“FRIENDS of Broadcasting” asks if Stephen Harper poisoned the well?

FRIENDS website !st scrolled image.

FRIENDS website !st scrolled image.

What in heavens name can the staff or volunteers at the FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting be thinking to send out a fundraising letter via regular mail, dated summer 2016, bashing former Prime Minister Stephen Harper by putting the following question in bright red letters on both their envelope and letter:

Has Stephen Harper poisoned the well?

Poisoned the well? Which well are they talking about? As a former Stephen Harper supporter, I don’t believe he poisoned anything.

FRIENDS letter reducedYet, here are a few sections from the letter that my husband and I received at the end of last week. A scan of part of the first page is shown to the left. Which makes me wonder how FRIENDS got our personal information?

Anyway, in the first paragraph it states: “Has Stephen Harper poisoned the well? You bet he has. I’m referring to the CBC and our Canadian Broadcasting system. If you’ve got a minute or two I’d like to tell you all about it. And then I hope you’ll join me in putting things right….

In the final paragraph, FRIENDS sum up with: “If you love the CBC, if your vision of a strong independent Canada includes a vibrant Canadian broadcasting industry, then please become a FRIEND. Yes, the end may be in sight, but we need one more push to get us over the finish line. With your help by monthly donations or a single donation if that’s not possible, we’ll push the government to reform the CBC Board…

Reform the CBC Board? So that is what this is all about. Former PM Harper had the audacity to appoint qualified candidates to the CBC Board that are known to have contributed to the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) at one time or another? And, that is related to poisoning the well?

To put it bluntly, are the FRIENDS suggesting that those appointees are poisonous?

I mean, if the current Liberal government eventually replaces the so-called conservative appointees with those who have contributed to the Liberal Party of Canada in the past —  is that what FRIENDS mean by cleaning up the CBC Board? And, is that what FRIENDS are referring to as non-partisan governance?

Good grief. Canada is a free, democratic society. There is nothing wrong with people contributing to any registered political party or any prime minister making appointments to public boards with qualified people who may have contributed money to his or her political party. In fact, our Charter guarantees all Canadians such affiliations — to conservatives, as well as liberals and progressives.

In my opinion, the FRIENDS is not only partisan, its fundraising clearly crosses the line into political activism. I mean, of the several images scrolling on the main page of their website, one is of a smiling PM Justin Trudeau and an interview related to the Leaders Series on the CBC.

Another is the featured image I am using in this post of the 8 members of the CBC Board who are deemed Conservative simply because they donated money to the CPC. Note that FRIENDS included a hint of the partisan image when they used the letter “C” of the Conservative Party’s logo in the headline — CBC?

FRIENDS also used the CPC’s logo beside each of their 8 names in an April 26th, 2016 blog post — alongside the word “Donor.” Talk about negative stereotyping!

So, has Stephen Harper poisoned the well? Absolutely not. Rather, he did what he was constitutionally allowed to do and supposed to do. On other hand, has FRIENDS poisoned the well using the former PM in such a disrespectful manner to fundraise with people like my husband and myself?

Absolutely. Talk about a witch hunt!

The crux of the matter is that the FRIENDS of CANADIAN BROADCASTING owes former PM Harper and all conservative Canadians an apology. And, if FRIENDS are truly non-partisan and do not favour one broadcaster over another, they should immediately withdraw this negative fundraising campaign.

Why is it only a problem when member of CBC Board is Conservative?

I have always known that our Canadian media and representatives connected to media are anti-conservative.

But, the complaint by Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting (FCB),” that the CBC Board is too partisan because former PM Mr. Harper appointed 9 of 11 members in 2008, is puzzling.

Yet, check this FCB link and you’ll notice that the group has gone to the trouble of identifying Board members and their donations to the CPC.

So what? Why is the FCB so concerned?

Don’t all Canadians have the right to association under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section Two. I mean, the Charter doesn’t say it is only a right until you:

  1. Are appointed to a public board; or
  2. Support a conservative political party.

Anyway, why such a complaint now?

Well, apparently, Brian Mitchell, a Montreal lawyer and member of the CBC Board, announced his resignation in order to run for the presidency of the Conservative Party of Canada.

The problem, it seems, is that Mitchell was one of those 9 Harper appointees.  Meaning, he is and was a conservative party supporter.

Now, check out Jeremy J. Nuttall’s column in TheTyee.ca which is posted at the very top of a liberal-oriented news aggregator twitter feed and website — as though the fact that Conservatives are on the CBC Board is somehow major news.

To avoid that kind of partisanship, the FCB’s Morrison wants appointments made that are based solely on merit and not political.

Talk about naive!

I did my Ph.D dissertation research on the role of beliefs, as in world view, on teacher practice. What I found out when doing my review of the literature (which covered political beliefs as well) is that there is no living human being, at least one who votes in a free society, who doesn’t have a world view coloured by political ideology.

Yet, Nuttall quotes Morrison as follows:

I read ‘merit-based’ as meaning people with experience, knowledge and perspective that would be appropriate for the board of the largest cultural board in the country,” he said. “I read ‘independent’ to mean not a bunch of party hacks.”

Not a bunch of party hacks? Interesting turn of phrase when you consider that before Mr. Harper made his 9 appointments, there were mostly Liberal appointees on that board.

In other words, might there have been Liberal party hacks prior to 2006? Likely. As Nuttall writes: “When he [Mitchell] was appointed to the CBC board in 2008, he noted, it had few Tory appointees.”

So, it seems that the term party hacks is not only a subjective term, but a biased and pejorative term when it relates to Conservative supporters or donors.


The crux of the matter is that no matter what political party a Canadian associates with, or votes for, they should have the right to be appointed to any public board in the country, including the CBC Board.