Saturday, August 11, 2007

NDP Calls On Long To Be Removed

Hopefully, the Liberals will join the NDP, because the last person who should be involved in hiring the new CBC head is a Conservative hack like Tom Long:
NDP Culture and Heritage Critic Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) called on recently appointed CBC Chair Timothy Casgrain to remove Tom Long from any involvement in the search for a new CEO and executive director of news for the public broadcaster.

“Mr. Long is a Conservative insider with ties that go all the way to PMO communications director, Sandra Buckler,” said Angus. “This is just another way for Harper to control media content. We are hoping that Mr. Casgrain will recognize this clear conflict of interest and remove Tom Long from participating in any way in the process.”

Everyone should be worried, that a man who once said Joe Clark wasn't a true conservative, who has a chief architect of the Mike Harris "common sense" revolution, who once received a lucrative contract from the Ontario Conservatives, who ran for the Canadian Alliance, who had Sandra Buckler as a media spokesman, who's old campaign manager is chief of staff for Fortier, is the "lead executive" in finding a new CBC head. Could the Conservatives have picked a more partisan person to chart the course for the CBC?

Conservatives love to point to the CBC as an example of left-wing media bias. I would submit, that the CBC as a public broadcaster merely reflects the general sense in Canada. Like it or not, Canada, as a whole, is a center-left country, why should our broadcaster pander to the margins? This hiring process has no credibililty, and looks like an obvious attempt to move the CBC to more fertile conservative ground. In short, Tom Long is an outrageous choice, which conveys no sense of objectivity or fairness.


Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I too think they should choose someone totally non-partisan. As for the CBC, they should reflect all views on all sides of the spectrum, but off course those closest to the centre will get the most air time as generally speaking the further right or left one goes the fewer Canadians you will find who subscribe to those views.

I wouldn't say Canada is centre-left, but were certainly aren't right wing. I would say we are pretty much centrist, while some European countries like Sweden, France, Italy, and Germany would be centre-left and the United States centre-right.

Anonymous said...

Liberals gave media jobs and money to their friends despite the fact that these friends of the party were totally biased and not qualified - the party can't chortle now without looking like fools.

Steve V said...


I checked the date, Aug 11/07. And let's not forget, this was supposed to be the new era of transparency, the end of cronism and patronage.


Centrist is fair, with a slight lean left :)

Anonymous said...

Well, when the NDP joined with the Tories to change the government, who did they expect to get in at the CBC?

You reap what you sow.

Cam said...

Let's not pretend the CBC as it is doesn't tow the Liberal party line... I agree that as a 'public interest' broadcaster, the CBC must try to remain neutral... Only problem? It's members are picked by politicians! It's silly to think it wouldn't be influenced by politics!

If, like you say, Canada's a centre-left country (a statement I would fully agree with), why do we need a state-run media? A private broadcaster would surely target that market. The Toronto Star is centre-left (well, I don't know about the centre part anymore), and there's no bureaucracy telling them what to do. It continues to be one of the best selling papers in Canada. Take it from someone who does market research for media companies: they serve what is demanded by consumers.

A political clash is inevitable when people's tax dollars are being used for the purposes of news media. Interested parties will always fight over what is the "right" type of coverage. Solution? Privatize! and get rid of one more silly political controversy.

Steve V said...


You miss the point of the CBC altogether. A private company is profit-driven first. Do you think CTV would air a series on Rene Levesque?? The CBC has some latitude to boost national identity, without merely looking at the bottomline.

The CBC tows the Liberal Party line? Do you mean in the last two elections, wherein the Liberals were raked over the coals, while Harper received a free pass? I might have over-stated the center-left, probably better to say center, with a slight lean. That's Canada in my estimation, my public broadcaster should reflect that.

Cam said...

I guess I was referring to the common argument that a quality news station must be publicly funded to ensure "balanced" coverage.

Granted, there is an argument that CBC fosters a national identity. My only rebuttal would be, who decides what our identity is? Bureaucrats? Cultural elitists? You? I don't need a publicly-funded identity, thank you very much, I can choose my own. The idea that we need state media to perpetuate national myths is wrong-headed to me. We're individuals, not slaves to some socially constructed collective existence.

Steve V said...


The spirit of your comments might be correct, but your logic forgets about the elephant next door. Global has a wonderful homegrown flair too it, wouldn't you agree? A public broadcaster, is a great tool to counteract the infusion of a culture which is foreign.

Cam said...

I think you vastly overstate the homogeneity of "culture". How can one reasonably distinguish between "our" and "foreign" cultures? Cross-cultural exchanges have and will always occur, especially in these days of diffuse information, media, ideas, and styles.

