of his liquor licence and even jail.

Scott has owned the cafe since July 2019, but it has been a fixture in town since 1967.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Trudeau dismisses critics of Internet bill as ‘tinfoil hats’

Trudeau’s remark came under questioning yesterday of Bill C-10 that would regulate YouTube videos as programs subject to CRTC controls.

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Calling criticism of his Bill C-10 An Act To Amend The Broadcasting Act as the work of “tinfoil hats,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed denunciations of the first-ever federal internet regulations.

Trudeau’s remark came under questioning yesterday of Bill C-10 that would regulate YouTube videos as programs subject to CRTC controls, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

Conservative MP Michael Barrett (Leeds-Grenville, Ont.) called the bill an attempt at “silencing Canadians online” who use services like YouTube. “

Will the Prime Minister tell us how long it will be before every aspect of Canadian life must conform to his Liberal vision of Canadian society?” asked Barrett.

“The tinfoil hats on the other side of the aisle are really quite spectacular,” replied Trudeau, who added free speech online “is not negotiable by our government.”

Bill C-10 would compel YouTube management, not individual users, to comply with federal orders, Department of Heritage staff said at an April 23 committee hearing.

“When you or I upload something to YouTube or some other sharing service, we will not be considered broadcasters for the purposes of the Act,” said Thomas Ripley, director general of broadcasting for the heritage department. “In other words, the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission couldn’t call us before them and we couldn’t be subject to CRTC hearings and whatnot.

“The programming we upload onto YouTube, that programming we place on that service, would be subject to regulation moving forward,” said Ripley. “It would be the responsibility of YouTube.”

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole questioned the scope of internet censorship, in the Commons yesterday.

“Last night Reuters had a headline that said ‘the government was working on fake news legislation to tackle misinformation, hatred and lies’ as worries grow over media freedoms,” said O’Toole.

“We have been clear this is not about individual users,” replied Trudeau.

“That Reuters headline I was talking about was actually referencing new legislation being introduced in Hong Kong,” said O’Toole. “It should worry Canadians the Prime Minister could not tell the difference.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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Trudeau offers Alberta COVID help

“We’ll continue to work together to keep people safe and quickly deliver vaccines,” said the Prime Minister.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called Alberta Premier Jason Kenney offering whatever help he can as the province battles a third wave of COVID-19.

As the variants of the virus sweep through the province, Kenney announced a hard lockdown on Tuesday in an effort to stop the province’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

“I spoke on the phone with Premier @JKenney (Wednesday), and offered the federal government’s support to the province as they respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases,” Trudeau tweeted Wednedsday night.

“We’ll continue to work together to keep people safe and quickly deliver vaccines.”

According to a read-out of the call from the Prime Minister’s Office: “(Trudeau) offered the federal government’s support to assist Alberta in responding to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the province, including to help Indigenous communities.”

“They also discussed the efforts and partnership between both governments to quickly deliver safe and effective vaccines to Albertans,” officials said.

“Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Kenney agreed on the importance of continuing close federal-provincial collaboration on the vaccine rollout and managing the impacts of the third wave in the province.”

Earlier in the day, the province reported 2,271 new cases of COVID-19 with 666 people hospitalized and 146 people in ICU. Of the new cases, 903 of them were variants of the virus.

Three new deaths were also reported, bringing that total to 2,102.

In his televised address to the province, Kenney said the move was needed to “avoid disaster unfolding in our hospitals.

“We will not permit our health care system to be overwhelmed,” he said.

“This is a last resort and a necessary step. With cases continuing to rise, we have no choice but to take serious action now or jeopardize putting the health system at risk. If we don’t do this now, if this doesn’t work, then we’ll need a much longer list of restrictions, which no Albertan wants to see. The best way to get out of this is for all Albertans to follow these new measures and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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