Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dean Del Mastro and Mike Duffy Tell an Interesting Story

Since Stephen Harper does not allow his MPs to speak on the national stage, confining them to local events and media sources, I'm bringing them kicking and screaming into the national story.

Dean Del Mastro, the Reform Conservative MP for Peterborough, always likes to throw in his two cents worth, and in compiling a profile of the man in preparation for the next election, I came across something quite interesting.

The possibility of collusion?

In December of 2007, there was kind of a mini scandal, involving a Liberal MP, Pablo Rodriguez, and a CBC reporter who fed him a question to ask during the Mulroney/Schreiber hearings.

She was exposed and dealt with by her bosses, but not before Del Mastro had his hissy fit. He fired off this press release.
Conservatives demand answers from the CBC over the alleged collusion with the Liberal Party. Today former Liberal Party cabinet minister and current TVA journalist Jean Lapierre made shocking allegations about strategic collusion between journalists at the CBC and Liberal members of Parliament at the House of Commons Ethics Committee. According to Lapierre Liberals asked Brian Mulroney questions that were written by CBC journalists ... If proven true, these allegations would mark a major third case of orchestrated anti-Conservative bias from a broadcaster that is financed by all Canadians.
Now it was a serious matter, but possibly something that was not necessarily an unusual thing.

In fact, according to the site Proud to be Canadian, a home for right of right-wing journalists, one Mike Duffy all but admitted that he may have also engaged in this type of activity.

Now this was before Duffy was appointed senator by Stephen Harper, or Dean may not have been so quick to make accusations.
... a former Liberal Party MP, cabinet minister, and currently a media broadcaster, has made a serious allegation on CTV Newsnet just now, while speaking to the CTV’s Mike Duffy ... the topic being the effort by another Liberal to try to swing the Mulroney/Schreiber hearings into a new area ...

Jean Lapierre: Well, Mike, I will surprise you, but last night I knew all about those questions. They were written by the CBC and provided to the Liberal Members of Parliament and the questions that [Liberal MP and committee questioner] Pablo Rodriguez asked were written by the CBC ...

Mike Duffy: Well I would say that’s uh libelous or defamatory so we’ll have to uh put a caveat on that—far be it from us to ever suggest they were ever doing anything…

Duffy then strangely appears to be admit that he, too, suggested questions be asked, but issues forth a plausible explanation: Duffy: ...when I was uh you know in telling MPs what questions to ask I was raising it with you really more on the point ...
You could argue, as Del Mastro did, that the CBC is a public broadcaster who should not be partisan (not that it was really a partisan question), but it brings us to the matter of ethics, Mike Duffy and the Conservative Party of Canada.

During the 2008 election campaign, when the Liberals were starting to show a significant gain in the polls, leader Stephane Dion was interviewed by Steve Murphy on CTV in the Maritimes. We all know what happened next. Murphy asked a convoluted question, that even English scholars couldn't decipher, and Mr. Dion subsequently had several false starts.

He was assured at the time, that CTV would not air those. However, they went back on their word. Murphy would later be charged with ethics violations, but scored an interview with Harper during the first Parliamentary crisis.

But Mike Duffy, not happy to simply let it go at that, ran an entire show on Dion's difficulties, suggesting that the problem was his comprehension of the language. Mr. Duffy was also charged with ethics violations, because he failed to show that the Liberal leader, once the question was presented properly, gave a very good answer.

After the clearly partisan program, the Liberals tanked in the polls and were never able to turn things around. Duffy feigned innocence, but it was pretty clear he may have been auditioning for something.

MacLean's Scott Feschuk agrees. In discussing Duffy's comedy tour (my description):

For some reason, he started talking about how he’d never had any interest in being appointed to the Senate. No interest in the Senate? Mike Duffy?? Come now. Mike Duffy was not interested in the Senate the way Kirstie Alley is not interested in whether you’re going to finish that burrito.

The final three years of Duffy’s television show were so blatant an audition for a Senate appointment that he practically held up a sign saying, “Will work for sinecure.”

Then Duffy made the claim that he’d wanted to go into the upper chamber not as a Conservative but as an Independent. And man, he was soooo passionately devoted to the principle of serving as an Independent that he completely and utterly resisted being a Conservative right up until the moment Stephen Harper politely asked him ... Over the past several months, the allegedly Independent Duffy has become so hyper-partisan that his 2009 tax return will have to list the Prime Minister’s posterior as the common-law spouse of his lips ...

And even Don Martin questioned Duffy's motives, after the senator called NDP Peter Stoffer, a faker:

...Now, Duffy calling someone a faker equals pot calling the kettle black. This is the same Duffy who, as host of his own politics show, presented himself for decades as journalistically neutral, then accepted Harper's $130,000 appointment ten months ago and now devotes his energies to shamelessly shilling for the Conservatives.

That's the definition of fakery for you, particularly given he was appointed after airing that infamous CTV interview with then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion, a bumbling performance credited by some as the turning point of the 2008 election campaign for Stephen Harper.

So the next time Dean Del Mastro calls the Liberals corrupt or suggests that CBC has no journalistic integrity, remind him of this. I would say a journalist (now on our payroll) who allegedly engineered election results, far outweighs one providing a question to ask at committee, don't you?


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