These exchanges have virtually elimintated the existence of distinct "national cultures", and replaced them with a diversity of cultures within national boundaries. The idea that there is some mega "American culture" waiting out there to slay our little "Canadian culture" is way too simplistic.

The lines that divide "authentic" cutures (a fallacy in itself because there is no such thing) are so fuzzy that the last thing I would want is a politically charged elitist entity trying to freeze cultural evolution in the name of some particular vision.

It's just like Canadians to be so unsure of ourselves that we need to be shielded from the bogeyman down south. Our political sovereignty is secure, we should be less xenophobic and let people make their own decisions when it comes to cultural consumption.

I think the more we self-consciously politicize our culture trying to achieve vague notions of 'uniqueness', the less successful our cultural development will be.

Take a look around. Some of our best musical exports, Alexis on Fire, Broken Social Scene, etc. have come about organically, with little help from the CRTC, the CBC, or whatever other protectionism we offer our 'talent'. They became popular in the indie scence first, then in the U.S., and then finally broke out big here. The more we protect our culture, the more encourage it to be geared towards the whims of politicians and bureaucrats. Have you watched "litte mosque on the prairie"? The whole show just reeks of an over-the-top attempt to be "Canadian", making it incredibly cheesy.

Confident cultures thrive, protected ones die.

Steve V said...

People can make choices on "cultural consumption" obviously, considering 90% of what we listen to or watch isn't domestic. The CBC is just one choice, it is not state-run propaganda machine that forces itself on anyone (see ratings).

The Americans aren't a boogeyman, but their media has the capacity to overrun our market, "confidence" aside. I subsribe to the idea that, presently, Canadians are better informed than Americans. I don't like the creep of sensationalism and triviality that pervades American media. Something like CBC radio is a national treasure, and we would be worse off if it folded. I see nothing wrong with your free market approach, I don't sell Canadians short, but you should also recognize the geographic and economic realites that dictate some measure of assistance.

BTW, I wouldn't classify Alexis On Fire as a great musical export, unless listening to tin cans and screaming nothingness is your cup of tea :)

Anonymous said...

Tom Long has been an executive recruiter for a long time. The CBC news division desperately needs a shakeup. If Long can find someone with experience (let's say someone from the BBC or CNN International), it would be good.

If he comes up with someone from Fox, then you might have a point. Otherwise, be patient.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

As for privatizing CBC, I am not sure whether that would be a good idea or not. As a general principle, government ought to only be involved in areas that cannot be done by the private sector and broadcasting isn't one of those areas. However, it should be noted every developed country including the United States (PBS) has a public broadcaster so I think is long as it remains at arms length and has to compete with the private broadcasters, I am okay.

My problem is if it has a monopoly or is directly run by the government.

For the CBC, I would rather have it as a private non-profit corporation that receives government funding and has a basic mandate, but the board is appointed by a variety of stakeholders including the government, but not exclusively the government. It would operate much along the lines our airports do since they are not government owned, but neither are they entirely private either.

Anonymous said...

I think a committee should be picking the new CBC person - not a political hack. Afterall, it's taxpayers of ALL political stripes that pay towards the CBC.

This is one time I agree with the NDP.

Anonymous said...

The CBC should be sold to Conrad Black for a dollar - if anybody can make media work it's him - and it would be fair compensation since he was vicimized by Chretien.

Cam said...

"I don't like the creep of sensationalism and triviality that pervades American media."

"wouldn't classify Alexis On Fire as a great musical export, unless listening to tin cans and screaming nothingness is your cup of tea"

These are your personal tastes, and I'd say pretty close to mine too. But many people would disagree. You're basically saying that money should be extracted from these people to subsidize your personal preferences. Doesn't sound very liberal to me.

Steve V said...

" You're basically saying that money should be extracted from these people to subsidize your personal preferences."

Oh come on now :)

Cam said...

I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration...

You think that a media outlet, because of your taste for what they offer, should be subsidized by others, even if those people don't like or use the content that their tax dollars are funding. If the shoe was on the other foot (i.e., if the CBC were to get a Conservative slant), you likely wouldn't be happy about it either.

Oldschool said...

I think Long should be removed as well . . . . the day after the CBC is shut down his services will no longer be required. The marxist/socialist/liberal organ that has sucked up billions of taxpayer dollars for decades is no longer relevant in a democratic free society. Only despots like Fidel, Chavez and the little loon is North Korea use a govt funded media to spread their nonsense. Flush the CBC!!!

Steve V said...

"The marxist/socialist/liberal organ that has sucked up billions of taxpayer dollars for decades is no longer relevant in a democratic free society. Only despots like Fidel, Chavez and the little loon is North Korea use a govt funded media to spread their nonsense."

Can you be anymore outrageous, in trying to make your point?